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Garreg Mach Monastery
First Floor
  • Marketplace - A market in front of the monastery, through which merchants come to exchange goods.
  • Entrance Hall - The entrance of the monastery, which connects to the dining hall and other notable locations in Garreg Mach.
  • Dining Hall - The dining hall is directly adjacent to the entrance hall, through which residents of the monastery regularly eat meals at any time.
  • Greenhouse - A greenhouse through which plants for cooking and gifts are raised.
  • Fishing Pond - A pond through which residents can fish utilizing bait. Fish from many locations in Fódlan are gathered here: sometimes, extremely rare fish can be caught, or at times large amounts of fish can be caught at once.
  • Dormitory - A two-floor facility that functions as a residence for students of the Officers Academy. While the staff of the academy tries to reduce discrimination between nobles and commoners, such prejudice still exists, and as such, the nobles almost always take up the second floor while commoners are relegated to the first floor rooms.
  • Sauna - A building located between the dormitory and the training ground that functions as a relaxation facility, where residents can refresh in a steam room.
  • Training Grounds - A place where knights and students alike come to hone their combat skills. Every month, a tournament is held where the winners can achieve both money and a prize as a result.
  • Stables - Horses wyverns are raised here. Sometimes, students of the Officers Academy are assigned to group tasks involving taking care of the horses, pegasi, and wyverns here.
  • Knights Hall - The Knights of Seiros gather and socialize in this hall. There are targets for practice as well as books and a lounge here.
  • Graveyard - Behind the Knights' Hall is a graveyard where notable people who are now deceased are laid to rest.
  • Cathedral - At the most rear point of the monastery, connected to the remainder of Garreg Mach via a bridge, is a cathedral where devout believers worship the goddess Sothis and the saints. Statues of the Four Saints are located here. Choir practice is held here. An advice box is also located here where students can ask for advice.
  • Central Building - The most central building of Garreg Mach, it is a three-floor facility that harbors multiple locations:
  • Reception Hall - On the first floor of the main building is the reception hall, where social events such as the Ball during the Ethereal Moon are held.

Second Floor
The second floor is home to several different facilities:

  • Audience Chamber - This is where the archbishop often stands during their work. The professors of Garreg Mach regularly report here at the start of each month to obtain their missions.
  • Advisory Room - The archbishop's advisor, works here to speak with the archibishop.
  • Sirius's Office - This room is Sirius's personal work space, where he can often be found while exploring the monastery.
  • Captain's Quarters - A room where the current captain of the Knights of Seiros--Kalliope--resides.
  • Crest Scholar's Office - An office where Professor Tomai conducts his research on Crests.
  • Infirmary - A facility run by Professor Kaira where the injured and the sick are taken care of.
  • Library - Numerous books and historical texts are here for reading. It is also used as a study space for members of the Officers Academy. It is run by Lysander, who doubles as its librarian.
  • Cardinal's Room - The main room for the cardinals of the Church of Seiros. The professors usually gather here once a week to discuss and compare lesson plans.

Third Floor
The third floor is only accessible to the members of the Church but can be reached with permission:

  • Archbishop's Room - The archbishop takes residence in this room.
  • Star Terrace - A balcony atop which a view of the monastery can be attained.
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Hero
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Hero Sincerest of Knights

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Not a single ray of sunshine fell on Fódlan that day. The funeral was brief as this was the life of a mercenary, after all. But his life had ended much too soon, taken from him before he could truly live. And all for nothing; the girl he had died saving would never again see the light of day. It was a tragedy of unspoken proportions, the effects calamitous. It would take much good will to prevent Fódlan from cracking further.

Letting out a sigh, the woman looked up at the sky. So much had gone wrong in so little time. It was clear now that no one could be trusted. For Sothis to return among the living, stricter measures needed to be put in place. Yes, that was the way. Next time, she would make sure that the child would be protected. No harm would come to it--she must take things into her own hands. She would not make the same mistake twice.

Before taking her leave, she would gaze upon the gravestone that bore one name: Byleth Eisner.

The opening ceremony of the Officers Academy took place in the cathedral of the church. An assortment of knights and members of the Church had decorated the place with a multitude of red, blue, and yellow ribbons, celebrating the arrival of the students. Although the seats weren’t filled, it was clear the number of students didn’t matter; each one was welcomed whether they were noble or commoner.

Among the clergy was a young boy who stood out among the rest. The garb seemed to swallow the child whole, but he stood proud nonetheless, as if channeling the spirits of the previous archbishops before him. His stature did little to impede him as he strode over to the center of the floor, a humbled smile on his face as he looked over the many faces before him.

