Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Epsir
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A cut of black and red swept into her peripheral vision, an instinctive recognition of an officer's peaked hat precipitating a sudden straightening of Kirigina's normally slumped shoulders. Her ears still strained for the call of 'officer on deck' even as she realized immediately from the woman's hollow, but not angry tone that the two of them had done no wrong. Furthermore, the security officer immediately recognized the youth in front of her and called to him with that vaguely familiar name. Probably someone at least a little famous, she decided. Yet another reminder that she was being shipped to a prestigious academy for people who actually knew magic.

Cold cut through her as those glassy red eyes fell on her, though she answered immediately. "Ja!" And Kirigina fell silent, letting that rest as her only answer for a few seconds before thinking it would be best to elaborate. "Cresia's vessels are very comfy." She could not yet say anything of the land other than it looked okay enough from above. All she did was nod as Kress handed them over to Mett's escort, and no sooner than they had agreed to be lead did the reverberating voice of the airship captain begin to transmit through the ship. Kirigina held tight to her wrench. The rest of her stuff was far out of her hands, belonging to a luggage team that was hopefully way more gentle than the customs people at Verholt's aerodromes.

She stared attentively at their high contrast security officer, waiting to be lead off to the gate.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Scribe of Thoth
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Zach stood a bit rigidly as he listened to the girl, more out of habit than anything else. What exactly was a 'Rarkel'? Some kind of spirit? No, it seemed like it was talking to her at that very moment; if a spirit were present he'd at least be catching a trace of it with his blindfold. Zach's face shifted from polite passivity to vague disdain. Oh, she was a warlock. And not one that sounded very 'in control' of her situation. This demon was probably playing her like a fiddle.

"I was just curious about the applications into my own magic," Zach started, a bit more tersely than before, "I thought I had a spell that worked with nature spirits the same way. Guess I was mistaken." He was hesitant to compare anything in his arsenal to a demon's handiwork, and he doubted this girl even knew how that spell worked herself. It would be pointless to conjecture about the similarities of the two techniques any further.

He easily slipped into a more lighthearted tone when he responded to her second inquiry, "As for the blindfold... this'll probably sound a bit ironic, but I kinda need it to see. Sort of." Not technically false; while he was quite capable of seeing without it, it just helped him see better. And if he'd conveniently left out the details of it letting him see mana, so be it. No need to tell a warlock too much about his tricks.

Zach then turned to Richard as the other boy seemed to be making a spectacle out of inspecting him, holding his gloved arm forward toward the blond. His owl, which had been more or less still beforehand, obediantly made its way down his arm to rest on the falconeer's glove, tilting its head from side to side as it began to inspect Richard in turn. The Witchhunter's Sight easily betrayed that the book Richard was carrying had at least some kind of magical properties, though the blindfolded boy couldn't tell what without seeing his spellwork in action. Maybe it was some kind of focus or a magic lock to prevent theft.

"He's real. I'm Zachary, and this is Sirocco. We're both very pleased to meet you." Zach answered in a much more jovial tone. Sirocco continued staring - he didn't look very pleased. Or... very anything. He was a pretty stoic owl.


@Katthaj@Lord of Evil
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Lord of Evil
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Richard smiled a little. The conversation flow was finally going his way.
Won't stay like that for long. Mort warned. Be quick about it.
I know, Mort.

He cleared his throat slightly. He needed to take initiative and say what he needed to say before the girl did something else. Besides, the ship had arrived, so maybe it was his best interest to end things quickly.
"Thank you for the explanation, Zachary. Hm, can I just call you Zach? Nevermind." The boy began.
Richard took his hat from his head before speaking again.
"Since you two have so kindly given your introductions, please let me make mine." He said. "I am the great Richard Ashfield."
He held his book to his chest and bowed deeply, stretching his hat-holding hand out behind him with a flourish, as if presenting himself to the world. He held the position for less than a second before rising to his feet.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance."

In the boy's mind the demon Mortimer burst into raucous laugther.
The great Richard Ashfield he says... Oh hells!
Richard ignored the laughter. He had practised that bow for quite a long time and he was sure he did a good job, though the demon thought otherwise. In any case, it was better to play the fool than to be played like one, and he needed an impression that didn't lose out to his conversation mates. Disregarding the peals of laughter ringing in his head, the boy continued.
"Although, it's not surprising if you haven't heard of me and my family." He said, still smiling. "You see, the reason I'm going to Arkus is this right here."
The boy held up his book, plain for the others to see. Its cover was a patchwork of leather; mostly cow leather, but he knew there was leather of an unknown origin mixed in here and there. It had no title and would look more like a journal if it wasn't of a size comparable to a textbook.
"I inherited this book from my parents. It holds many strange magics of unknown power." He continued.
Seals of unknown power... In that voice... pft. Mortimer chortled.
Internally, Richard frowned. He had instinctively adopted a more formal tone of voice when addressing the group, maybe that wasn't the right idea. But it was too late to change that now.
"And I know that it holds some kind of... being, but, to be perfectly honest, I had no idea what it was. So..."
Richard turned to the girl and bowed again; a short, proper bow rather than the exaggerated one he'd used before.
"I must thank you, Arael, for telling me its name." He said, smiling good naturedly. "But I'm sorry to tell you, the being in the book - Mortimer, I think you called him - and I have no contract between us."

That wasn't technically a lie. Mortimer was trapped inside Richard's book, but they didn't make a contract with each other. As far as Richard could tell, the page Mort was trapped in described the terms. The demon gave the holder some magic power, as agreed between the two of them, and could use magic if the holder specifically allowed it to. As for what it gave back, he wasn't sure. But while he technically did have a traditional pact with Mortimer, it was really a pact between Mortimer and the holder of the book.

"You see, I don't think my parents ever intended me to have this book. Most of it is completely unreadable to me." Richard explained.
That much was true. He hadn't been sure what his parents had intended to do with him. Maybe they'd intended to teach him the knowledge necessary to decipher it, or maybe they had been planning on sending him to some school so he could gain the expertise needed to practise the spells in it. Either way, they were gone, and this was all that they had left behind. Well, that and a few other things.
"So while I knew there was something in here, I didn't know where it was, or what it was, or what it did." He continued. "And I could never get it to communicate with me like you do with your demon."
Good old unholy Lucifer himself, I haven't had a laugh that good in a long time.
Sadly, that was a lie. It was getting him to stop communicating that was the issue.
"So, I'm attending the academy as a mage trying to decipher the family text."

That was more or less the narrative he was going with. Still, he needed to drag the conversation out a bit to satisfy the Arael's curiosity. Maybe then she would consider not bothering with him anymore, which would be the ideal scenario. He would probably need to plan out ways to minimise contact with that crazy girl if he wanted to keep his sanity.
"But speaking of pacts, would I be right in thinking that you and Sirocco have a pact together, Zachary?" Richard said, turning to the blindfolded boy.
Pact magic, after all, wasn't just useful for demons. And he was pretty sure that mages who didn't have animals for pact magic were in the minority, since he himself saw no reason to keep an animal otherwise. Except maybe for farming purposes.

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"Callum." He took the handshake. He got a better look at Kellin, now that he was closer. Definitely a main dispeller, seeing as the staff was not the only lead thing that the boy was carrying. Most likely some sort of lead manipulator, though Callum heard that such were rare. Callum's extent of lead usage was a foci, and it was really just a tool to counter ranged attacks.

Callum recognized the subtle hints within Kellin's mannerisms. They weren't noticeable or notable at a glance, but taken together, it was clear to Callum, who peered into this side of the world that his family desperately refused. The accent, the confidence, rough edges and the way he carried himself. This boy used to be street leader, Callum's gut feeling said. And Callum agreed.