“Welcome, one and all,” The volume in his voice betrayed his size, easily carried over the entirety of the hall with ease. “The goddess blesses us with another group of hopefuls! It warms my heart to see so many new faces here at Garreg Mach. I am Archbishop Ioannis, and I am humbled that I have the opportunity to accompany you all through your year at the Officers Academy.”

Taking a small pause, Ioannis continued, “This is but a final step for many of you before taking your place in the world, and all of us are eager and willing to ensure that this year is a smooth one. We here at Gareeg Mach implore you to lean on your neighbor, to support those who may need it. While the world will always present challenge after challenge, we hope to supply you with the knowledge and wisdom to take hold of your future; no man is a nation, and we must all work together for the sake of Fódlan and the people.”

He looked over to his left side, gesturing to a taller man with silver hair. “My right hand, Sirius, will be supporting the school faculty in addition to his usual duties of overlooking the Knights of Seiros,” He introduced the man. “He, as well as Cleric Arianthe, have been vital in the transition from one archbishop to the next.”

The man motioned to the boy’s right. Remembering something, Ioannis sheepishly looked to that side, clearing his throat. “This year’s faculty is a little more varied than in previous years. With Lady Geraldine’s return to Adrestia, we decided to better assist the students with more professors to lead classes. Professor Lysander Roland oversees much of the school’s curriculum and is the liaison between the school and church--that said, he has a generous open-door policy and is one of the kindest souls you’ll likely meet. Assisting him will be a nurse who serves both school and church by the name of Kaira Simeon--their offices are located on the second floor.” The dark haired man’s jaw dropped, his gaze following as his face flushed with color, quietly shaking his head as he avoided looking anyone in the eye. A green haired girl nudged him, clearly trying not to laugh as she gave the students a small wave.

Ioannis looked like he had more to say, but after a moment decided against it, once again giving the students a warm smile. “Your professors await you in your homerooms. May the goddess watch over you all.”

Outside of the classrooms stood Professor Lysander and Professor Kaira, the pair in a spirited conversation. The two stopped long enough to to watch Michail run out of the Blue Lions classroom, a giant grin on his face. Said grin turned into a howl as he was promptly thwacked by a furious Euphemia, though it was Tomai stopping him in his tracks that really cause the knight distress. Lysander and Kaira looked at one another briefly before running interference, briefly catching the tail end of an accusation of sabotage.

"Have you any idea how humiliated I was?!" Euphemia kept her voice low as she cracked the rod on Michail's arm, right against the chainmail.

"Stop--how do you manage to hit my unarmored spots--it's just a harmless prank!" He defended himself, hiding behind Kaira.

"This book is centuries old and you decided to scribble all over it," Tomai said flatly, showing the group an identical sketch to the one in the Golden Deer's classroom etched onto the back of Tomai's book.

"Oh, Michail, we talked about how you should be acting in a position of authority..." Lysander sighed, shaking his head. "Sirius won't be happy to hear this."

Across the courtyard, the silver haired man in question watched the scene unfold, letting out a sigh. A small laugh caught his attention, and he looked down at the Archbishop. Ioannis watched the professors and students as they began to leave the classrooms, a sparkle in his eye. The man was aware they should head back to the church, but he was all too aware the boy was eager to interact with the students--even if they were all older than he was.

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Kestrel
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“Lead us well, future Duke Riegan.” Raimund Kent threw his arm around Jorah’s shoulder. Despite the two years Jorah and he hadn’t seen each other, Rai could not help to fall back into familiar patterns. A grin from ear to ear betrayed Rai’s excitement - albeit more because of his reunion with his old friend than the start of classes.

“Time to address your subjects, house leader.” Rai quipped, barely audible enough to be heard by any astute eavesdropper. After all, even if Rai believed Jorah wouldn’t let these jokes get under his skin, all the other faces in the room - save for Clarissa’s - were new to him. From leaning on his friend like a sailor would in a tavern, Rai stood up in the same flow of motion as he unwrapped his arm. Now with a straightened back and, after a quick patdown of his shirt, uniform, he’d taken a stance much more fitting with the image of nobility. The one thing that hadn’t changed was the warmth of his smile.

“Excuse me, everyone.” Raimund announced as he stood up. Though hardly of the same length as the Gloucester men were, he was a fair bit taller than most of his classmates. He positioned himself opposite of the class before speaking further.