"So, how'd you come here?" Callum asked, testing to confirm suspicions, before getting interrupted by the bell. "Arrived, huh." He rubbed his neck. Well, he had no luggage, so he could walk straight through. He waited for Kellin to see if he had any luggage to attend to.
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Linxi


Linxi flashed a bright smile. “You’ve got a good eye to notice the difference! That’s a pretty good description of what I do, actually! There’s a little bit in the middle that you missed, but I can tell you all about that.” She looked as though she were willing to start rattling off that lengthy explanation on the spot but decided against it, for the moment at least. She brought a finger to her chin as Xanara explained her difficulties, nodding with a look of understanding. “See, I think that’s why there aren’t more of us. When spacial magic goes wrong it can go really wrong. I think the only ones who really have it worse in that department are the transfiguration folks.” Linxi grimaced. “Seen some real bad stuff happen with transfiguration accidents.” She shook her head. “But don’t you worry about that, everybody has some trouble with it at first. You’ll get a better hang of it here. When I was a kid I would blink any time I got surprised. It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but it was out in the swamp, so there were lots of things that would jump out and surprise me. Of course I couldn’t really control where I went, so sometimes I’d end up underwater… or stuck in a tree… or on the back of a crocodile….” Linxi blinked her eyes, lights still dancing in the inky void. “Oh, no worries, I say hello the same way!” She grinned.

The white-haired woman leaned forward, examining the pendant. “Ooh, that’s convenient! I should look into getting something like that!” As Xanara mentioned her homeland a look of faint surprise passed over Linxi’s face. “Orisa, huh? I think I’ve heard of that…” She smiled a small, vaguely mischievous smile. Somewhere in the back of her mind she remembered a particularly baffled airship captain and several crates of ill-gotten sweets. “Great chocolate over there.”
@Random Kitty



Kellin Caen


Kellin nodded with a smile. “Nice to meetcha, Callum.” The question the followed was met with a chuckle and a light shrug. “Oh, it’s not much of a story. I got in a little bit of trouble back home and uh, decided to turn over a new leaf. You know how things go. All’s well that ends well.” Ordinarily he wouldn’t have even told that much, at least not to a stranger, but Callum didn’t strike him as the sort to judge a questionable history… quite the opposite in fact.

When he’d set out he wasn’t sure what to expect at the academy. Frankly, he’d expected an insufferable crowd of self-important heirs and heiresses, but while there certainly were some of that sort, the majority seemed to be a motley bunch, wildly varied and unpredictable. He had expected to feel out of place, planned for it even, but perhaps the academy wouldn’t be too bad after all… or maybe he was getting ahead of himself. It didn’t matter much, it wouldn’t be the first time.

The bell rang, and Kellin stretched his arms above his head with a yawn. “Yep, about time.” The crowd was beginning to move away from the observation deck as the airship began its descent. As the academy grew closer, he became more and more aware of just how large the buildings were. For a moment, he felt a nervous tightness in his stomach. He was actually here. This was happening. He shook his head with a grin, turning from the window and joining the slowly moving crowd. He walked beside Callum, speaking over the excited voices of the crowd. “So what brought you out here?”
@PigeonOfAstora



Christina Mett


The lieutenant nodded, leading them out of the engine room and down the corridor. As they stepped out, she glanced between the two students. “I’m happy to hear that, I know traveling can be tiresome.” Her boots clacked softly against the floor as she walked. For a moment, her eyes lingered on the wrench carried by the Verholtian girl. “If you’re interested in airships, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your time here, we’ve got all sorts of vessels coming and going. You may even meet the Fifth. She visits fairly often.” Christina’s primary duty was security, but it wasn’t so long ago that she was young and curious.

The corridor came to and end, and the lieutenant led the pair of them up two flights of stairs. “Mister Alstein, out of curiosity, have anyone else from the security force spoken with you?” She would have to report Rozin shirking his responsibilities, so she might as well figure out just how poor of a job he’d done.

Finally, Christina pushed open a door, leading into a wide room where a few other security officers and various airship attendants had already gathered. The room was open a free of clutter, clearly meant to provide as much standing room as possible. Most of the far wall was a large, airtight gate. A row of portholes revealed the rapidly approaching landscape as the vessel glided effortlessly toward the ground. A pair of technicians were investigating the retracted ramp of brass and steel that would be their exit from the airship.

Christina motioned toward the gate. “Here we are. I hope you both enjoy your first day at the academy.” With a polite nod, Christina excused herself from the duo, joining her fellow officers and speaking to one of them in a hushed tone.

Kress and Tatjana were the first students in the room, though some of the students with specialized travel needs were beginning to be led in by security. In the next few minutes the crowd from the observation deck began filing in.
@ERode@Epsir



The Welcoming Committee!


The airship made its rapid descent with astounding grace. Gliding smoothly through the air, the modern vessel almost wholly negated the turbulent landings of old. The great metal behemoth lighted on the verdant lawn of the airfield with all elegance of a songbird. The engines began to slow, the soft whine of turbines gradually fading to silence.

Edward Finn stood at the top of the stairway leading out of the observation deck. He cleared his throat, waving to the crowd. “Welcome to Arkus Academy everyone, if you’ll all follow me, I’ll lead you to the deboarding gate.” The captain turned, leading the students up the winding brass staircase and away from the observation deck. From there, it was only a brief walk down a wide hallway. As he led them, Finn was joined by two more black-clad security officers, their features mostly obscured by their large hats.

Finn led the crowd into a wide room that was clearly meant to be their exit. As more students filed into the room, the great gate making up the far wall of the room cracked open with a loud hiss and began to slide away. At the same time a wide, sturdy ramp extended out before them. As the gate opened, it revealed the green expanse of the airfield, the grass still glittering with morning dew. As the ramp came down to meet this field, three women approached the airship, watching as the students began to exit the vessel.

Two of them were immediately visible from a distance, their red hair burning bright in the light of the sun. Looking at the pair of them, one might have taken them for sisters. The assumption was half right, and while they did look similar at a glance, their clothing suggested clear differences between the two. The one on the left wore a loose-fitting robe, woven from silk and dyed shade of deep red and purple. Gold thread hemmed the garment. In addition, the woman wore simple wooden sandals and a tight ponytail, giving her an appearance that would’ve looked much more at home in an Osuunese temple than a Cresian academy. The other woman couldn’t have been more different. She wore a long burgundy coat over an iron-grey blouse. Her skirt matched the coat,and the straps that hung around her body were covered in pouches, potions, trinkets and all other sorts of oddities. A deep red rune was tattooed beneath her left eye, and her hair hung loosely about her shoulders. The two of them looked over the crowd of students with thinly veiled curiosity. Behind them, the last member of the trio spoke up. “It’s finally time.”

The third woman stepped forward, between the redheads, and made her way toward the crowd as they made their way out onto the field. She raised a hand and called out with a warm voice. “Good morning everyone, welcome to Arkus Academy!” Her long, flowing hair was a light silvery blonde color, a shade that was matched perfectly by her eyes. She wore a long, wine-colored coat over a cream sweater and a black skirt. She had a warm, serene expression as she drew nearer to the students. The other two followed close behind, flanking her on either side.

“I hope you all have had a wonderful flight. I’m sure you’re all very excited to go out and see the academy, and we’re very excited to have you here, but if I might have your attention for just a little while…”

She paused with a smile, waiting patiently for the crowd to quieten down before beginning again. “My name is Ema Blackglade. I am one of the instructors here at the academy, along with Korina and Sira here.”

She looked to the robed woman at her right, who nodded toward the crowd. “Hey there, I’m Korina Feltsi. If any of you are interested in alteration magic you’ll likely be seeing me a lot. She had an easy, laid back way of speaking, but her orange-red eyes seemed incredibly focused, examining the faces before her in great detail. For a moment, her gaze paused. “I see you’ve already met our headmaster’s assistant.” She sighed and chuckled as Linxi waved at her from the crowd. She shook her head and glanced to the remaining woman.

“Greetings to all of you, my name is Sira Hemwick! My areas of expertise are alchemy and artificery, but I dabble in all sorts of things. I hope you are all as excited as I am!” Sira beamed, puffing up with pride.

Ema spoke up again. “Now then, you’ll be free to explore the campus throughout the day, but in the meantime the three of us will be showing you around a bit. Think of it as a tour! I promise you, we’ll be brief. I know you’re all excited.” She motioned toward the airship. “The airship staff will see to getting your luggage over to the dorms, so be sure to collect your things when you go to choose your rooms. Now then…” She motioned at the wide clearing around them, a swathe of emerald cut into the deeper green of the surrounding forest. “As you can all see, this is the academy’s airfield. We receive visitors here from all over the continent all throughout the year. There are also a few airships here that were donated by the Workshop so that our artificers could get hands-on-training.”

Sira nodded, motioning toward a small, bronze-colored vessel across the field. It was clearly meant to be a personal craft, designed for speed and easy maneuvering if its slick, aerodynamic shape were any indication. “This one here is the newest donation, a prototype! We’re very lucky to have the relationship we do with the Workshop.” She pointed out a few of the other donated craft, rattling off a few details about each with a feverish enthusiasm. After she was finished she looked back toward Ema.

”Alright everyone, if you’ll just follow me…”

Ema turned to lead them toward the great stone structures that towered in the distance. It might have taken a moment for the students to realize that her lips hadn’t moved, rather, it was as if she were speaking directly into their minds.

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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Scribe of Thoth
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Zach watched Richard's spectacle of an introduction with a curious tilt of his head. Sirocco seemed to mirror the gesture. The formality and gesticulation came off as a bit eccentric, but Zach put little thought into it. He was more concerned with the explanation the blond was giving. Toying with artifacts one didn't understand, especially if they hold a potentially malicious being, was an endeavor that was practically asking to end badly in Zach's opinion.

Though, it seemed like Richard was going about it in probably the safest way possible; he'd be under the oversight of the Academy while he studied the tome, and whatever demon was locked inside would have little chance to spread any corrupting influence with such a high concentration of powerful mages nearby. Zach couldn't necessarily fault him for wanting to unlock his family's legacy, even if it was likely the legacy of some foul warlock.

"But speaking of pacts, would I be right in thinking that you and Sirocco have a pact together, Zachary?"

"Ah, yes, you're correct. He's a good little scout, among other things," Zach scratched the owl's head affectionately as he spoke, "Though I do hope to expand my menagerie a bit while I'm here, my magical arsenal's a bit more lacking than I'd like right now. And just Zach is fine, if you prefer, I'm really not picky."

As the call to disembark came, the blindfolded boy gave a brief wave to the duo with his hand that wasn't supporting Sirocco. "I think that's our cue. I'll catch up with you later, maybe," Zach offered, though he was looking directly at Richard rather than Arael. Well, what passes for 'looking' when one has a magic blindfold on, in any case. He really had no intention of consorting with such a blatantly proud warlock, and he definitely didn't see himself and the girl getting along even if they did. Zach was a bit wary of Richard's own probably-demonic situation too, but not the boy himself.

Zach shifted his arm a bit as he turned away, signalling Sirocco to shift back to his perch on Zach's shoulder. He quietly exitted the ship along with the crowd, though he didn't go out of his way to avoid the duo he was talking to despite his earlier farewell. The instructors that arrived to greet them at the airfield seemed friendly enough, though none of them seemed to teach subjects he held much interest in. The mention of choosing rooms struck him as a bit odd, though. Was there a difference? He'd assume all of the rooms would've been identical. Perhaps location?


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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Random Kitty
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"I would love to know more. I'm certain we'll have time later." It was about to get chaotic, people leaving. Tours. Everything else. Although, it seemed that she'd met someone as willing to be talkative as she was. That was nice. "I can imagine. I don't think I really want to change anything about me, though. I mean, I'm pretty happy with the way I look." Okay, she was damned proud of her body, honestly she'd put a lot of work into it, into how she moved, how she was able to evoke emotions without a word. "I can imagine it can get addictive, always seeking perfection. I get that drive with my dancing." She couldn't imagine if someone started changing their body how that might go.

Listening to a story different than her own but no stranger it was somewhat reassuring. "And I can't control when I end up. The first time I was being robbed and jumped ten days into the future. One time I was dreaming about being late for rehearsal and, well, I ended up landing smack in the middle of the rehearsal from the day before....not exactly appropriately clothed." That was one of the reasons her father had decided to send her to the school. Still, she laughed. It had been far less embarrassing than if she'd ended up like that during a performance or somewhere else.

"It's really useful. I could get the specifications from my father if you want." She didn't see why others shouldn't have it. There seemed more to the expression than simple recognition. "Oh, yes. And coffee. Wait, give me a moment." She had her own mischievous grin. Honestly she'd stuffed all sorts of things into some of her pockets just in case. Mostly, emergency stashes. It was a combination of time and space magic that caused the switch. In a ripple she was wearing a black crop top with long sleeves and a v-neck. White shorts which had some pockets and a flowing translucent lace skirt. She rummaged in her pockets for a moment and, with a big grin, pulled out a bag of chocolate covered coffee beans and offered Linxi a few before popping some in her mouth. "Every time I put it back it resets...more candy. Well, actually the same candy which is a bit of a temporal paradox but not one that actually seems to matter in the grand scheme of things. I think when I put it back it's component pieces may or may not just go back. I really should get one of the more scientifically inclined to look into the details. Still, unlimited candy." Which was awesome as far as she was concerned. She could control space and time and used it for dancing and candy, she didn't care how people felt she should.

She looked around and sighed. It seemed this conversation was really over for the time being. "And it seems it's time for school stuff. Ah, and this talking in someone's head thing seems really useful when there's music and you need to talk to the whole troupe....nevermind." Although, she thought that maybe she could learn it. It is the type of things many psychics could do, maybe she could develop it. Or, maybe she could use her power to synthesize it but just actually talk in everyone's ear. Send the sound to multiple places at once. That would be cool. "Anyway, that later talk. Maybe we can get a drink?" She didn't know the customs here but, by 16 that was pretty much the standard type place to meet where she lived. And most of her friends were older since she was a part of the ballet and had been for a while.

And it was definitely time to go then, so she waited for everyone else to go before she'd be following.
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Richard nodded to the brown haired boy - Zachary - as he made his exit. He was perfectly amicable, and considering he also used pact magic it was quite likely that they would see each other again. He turned to Arael, the girl with a scary demon.
"Well, I suppose I should be going to." He said to her. "If fate conspires to bring us together again, then I'll be glad to call myself your friend."
He tipped his hat a little.
"But until then, I must bid you goodbye."
The boy turned away and slipped past the ring of wraiths, disappearing into the surging crowd, all the while the demon laughed inside his head.

Ricky boy, you gotta stop, you're killing me. Mortimer cackled.
Oh shut up.
The demon's laughter didn't stop. Glowering, the boy and his book exited the ship, making a mental note to never meet the girl again.
@Katthaj


The academy was close and it was as grand as he had expected. His luggage was being taken care of, and it seemed that Arkus academy had significant connections. Things were going just as Richard had expected, but the boy was nevertheless feeling impatient. He was not an artificer and he wasn't planning to be, so knowledge of the academy's airships wasn't of great importance to him. Nevertheless, he made his best efforts to memorise the information. It could be useful at some point.

A little bored, the boy decided to ask his demon companion. Noting that he'd gotten more attention than he wanted from muttering, he decided to communicate with his thoughts.
Hey Mort, what do you think? He asked the demon.
The demon didn't respond. Furrowing his brow, Richard asked again.
Mort?
Don't talk to me. The demon answered curtly.
What?

The woman's voice rang out inside his head. The boy saw others in the crowd react to it, so they had heard it to. He was no stranger to telepathy, but he was nonetheless alarmed. If she was a mage who specialised in psychic magic it was entirely possible that she could read his mind. If she read his thoughts at the wrong time, they would have serious issues.
It's fine right now. Mortimer said suddenly. Too many people, she won't read you unless you act up.
You sure?
Nope. So just to be safe, I won't be saying anything while she's around.
Richard's mind returned to silence. It seemed that his school life would be more difficult than he thought it would be.
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“Oh yah,” Kress said, “There was this guy called Rozin that said he’d be just checking things up with me. But well, after a bit he had to excuse himself to go to the toilet, so…”

A shrug, a smile. It was hard to tell how innocent such an expression was.