“I hope you won’t find it too forward of me to speak first. I am Raimund Kent. It is an honour to be here at the academy by the patronage of House Gloucester. I am looking forward to learning with everyone and, between you all and me-” Raimund leaned in and winked. “-I am most looking forward to the cafeteria and meeting Garreg Mach’s wyverns.”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Scribe of Thoth
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Scribe of Thoth It's Pronounced "Thot"

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Roaming the hallowed grounds of Garreg Mach was an experience that surpassed even the highest of Auberon's expectations; every corridor and room seemed alive with the Goddess' presence, and his heart beat ever faster in religious ecstasy as the day's events progressed and increasingly important members of the Church hierarchy were presented to him. To stand in the cathedral itself, in the presence of the Archbishop, no less, was to feel unworthy. It was if the gaze of the Goddess Herself was boring down upon on him there, and Auberon found it a challenge to even raise his head completely as Ioannis welcomed this year's class.

The classroom itself held less distraction for the boy. Without statues of the saints watching his every move, Auberon could almost pretend he was in any other mundane room in the world. Besides, he was in attendance for a reason and it wouldn't do to disrespect the monastery and Church itself by not committing his full attention to the curriculum he'd been graciously allowed to partake in. Michail seemed friendly and personable, and his status as a Knight of Seiros assuaged any doubt of his competency, even if he may not be responsible for their entire education at the academy.

Still, Auberon was stupefied for the first few moments after Michail had finished his announcement. Surely he'd misheard - the professor must've said Auberon of House Gautier. Or... Aubrey of House Galatea. Okay, he didn't think there was even an Aubrey in his family, but still. No, the board definitely had him listed there at the top. The Goddess truly was an inscrutable mistress; classes had yet to even begin and She had already blessed him with a once-in-a-lifetime duty to help shape the future leaders of Faerghus. Auberon quietly placed his hands together in prayer and reverently lowered his head.

"I am honored by this opportunity, my Lady. I will not fail You or this nation," he murmured almost imperceptibly under his breath. After paying the proper respects to the Most High, Auberon stood and made his way up to the front of the class, trying to catch everyone's attention before anyone left to spend their free time elsewhere. "Excuse me," Auberon addressed the room with neither imperiousness nor timidity, toeing the line between fellow student and uplifted authority as best he could, "Evidently I'm to be the House leader of the Blue Lions this year, so I felt I should probably introduce myself."

He waited until he'd captured at least some of the students' attention before continuing, "I am Auberon Casimir Galatea, heir presumptive to the Countship and bearer of the Crest of Daphnel. I'm a bit surprised at this appointment, in all honesty, but I hope that I can live up to your and Professor Kalonic's expectations of me nevertheless." Auberon brought his fist down on an open palm for emphasis, "If any of you ever need anything from me or have concerns you'd like to share, please don't hesitate to seek me out; it's our collective duty to help better each other and ensure, Goddess willing, that the Kingdom's future is in good hands. Thank you."

Of course, Auberon had no idea what the duties of House leader actually were, and judging by the glimpses he'd caught of Michail being confronted outside, he probably wouldn't have a good opportunity to ask until later in the day. He had the utmost faith in his ability to meet the challenges put before him - the Goddess would not have chosen him otherwise - but convincing the other Blue Lions of this was a different matter. He was the son of relatively unimportant nobility in possession of only a Minor Crest; the blond could tell just from a cursory look at the names on the board that nobles of higher status than him were in attendance, and he sincerely doubted that none of them possessed a Crest. It was possible someone would feel slighted by not being named House leader, though it wasn't as if Auberon had volunteered - their quarrel would be with Lysander. Assuming rational heads prevailed, anyway.

Rather than dwell on it, he turned his attention back to his name on the board, or more specifically, the other names grouped with his. The name Kellen Fraldarius was recognizable enough; he was certainly not the heiress to the Duchy - Auberon swore her name started with an R or something - but the family name alone told Auberon enough about the boy's status. Orhneaht was far more puzzling - it wasn't a family Auberon had ever heard of, though it wasn't like he memorized the name of every upstart merchant household that might have the wealth to send their child to Garreg Mach. Suffice to say, he didn't have high hopes for this Lienna's early performance given what he knew about commoner education.

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Achronum
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Achronum The Pyro

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An unexpectedly bittersweet feeling invaded the trip out of Alliance territory and up into the mountains she now called home. It was difficult to say why; she’d handpicked the officials in charge of her current obligations and she’d promised to send regular letters home. Travel wasn’t especially hard on her either. Goddess knows she’s been on the road plenty in her lifetime. She’d spent a good portion of the trip mulling it over, and cursing that Jorah wasn’t there to just tell her, and when she finally found it, it seemed silly. It was the smell. Or specifically, the lack thereof. Home meant the sea and the salt sweet scent that permeated everything on the coast. It was a constant in her life, even in Diedru, and now she was turning her back on it. The mountain air was crisp and light but it wasn’t home.