“…well, when it didn’t look like he was coming back, I thought I might as well take a walk.”

The rest of the walk was spent in uneventful silence, the manufactured prettiness of the hallways much less interesting than the organized chaos of the airship’s underbellies. Descent couldn’t have come soon enough, and once the airship had landed, Kress was the first to step out, eager to enjoy Arkus Academy with all six senses. It was flush with mana as usual, and the familiar faces amongst the staff that greeted the newcomers was nice as well. Professor Hemwick and Professor Feltsi were suitably interesting people, the two of them certainly looking the part of their fields of study, but it was Professor Blackglade who seemed to catch the attention of everyone present. Well-studied as Kress was in the staff of Arkus Academy, he was wholly aware of Professor Blackglade’s popularity amongst the student population. Conventional beauty was a surprising rarity amongst the magically inclined, after all; the more powerful one got, the weirder their appearance usually became, and her succinctly adult charm had broken the hearts of many a tender-souled first year. Of course, that was not to say that the Angel of the Infirmary, Ophelia Brinstrom, was any less popular, but if Kress were to choose…

Well, Psychics WERE rare, and Professor Blackglade was a wholly excellent specimen of one.

For a moment there, the blue-haired scion of the Alstein family was smitten by how grandly novel it was to hear someone’s (namely, an alluring woman’s) voice reverb through his mind, but before he could totally jump on board the Blackglade Fan Club, something else caught his eye. Something crazy. Something insane. Something he had never seen before. Turning to Tatjana, he whispered urgently, eyes bouncing excitedly from the wrench girl to that crazy something drifting amongst the students, “Pssst, hey, pssssst, Tatjana, look over there! You see that? Like, wow, what is that? It’s so crazy!”

Indeed, it was crazy.

After all, it wasn’t every day (or any day at all) that you got to see a host of scythe-wielding demons floating casually by. Day one in Arkus Academy, and already, Kress was privy to crazy shit. Damn, he couldn’t wait for classes to actually start!
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"What does it mean to live?"

Haruko found himself standing inside an old rundown home like the ones in his region, Osuun. Haruko grunted; it seemed that his need to sleep got the best of him yet again. Since it was his dream, he could do whatever he wanted in it and summoned a blue-violet fire on his palm. It illuminated the house's interior a bit, basking everything in an eerie bluish purple light. It looked to him that the house was deserted and forgotten for a long time. Cobwebs covered the ceiling, and the furniture was caked in dust. He could've willed the rotten wooden windows to open to let some light in the house, but his gut told him to not do that for the meantime.

He walked down the hallway, the wooden floor creaking and groaning with every step. The walls were adorned by dusty portraits of the family that used to live here, but for some reason their faces were all blank. Upon seeing them, Haruko already knew that he was having a nightmare.

He walked up the stairs. There were three rooms with their doors shut, but he went to the farthest one at the end of the hall. He opened it, and saw a shadowy figure seating at the bed with its back facing towards Haruko. It turned its head to look back at Haruto, revealing the face of an old woman with black hollow eye-sockets. "I remember... living. Am I alive?", it asked him with a raspy voice. "I don't know. You're speaking to me, so I guess you're living", Haruto told it. "Though there are some who are not living, even if they're alive". Then suddenly, everything dispersed and turned into butterflies. The walls, the curtains, the furniture, the bed, everything. Butterflies of all shapes and sizes, of all shades and colors fluttered around Haruko and the figure. It continued staring at Haruto with a curious expression before it's body dispersed into butterflies as well.



Haruto awoke and found himself leaning his back on one of the rails. He relaxed before catching his breath. He rubbed his face with his hands and exhaled. Well, that was... weird. A nightmare that turned into a sweet dream was a first to him. Ominous, even.

Before he could let his mind wander anymore, Haruko now only noticed the sunlight bathing him and the sound of birds chirping and excited talking at a distance. He noticed that the airship already landed on their destination, and Haruko was the only one left behind inside the flying contraption. He got his stuff, patted his yukata, before following the rest of the students outside, where they seemed to follow more people that Haruko doesn't know about. He walked briskly to catch up to them, admiring the view of the beautiful surroundings and other infrastructures and things at the distance.
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by PigeonOfAstora
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PigeonOfAstora Shower Thinker

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Callum nodded and mentally pumped his fist. Kellin's response confirmed his suspicion. He had met a few of them on his many escapades, his younger self desperately wanting to hang out with the "cool kids", and his intuition from the experience didn't fail him this time. He still found the street kids cool, like brave pioneers against a cruel circumstance. Unlike himself, all coddled in the despicable opulence, though he guessed his circumstance was just a different kind of bad luck.

He scratched his neck and straightened back up. He felt bit more confident in telling his past to Kellin. "My old man kicked me out, so I reckoned to come here instead." He said candidly and laughed like it was a bad joke, though there was a tang of bitterness Callum couldn't erase. He was glad, he was sure of it. "It was bad in there, anyway."

He followed everyone else to the Welcoming Committee. Most of their introductions flew over his head, but he was interested in the alteration teacher. She wore a rather interesting choice of clothes and sandals, looking like she just flew over from Osuun with her traditional clothing. She didn't look like the punchy sort alteration teacher, but who knew. Nonetheless, he would probably see her quite a bit, so he just grinned as her eyes scanned over his direction.

As he looked around the place, he did find himself a bit queasy. Though he knew they were two separate places, the Perenias Castle and the Academy did feel similar in scale and architecture. Callum took a sip from his flask. He'll just have to get used to it.

He spotted an Osuunese boy (or Callum guessed, judging from the clothing) hurrying over from the airship and waved at him, to let him know that the main group was still here. And just in case he got lost. Callum knew he sure would be, though admittedly Callum's pathfinding skills were probably below average.

@baraquiel
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Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by SamaraJayne96
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SamaraJayne96 thE tRutH iS inSidE Of YOu <3

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"Are you sure that you will be okay here by yourself?" Azura asked her mother for the tenth time.

Even though their journey had been scheduled months in advance, Azura could not help but worry. After all, in the last sixteen years, she had inhabited this world she had never left her tribe. It had always been herself, Amara, and Atlas... The trio whose bond would put The Three Musketeers to shame.

" Hush daughter. There is no need to worry about anything but your destiny. You're going. It has been decided. "

Azura nodded solemnly. No matter how hesitant she was about discovering the rest of the world, she knew that the situation was not up for discussion. The goddess herself visited in a dream giving a clue as to what her fate would be. In this tribe, Gaia's word was not to be questioned.
In the dream, she and Atlas were laying in a grassy meadow filled with daisies. Gaia lay next to them as they stared up at the cloud floating by. It is hard to explain, but in that simple image Azura intuitively felt what needed to be done. Unlike the high priestess in training, Atlas was more than excited to dive headfirst into this opportunity.

Glumly, Zu-Zu took a moment to study and memorize her surroundings. The small kitchen area that they stood in was filled with so many memories. Memories that she would carry with her as they made their journey.

They... Atlas?

" Um.. Where is Atlas? " She asked with a frown. She walked towards her mother who was washing dishes. Azura picked up a rag to help dry.
" He should be here. We have to get going soon. "

At the mention of her son, Amara's face fell. Her contented smile immediately replaced by a pain-stricken expression. She set down the plate she was holding in the basin filled with soapy water and wiped her hands on the hem of her skirt.

" You know how he can be... He is... dealing with more than he should at his age." Amara sighed heavily as she made eye contact with her daughter. Nothing more was said, nor did there need to be. Atlas was much like the twin's father. He inherited a powerful Psychic nature that was equally as dangerous.

For the last three years, his condition is becoming worse at a more rapid rate. Psychic users get their magical ability from their subconscious. Meaning, the more they wielded said power, the more they would lose their sanity. Sometimes his mental clarity would fade. He has had moments where he had forgotten where he was and even who he was.
Gaia insisted that he join Azura as well in efforts to help resolve some of his issues.




Atlas was in the middle of a large forest on the outskirts of the Oswage tribe. He was sitting on the edge of a large boulder next to his favorite creek, Namid. His legs dangled, swinging back and forth. His toes stirred the water absent-mindedly.
He looked up towards the sky and noticed the location of the sun.

It's almost time to go... Finally. He thought as a smile appeared on the corners of his lips.
I wonder if mom will pack my favorite snacks.

Unlike his sister, Atlas was extremely excited to get out of his home town. Anywhere would be fine he just needed to leave and explore what is beyond all that he's known.

He walked back towards the tribe with a casual almost carefree nature in his stride. Impatiently, he had been waiting for this day to arrive. Not only was he determined to focus on figuring out the mystery as to the salvation to his sanity... But also to possibly meet his father.

Abrahim Orion was one of the educated individuals who attended Arkus Academy. In fact, Abe was at the top of his class. Before he ran away to pursue freedom most thought he would continue teaching at the academy. While he was unsure that Abe would be there, the thirst for adventure beckoned to him all the same.

By the time Atlas arrived at his home of 16 years Azura and his mother were already outside the door exchanging their goodbyes. Azura clung desperately to her mother as they hugged. It pained Atlas to see his sister so upset. Like an empath, he could almost feel her emotions as if they were his own... almost.

The bags the twins had packed the night before were being loaded into the back of an all too fancy vehicle that had been sent over by the academy. Those that were apart of the Oswage tribe did not use machinery, including motor vehicles. Some of the other clan members were circled around the shiny metal thing that was foreign to their upbringing.

Azura left her mother's embrace giving their home one last lingering look. As she walked towards the car she made sure to bump into Atlas, shoulder checking him and meeting his gaze with an authoritative expression she rarely showed.

"Say goodbye and tell her you love her. Let's get this over with."




The twins had been on the airship for almost five days. The aircraft was not the biggest in the academy's fleet, but it was glamorous all the same. Except for a few staff members the twins appeared to have been the only students on board. They had been told that the reason behind their mode of transportation was that the two lived well outside the usual radius for applicants. After all, the tribe did make efforts to be isolated from the current civilization. Azura was pretty sure that the only reason that they had made an exception for them was that their father previously worked at the academy.

An announcement over the intercom brought the two siblings out onto the observation deck. Atlas practically threw himself over the railing in efforts to see what would be their new home for the next few years.
Just past the familiarity of a forest treeline, next to a large and beautiful lake, stood the campus in all its glory. His breath caught as he took in the scene. So much so that he didn't notice the forlorn and even nauseous expression on his sister's face.

The small aircraft began its descent for which Azura was grateful. Shamans had a hard time staying away from nature for too long. Especially if the caster was not used to being away from the ground. Instead of looking ahead at the grand docking area on campus, Azuras' gaze remained transfixed on the trees they had just passed not too long ago. She felt lightheaded and her stomach was in knots. As soon as the ship made contact with the ground however, her symptoms almost immediately disappeared.

After getting out, the two attempted to gather their things near the bay area and were stopped by academy staff.

"No need to worry about that, we will take care of it." A tall blonde man with a red mustache and blue eyes smiled.
These will be taken to your assigned dormitories. Right now the two of you need to head towards the parlor and meet up with the rest of the students on the tour. Someone inside should be able to lead you to the group."

The siblings turned their heel and headed toward the massive, marble structure. Heads tilted back, they stared up at its pillars, their expressions mystified.

"What's a parlor?" Azura asked, blinking away the haze, eyebrows furrowed with confusion.

Atlas wrapped an arm around her shoulder in a comforting gesture. His eyes glowed and his face radiant. They entered the academy together, looking around to see who they would meet.

" I guess we are about to find out. "
@DrowsyPangolin
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by CavnderOHeart
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CavnderOHeart

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"Zzzzrpt...Zzzrt...Zzzept." The sound of snoring came loudly from a student sitting on a bench; his arms were folded and feet on their tips. The sounds of announcements and mechanical alarms had failed to shake him. The Levizan young male had only awoke when...He fell down onto his ass. "Ark! Shi-ra!" He swore as loudly as his body made a thud once he contacted the ground. Steadily he got up then rubbed his ass-cheeks so his pain would be softened through ground his teeth he swore again and flickered his off-white hair with his right hand. "Shit! Come on Cormac, It's your first day here and you're makin' yourself look like a jester!" He chastised himself for uncurtly injuring himself he looked around and dropped his hand, then began walking. 'Although those were some pretty gnarly dreams.' He had thought and blushed as he reflected on them, he had kissed two guys at the same time, he sighed shame he couldn't remember their features. Just the taste of them.

"Wait...What was going on? Shit! The airship had landed!" Cormac replied to himself next he grabbed his luggage and sprinted to the main exit/enterance. Cormac made it to the outside rather quickly he wasn't out of breath just slightly sweaty. He heard less than half of what some member of the Welcoming Committee had said he has missed all of their names. Cormac shut his eyes and focused, then stepped closer to the Welcoming Committee but not to close just several feet away. He stood to the west awayfrom the other new arrivals. Cormac unhinged his jaw and bowed his head; not out of respect or homage to his homeland, something was wrong. Something was painful. He made a noise between a yell and a shriek, and shot his hands to his temples to keep his head from exploding or bleeding, or himself from vomitting, which-ever was going to happen.

"OI MATE, WHAT THE WHAT!?" It was a scream; one of his Healercore screams at this point in his life screaming while he (and others) were in pain had become instinctual since he was thirteen. He used the self-control he could muster to stop himself from using the Emperor of Cuss Words and slowly stood up straight. Cormac stared at the three; two redheads and one who stood out. 'It's Her! The one in the middle.' Cormac didn't look away from her he looked at her [i]stunning[i] eyes and retracted the emotion on his face and on his tongue, he spoke something different to the vulgar things he was thinking. "Oi, Some people get hurt by telepathy, and it clearly shows." The Levizan told her while gesturing towards his own pain by drumming his fingers onto his skull. All of a sudden, Cormac sneezed. It wasn't snot but a small amount of blood, he hadn't the time to cover his nose with his sleeves (not that he had them.)

He stepped a few inches closer to the trio/Welcoming Committee. His once human eyes look and them, as he was in pain his gift couldn't work. "I need you to help and and pleasedon't use mind-communications." Asked Cormac Hollow stressing the 'please' and letting go of his head he really needed a cigar right now, or some concern. Anything to soften his pain, oh and. Napkins ofcourse.

@DrowsyPangolin
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Epsir
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Epsir

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Kirigina's discomfort only grew as the room they'd been corralled into was packed with more students every minute. The portholes gave a clear enough impression of when their landing would be complete but as she stood there in the jammed-in madness of the crowd she could only wish the end would come sooner. The gate flung open, their exit ramp unfolded, and a grassy airstrip shined up at them. For a second she was happy to distract herself with a musing on the Cresian preference, rather, the privilege of existing in a climate that permitted an unmetalled airstrip to possess manicured grass instead of packed dirt. She was the second, tied with about six other students abreast, to touch the grass after Kress. Not that she was a brave explorer, there was just nowhere else to go since the two had been deposited against the door and now the crowd behind them was unstoppable.

Well, she wanted to get away too. An unsteady gait carried her down the ramp, legs adjusting with difficulty to the sloped surface and the speed she was being pushed at. She did her best to stay close to the first human she'd spoken to in a couple days, and even if they hadn't started out right next to each other she felt it would have been hard to lose track of that much rich blue. Standing at the edge of a crowd made it all so much easier to deal with, and after a glance over her shoulder and a deep shudder she felt pity for those stuck in the center of maelstrom as they all waited to be talked at.

They were all so very colorful, there wasn't even a uniform for the staff here... At least those who didn't belong to the security group. Well, in her homeland, eccentricity was a privilege afforded to the genius. At an academy of this prestige, it went without saying that she was being addressed by some of the brightest minds in the world. It was a little disappointing to not feel more awed. One of the redheads introduced herself as an artificer, and Kirigina's eyes flickered up to find what would undoubtedly be one of her instructors. A rune adorned her face, her attire was sensible, very witchy. Kirigina nodded in approval. She had no idea what there was to even learn in the world of artificery for her, perhaps the precepts of airship design rather than base maintenance, but if there was to be a mentor in her life it was definitely going to be this woman. Her choice had been made for her several days ago.

The wrench girl finally looked around as the academy staff indicated the other airships that sat the lot that morning. Prototypes, production models, craft that she knew only by their reporting names within the Verholt military. Things of mastercrafted bronze and steel that graced the skies of her homeland on occasion, but also creations that the Cresians tended to themselves while in foreign territory. Her free hand's digits flexed unconsciously, clawing up as her mind anticipated the privilege of delving into the metal beasts laid out before them. Her distraction from all the magic around her didn't last long, as a voice, alluring though it was, intruded upon the sanctuary of her mind. Kirigina flinched and looked around, caught halfway to swatting at her ear as the unusual sensation of a voice that seemed to come from the very corners of her mind beckoned her. That was an intelligent way of getting one's words to an entire crowd! Just... Unnerving. She would oblige the siren's call, whenever the crowd started following.

And that wasn't the end of it. A voice whispered to her. Her name. Hadn't she... "Huh? What's what?" She looked to Kress, then to where the boy was staring off at. Immediately her face tightened in a grimace at the sight of a host of demons casually wandering out in the open. Maybe, just maybe, they were here to learn the merits of agriculture, so tooled as they were. She was a witch, and a witch was wont to know when they were looking at some really cursed stuff. Flaunting the imagery of death was tasteless if it was in vanity, cruel if that was the sheer measure of power expected of students of Arkus. All the hope she felt looking out at the inanimate bits of technology on the grass washed out of her as she was once again confronted by how dreadfully out of place she was in all this. But, she was standing next to Kress' enthusiasm. She didn't know a whole lot but he hadn't turned his nose up at her and was apparently really loving the variety in the crowd... Manage the same, she commanded herself. It was worse to look out of place than to be out of place.

"Uh... wow! That is wizards for you, at least I hope those are... leashed. There aren't many ghosts on airships, at least the ones that still fly, I have no clue what that is... and what's that?" Her head turned, somehow, away from the grizzly reapers to the student sputtering out blood and screaming at their instructors. Tanya shot an uncomfortable look to Kress. "Is that, er, allowed?" That was beyond out of line. Forget being the nail which sticks out, that was rebar jutting errantly from concrete. But, new country.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Katthaj
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Katthaj That one swedish bastard

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Arael
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"Ohh I also hope I meet you again, we had a lovely chat." Arael said while not really focusing on the conversation as she was looking at the academy. I wonder where I will be stud...
Angel, there seems to be more warlocks here than I expected, try to find all of them and make sure they know they are nothing compared to us. the demon interrupted her.
She noticed that he sounded scared, maybe Rarkel was scared of some demon here. Ok, I will make myself known to the others.

"Ohh right, I forgot to tell your demon, if he doesn't like you or wants to connect with someone stronger he can come to me." She said with a devious smile on her face.



As she was looking through the cracks of the crowd trying to see more of the room she suddenly heard a new voice in her head, it wasn't Rarkel, it was a woman's voice and it seemed like most of the other students also reacted. THIS MUST BE TELEPATHY, she thought to herself.
The woman in her head could probably read her mind and therefore probably already knew Araels plans to rule over the warlocks in this academy.

The stone structure that was towering in the distance was very beautiful, she was very excited to get to learn what would be taught in that building.

//ooc. I'm sorry for this being short but I wanted to let yall move on haha.
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ERode And Others

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Was he insensitive and ignorant? Or was he just putting on his brightest face so that Tatjana would be assured that a student with a host of scythe-wielding wraiths orbiting around them was totally normal and definitely not something to be concerned about? To ask that, one would have to ask Kress’s mom…but that’d be awkward in its own way.

Before Kress could consign Tatjana to the hell that was the differences between warlocks and wizards, as well as the whole concept of death-dealing grim reapers versus merely wraiths that imitated the form of such, however, there was indeed something even crazier going on. His own eyes widened at the very human variation of craziness, the sort that was definitely less interesting than whoever could command a squadron of wraiths. Arcing a brow himself, the scion of the Alstein family shook his head slowly.

“Probably…not? Huh, that’s pretty weird…” He blinked. The blood certainly seemed real, and so did the pain, but as far as he was aware, telepathy shouldn’t have caused such adverse effects. Even if someone was ‘allergic’ to the strange energies that Psychics exuded, wouldn’t that have been one of the medical concerns that would be filled in on application to Arkus Academy. “…yeah, definitely weird,” was his conclusion. “…but hey, Arkus Academy has wonderful healers, and it looks like just a nosebleed to me. Probs nothing to worry about, yeah?”

If he was aware of any actual problem with screaming with wild abandon at a teacher (especially one as charmingly lovely as Professor Blackglade), Kress didn’t show it.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by baraquiel
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Haruko yawned as he walked as briskly as he could to the group, looking at a boy who waved at him. If only there was a championship just for sleeping, Haruko will be undefeatable. Sadly, being quite listless was frowned upon in a world where you're only considered 'living' if you're being active. It didn't make sense to the blonde. Certainly, even the listless has contributed in the development of society today, right?

The young boy stopped as he admired a peculiar looking butterfly. The colors of its wings were brown at first glance but it seemed to change based on how light reflected it, turning from red to maroon to pink then back at brown again. A butterfly, like the ones he had in his dream a while ago...

Haruko blinked and slapped his right cheek. He can't afford to go sleeping whenever he can again, specially that today was the day of their orientation. He could drink coffee, maybe eat some sweets, or do warm up exercise, but he'll think about those some other time. Right now, Haruko needed to focus on the present.

He turned his attention back to the boy with amber hair waving at him, and the blonde Osuunese boy waved back at him with a meek smile, walking up so he could catch up and walk with him and the rest of the group.


@PigeonOfAstora
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by DrowsyPangolin
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Kellin Caen


Kellin nodded in an understanding way. He’d met lots of boys that had been kicked out of their homes back in Alst for any host of reasons. Compared to most of them, Callum seemed to be doing fairly well for himself. Still, there was a faint bite in his voice when he spoke about it. His friends back home had that same bite; some indignations were difficult to hide.

“Ah man, sorry about that, but hey, much worse places to run off to, huh?” Kellin chuckled and flashed a grin as they made their way out onto the airfield, his staff clutched between his fingers like a conductor’s baton. The prospect of seeing the campus up close was an energizing prospect, but being led around like a dog on a leash put a bit of a damper on things. Nevertheless, he would see what there was to see.

Callum waved to a boy who seemed to be from Osuun, and Kellin mimicked the gesture, giving a broad smile and stopping to allow the boy to catch up.

“Hey there.”

@PigeonOfAstora@baraquiel

Linxi

“Oh, I’ll be glad to tell you as much as you like! You all should have most of the day to yourselves, at least after Julian gets done saying hi to everyone. Come and find me whenever you want, I’m always around!”

Linxi brushed a cotton-toned tuft of hair away from her face with the back of her hand. “Perfection’s a difficult thing… good to strive for, but dangerous to get obsessed with.” It might’ve sounded like wisdom, but for Linxi perfection had always seemed boring, a flawless ending with nothing particularly interesting about it. She’d never striven for perfection in her spellcasting, not that the chaotic nature of her Magic would’ve allowed it. No, she had only learned to tame that chaos just enough, hence accidentally ending up a few meters above where she wanted to earlier. Still, lots of people liked to have a perfect goal, something unreachable to chase after. But there was always the chance for inspiration to become obsession…. But that wasn’t important right now.

“A dancer hmm? I love dancing! Everyone back home does.” The story about the accidental teleportation made her giggle, but the prospect of paradoxical ever-candy seized her attention. She tossed a few coffee beans into her mouth and nodded appreciatively. “Yep, still delicious.” She smiled. “Sira could probably help you figure out the whole paradox thing. She’s into all sorts of stuff like that.”

The arrival of Ema and the others meant it was time to say goodbye. “Oh, sure thing. Like I said, I shouldn’t be too hard to find. I uh…” She leaned slightly closer, speaking in a whisper that was entirely pointless in concealing her plot from an alteration mage and a Psychic. “I may have something to drink lying around somewhere. Don’t tell anybody though. Big trouble.” She shrugged. Sharing alcohol with students was generally frowned upon, doubly so when the beverage in question was one of the imported Nilsovan concoctions Linxi was fond of. “Anyway, toodle-loo, I’ve got to go make sure our dear Headmaster hasn’t lost his notes.”

With that, the white-haired woman vanished.
@Random Kitty

The Welcoming Committee!


Ema raised a concerned eyebrow at the shouting boy, looking somewhat confused. “My… apologies, I wasn’t warned that anyone was sensitive to telepathy.” Her silver-gold eyes peered quizzically at the boy, but her voice was comforting. There were those who were quite sensitive to the abilities of Psychics. She herself had been one of them, and had spent years training herself to mend the damage that could be caused by her kind… still, it was rare that mere telepathy caused such an extreme reaction. Perhaps something more complicated was afoot. If some of the readings she was gathering from the crowd were any indication, there were a number of interesting things afoot. She did not intrude upon the minds of students, such a thing was invasive and dangerous in her mind, but she suddenly remembered a lesson her teacher had once taught her: “Some people think way too loud. She glanced toward the small girl surrounded by wraiths for a moment before returning her gaze to the bleeding boy. “I’ll refrain from using telepathy then. Do you need any medical attention, if so we can escort you to the infirmary.”

Korina shook her head, walking past Ema and approaching Cormac. She produced a coral pink handkerchief from the sleeve of her robe, offering it to the boy. “No worries kiddo, you’re not the first.” Feltsi’s voice was calm and flat, the smirk that formed in the corner of her mouth almost imperceptible as she handed over the handkerchief.

Ema’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly before she turned back toward the path. “Now then, moving on…” A thin path of emerald green grass trailed off from the airfield and through the forest. The canopy cast a cool shade over the path. The forest was lush but carefully maintained, seeming almost park-like. It seemed a comfortable place, though the trees seemed to grow thicker and thicker the further one looked. In the distance, a snow white deer fled into the underbrush. As the group walked along, Ema spoke up, motioning to the trees that surrounded them on either side. “This is Blackglade Forest, one of the most ancient and diverse woodlands on the continent. When Everin Arkus originally founded the academy, he sought to place it in a secluded location, so that he might teach his students without distraction. He eventually decided on this spot, in the depths of the ancient forest on the shores of Lake Lyan. Of course, he first had to make an agreement with the Wardens of the Wood who were, incidentally, headed by a distant relative of mine at the time.” Ema laughed warmly as they passed through the forest that bore her name. “Needless to say, they allowed the academy to be built, and it has stood here ever since.” She pointed out toward the darker depths of the wood. “For those of you interested in the shamanistic magics, these woods will become very familiar. All the plants and beasts in this forest have yet to be fully documented, so it goes without saying to not go off wandering too far. There are many wonders in the forest, but also many dangers.”

The group of students passed out from the forest path into a lawn of bright green outlined with criss-crossing paths of bejeweled cobblestone. As they left the treeline, they were greeted by the immensity of the administrative building. Spires of pale marble shot up into the blue of the morning sky. Great prisms rotated upon the tips of these spires, bending the sunlight into cascading rainbows and brilliant auroras. Immediately before them, two tremendous gates stood open. They were carved from onyx, polished to a mirror sheen. Uncountable runes covered the faces of the gates, inlaid in gold and silver. The room within was magnificent, its floor a deep red marble likewise inlaid with runes. A long white carpet led from the gates into the room and toward a large stage. Fine tables and chairs stood on either side of the carpet, with a particularly large table placed upon the stage along with a marble podium. An enormous window of stained glass had been inset above the gates, its colorful panes depicting a great blue dragon flying beneath a bright sun.

Ema came to a stop before the massive structure, motioning toward the group. “This is the administrative building, also called Everin’s Hall. It is one of the oldest buildings on campus. You might consider this the nerve center of the academy. The Headmaster’s office is located here, as well as the security offices. Everin’s Hall also serves as a sort of museum. A number of artifacts are stored within, as well as a great deal of impressive artwork. The building itself is also covered in thousands of enchantments, many of which draw upon nearly forgotten magics. We’ll be coming back here later tonight for the Headmaster’s greeting to all of you… there will also be a feast.” A few cheers escaped the crowd. Korina smiled.

“Speaking of food though, most of your meals will be at the cafeteria. Our chief cook, Oman Raif, travelled all over the continent studying the culinary arts. We’re very lucky to have him.” The delicious smells that floated through the air around the red brick building emphasized just how lucky they were.

The tour continued on as Ema pointed out a few of the dormitories, great towers rising beside the lake. The guide explained that the towers actually contained far more space than they seemed to thanks to the powerful spatial magic that went into their construction. On one hand, Lake Lyan spread out, a mirror for the midmorning sky. On the other, the soft green grass of the academy lawn. A large oak tree rose from the ground nearby, its trunk thick and ancient. A man sat beneath it, playing a softhearted tune on a flute. Glittering butterflies fluttered about him as he played, a few making their way toward the crowd of curious students. The man halted his performance for just a moment, stopping to wave at his audience before continuing. Sira spoke up. “That is Li Amoni. If any of you wish to study shamanism, he can help you a great deal. Even if you don’t, I find the flute sometimes helps me think.”

The group passed on along the side of the lake, all the while the trio of tour guides sharing various odds and ends about the history of the academy. For many of the students, however, it was difficult not to be distracted by the tower that stood further down the path. A great spire, encrusted with countless jewels of all colors towered before them. Though Everin’s Hall had many impressive spires, none compared to the colossal structure that they now approached.

“This,” Ema said, smiling, “is the Tower of Lights.” The tower seemed to go on forever into the sky. “It is the largest library in Cresia, and the second largest on the continent, second only to the Temple of Lore in Isila. Inside are millions of books and scrolls, all tended to by our tireless librarian, Aretia Sinclair. I highly recommend you spend some time exploring the Tower. There’s no telling what you could find.”
@CavnderOHeart@Epsir@ERode@Katthaj@Lord of Evil@Scribe of Thoth

Julian Westri


Julian stretched, flipping through a stack of papers on the balcony the adjoined his office. He had abandoned the desk shortly after Linxi had made her exit. He’d been Headmaster for years now, yet somehow he still wasn’t comfortable just sitting around. The sun and the breeze helped him think more clearly. The lilting flute in the distance didn’t hurt either. He had been told the new students had finally arrived. No doubt Ema, Sira, and Korina were already in the midst of their tour. He remembered his own first time touring the grounds: he had snuck away from the group about five minutes in. He had thought himself quite clever until he’d run into a certain shaman…

The gentle spark of static electricity pulled him from his nostalgia. “Hello Linxi.”

The white-haired woman burst into existence with a grin. “Hey hey.”

Julian took a sip of tea and shuffled through his papers. “How were our newcomers?”

Linxi beamed. “I like them. They seem like a great bunch! As a matter of fact…”

Julian looked up as his assistant continued.

“It looks like I may be doing some teaching this year.”

Julian smiled. Linxi was a fine assistant, and an excellent Mage in her own right, but she usually shied away from actual instruction. Perhaps she was shirking responsibility, but the Headmaster knew it was the rare sort of student that would appreciate Linxi’s… methods.
“I’m happy to hear that, you must have really made a connect- oh, looks like a few were late.”

A pair of students were being led toward the administrative building. He had been told there were a few students being brought on separate vessels to accommodate their distant homes. The Headmaster rose to his feet, placing the stack of papers on a nearby table. “Well Linxi, why don’t we go say hello?” A faint glow shimmered across Julian’s hand before he vanished, appearing a few meters in front of the two students.

“Good morning! Did the others leave without you?” The Headmaster smiled a warm, sunny smile at the newcomers. Linxi appeared behind him, waving cheerily.
@SamaraJayne96
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PigeonOfAstora Shower Thinker

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"Yeah, true." Callum replied with a shrug. "A roof and daily food is a treat, for sure."

And it really was, to come to think of it. Callum didn't think about it too much, but he sure did hit a lucky spot with the Judge. Sure, Judge Markus was known for his frequent swoopings to the underdog and sending them to the academy, but was plenty who didn't catch the Judge's eye, and plenty more, he thought as he glanced towards to Kellin, who would not have a home to come back to. Gah, he'll just have to make the most of what he struck lucky with. Callum probably couldn't live out their lot in life too, but he sure as hell could try.

Callum watched as the boy caught up to the group, who proceeded to get distracted and slap himself to regain attention. The boy seemed to carry a sort of... floaty? A cloudy sort of disposition, like he was somehow less real and was half-way in another world of his own, only to be rooted reluctantly back on the physical plane. And Callum could swear that if they went ahead without waving, the boy would have floated off completely and gotten lost. Callum felt strangely at ease to know that he was not the only one who would get lost in a straight path, though being lost did give Callum a sense of adventure.

"Hey, you haven't missed much." Callum said quietly to the Osuunese boy. "Just a bunch of teacher introductions." And Callum would have told him the teacher names, had he not already forgotten them. "Name's Callum, by the way." He said, before being ushered by the student group moving through.

Callum plodded along with the rest of the group as they toured the whole place. He was wrong about the Academy - the Perenias Castle had all bark and no bite, with fake books and golden gilding. This was the real deal - ancient runes that spoke a language of a hundred eras as they brushed along like it was another feature, paned glass that told the story of tales faded but unforgotten, the fragrance of freshly baked bread...oh man, fresh bread...

Callum skidded, and slowed his pace. No, no - not yet - Callum bit his lip to keep himself from drooling. This Academy was already testing Callum's mental resistance! Callum craned his neck pleadingly as the group walked further and further away from the source of aroma, before losing sight and smell of the kitchen completely.

I will come back for you, I swear! No plate left behind! He thought, before turning back to the tour.
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SamaraJayne96 thE tRutH iS inSidE Of YOu <3

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The two of them stood in the entryway unsure of what to do. Not that it mattered anyway... Atlas was exactly where he wanted to be. For too long he had been isolated in seclusion. For too long he had wondered about his unbridled potential. Now was his chance for his wings to unfurl and for him to become who he was always meant to be. With Azura glued to his side, he slowly walked around the room taking note of its appearance. He was pleasantly shocked to observe the stark contrast between what he's known and what he has yet to discover. Already he loved this place. Everything about it was foreign and exciting. While his home had been cozy and warm; this institution could be best described as... opulent, mysterious.
Nice place. He thought as his smile turned into an outright grin.
"I am so ready for this. Can you believe where we are? What fate has in store for us?" He whirled around, grasping Azura by the shoulders. In his excitement, it was all he could do not to shake her.

With a heavy sigh and a look that would make even the joyful cry, Azura gently took his hands and shrugged him off. She took a few steps away as if to distance herself and clear her thoughts. For a moment they just stood there... Azura deep in thought and Atlas confused as ever at his sister's erratic behavior.
Just as he was about to break the silence she spoke, "At least someone is enjoying themselves... I want to go home. I miss mom and the others."

And just like that, the wave of emotions Atlas had been avoiding finally crashed into him. One of the bitter-sweet qualities of being a psychic is empathy. In his excitement, he was able to ignore the negative emotions coming from his sister. But now that he saw her, really saw her. Saw the look on her face and the way her inner light seemed to dim... he felt bad. He felt guilty for not having noticed sooner. It was in that guilt that he grew defensive.
It's not fair. He thought mildly, tears brimming the corners of his eyes.
Am I not allowed to be happy? I hate this, why must I feel what others feel? Why can't I enjoy myself?

Azura walked towards the window and looked out onto the courtyard. Not seeming to notice the rapid change in her brother's mood. She read about his condition once... or at least how layman's terms described it. Bipolar disorder: a mental illness that causes its host to go from one extreme to the next. At one moment the person in question could be in bliss of great magnitude. The next, a depression so low that only prayers can help you climb out of it.

His hands at his sides clenched into fists as he tried his best to calm himself.
"Think of all that we could accomplish. Think of all we could learn! The goddess herself must have sent us here for a reason." Atlas tried his best to get her to see things from his point of view. An effort most futile. Until his sister experiences adventure for herself, only then will she come to terms with their abrupt change.
She continued to stare out the window. Deciding it was best not to encourage the conversation further.

Gruffly, Atlas blew his bangs out of his face and turned to distract himself. Might as well take a look around while they wait for further instruction. One object seemed to catch his eye in particular. A statue stood not too far from where they had entered. The carvings dipicted a young maiden whose beauty was only surpassed by her confidence. Her expression held divine strength and emanated an importance of some kind. Other than the energy this piece of art gave off, it was her forehead that caught his interest. Carefully carved and glowing red was an ancient-looking rune smack dab in the middle. The only reason he even knew what a rune was, was because his twin had been studying how to master them. As he came closer to the statue, the rune seemed to glow even more. Almost as if it were calling to him. Beckoning him forward like a siren in the middle of a storm.

Just as he leaned forward to take an even closer look, a shimmer of golden-white light caught in the corner of his vision.
Great. He thought bitterly. Here comes another hallucination.
However, the sparkle of light did not come from his imagination. Instead, two figures appeared out of thin air only moments later.
"What the fu- Zu-Zu. Get behind me right now." Atlas commanded as he practically threw himself in front of his twin. His defensive instincts on high alert, he pulled an old hunting knife out of his right boot. Previous experiences have taught him to be prepared whenever danger might strike. However, his moral compass would not have him hurt anyone unless attacked.







A brown rabbit appeared from a few hedges that framed a nearby garden outside. From the window Azura watched the cute little creature cautiously move forward and sniff about the area. In a way witnessing that simple action eased some of her nerves. She smiled fondly watching the rabbit bound back into the hedges.
This is definitely a far cry from the Oswage lands... She thought, a tad forlorn.
She continued to look around the front gardens, letting her mind drift and her thoughts dance in tune with the wind. It wasn't until a commotion sounded behind her that she turned her heel.
Before she knew it, her brother's arms were shielding her defensively, a knife in his hand.

Alarmed, she looked over his shoulder. This took great effort due to the fact his 6-foot stature overshadowed her 5-and-a-half-foot frame.
On tiptoe, she noticed two others had joined them. A petite woman with snow-white hair that matched her equally snow-white skin grinned over the shoulder of a face she could not quite make out just yet.
The mysterious figure then spoke, "Good morning! Did the others leave without you?"

With wide eyes and her face falling with shock, Azura grasped her brother's arm and hissed in his ear.
"Dumbass! Don't you know who that is?!" She shoved a surprised Atlas aside and took hold of his knife, wrenching it from his grip.
"We are not home anymore, you cannot just go wielding weapons willy-nilly in civilization! There are rules against that. There are LAWS against that.
Atlas shrugged nonchalantly and took back his blade, sheathing it in his boot once more. Azura rolled her eyes and poked his chest. Hard.
"That..." She said turning and pointing to the man who greeted them.
"That is Julian Westri. Also known as the headmaster of Arkus Academy."
Hard as it was to admit, Azura took pleasure in watching her brothers face pale as the seriousness of the situation struck him. Affirming his thoughts, she nodded and turned to walk over to the duo who joined them.
"I recognize him from the research I looked into about the academy."

Standing in front of Headmaster Westri and his assistant Linxi, Azura held her hand forward to offer a handshake. Her brother was not too far behind her. His face was beet red as he idly scratched the back of his head in embarrassment.
"Hello." Azura grinned, shoving her emotions aside to appear diplomatic.
"We are the Orion twins, but I am sure you already knew that. Forgive my brother... it seems as we are not quite used to your customs yet."

He took her hand, shaking it with good nature and positivity that was infectious. Linxi did not miss a beat as she immediately shook Azura's hand right after she let go of his grip.
"The captain of our vessel mentioned that we had arrived a tad late... so I guess we missed the beginning of the tour."

@DrowsyPangolin
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