Arrival at Garrag Mach banished any such qualms. Her excitement returned in full force as she traversed the halls of the monastery. She’d dreamed of seeing the headquarters of the Central Church since she was a child but she’d never considered that she’d actually come. An air of serenity pervaded every nook and cranny and she couldn’t help but bask in it. She basked under the watchful eyes of the Saints, in the presence of the Goddess that echoed in every footstep and laugh, and a sense of rightness settled on her shoulders. This is where she was meant to be, exactly as the Goddess wanted it. The smile wouldn’t leave her face knowing the Bishop was right and she beamed at the end of the Archbishop’s speech. The Goddess truly did bless everyone of them, didn’t She.

Of course, what goes up must come down. Clarissa appreciated Professor Kalonic’s direct and brisk handling of affairs. She didn’t linger on anything and didn’t repeat herself, one of Clarissa’s greatest pet peeves, but Clarissa’s good mood instantly collapsed when she announced the House Leader. They chose Jorah over her? The heir who didn’t want his position, who spent so much of his time running away from his responsibilities Duke Riegan locked him in the capital, who couldn’t face anything without turning into a joke if he didn’t blatantly shrug it off? She’d spent years working on the organizational and leadership skills while Jorah perfected his escape artist performance and they chose him? She cared for him as much as any friend could but even he’d admit he wasn’t suited―Jorah probably wouldn’t want it anyways!―handling the responsibilities. She had half a mind to go after the Professor and demand they reconsider.

She deflated quickly though. Those thoughts were entirely inappropriate and rude. Jorah would wake up and step into his role just fine; he was adaptable and he knew when he needed to take something seriously. It wasn’t as if this was entirely unexpected. She’d wanted the position terribly but as usual, she had that irritating little issue that always held her one step back. Of course the Church wouldn’t want someone with the Crest of Maurice leading their students. Willingly put a betrayer in leadership? She should probably count herself lucky they even accepted her then. Clarissa gave a tiny shake of her head, trying to clear out the resentment and resignation that settled over her like a blanket, and focused instead on the challenge. The Goddess gave her the opportunity to prove herself and like every time before that, she would.
Clarissa made a mental note to spend some extra time in the Cathedral praying once everyone settled in and waited for Raimund to finish his little introduction. She rolled her eyes at his familiarity with Jorah. He should at least wait until their House Leader made his introductions before publicly falling into their friendship. She knew it had been two years since the Duke refused Raimund’s visits Jorah but they waited this long, surely they could wait a few more minutes. Of course, she didn’t know why she thought anything less; these two brought out the childish sides of each other and she had an eerie feeling someone was going to be cleaning up messes behind them.

“In that vein, I’m pleased to make everyone’s acquaintance as well. My name is Clarissa von Edmund, heiress to the Margravate of Edmund.” Clarissa curtsied, having worn a longer and heavier skirt than the original specifications. The mountains were supposed to be cold and she was averse to the idea of being half frozen for an entire year. “It truly is an honor to have the opportunity to work together with such a diverse group and I hope that, true to Alliance philosophy, we find a way to meld our differences together in a way to make all of us stronger.”
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Obscene Symphony Baroness von Stress

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For Lienna, the past few weeks had been a torrent of firsts: first time sleeping in a keep, first time eating pork, first time having her hair cut by someone who knew what they were doing, first time having her measurements taken, and more. So much had happened it was hard to believe it was real; in fact, just about the only thing reminding her she wasn't dreaming was the horrible stone in her stomach.

Indeed, among her other ‘firsts’ since finalizing her engagement to Count Francis was a decidedly unpleasant one: her first time riding in a carriage, and consequently, her first realization that she got roadsick. The few hours’ ride from Hima to South Gautier had been awful enough on that rickety fur trader’s cart, but the trip from the Count’s keep to Garreg Mach took days and wasn't any smoother. Lienna had always thought a real carriage would be more comfortable, but the wretched thing pitched and yawed with every bump in the road, the horses stank, and the walls and roof that were supposed to protect her only made her feel like she was suffocating. Her single attempt to ride alongside the carriage on horseback ended before it began when the beast was too spooked to let her mount it, so she'd been doomed to spend the whole trip trying to keep her dinner down.

By the time they finally arrived at Garreg Mach, she was as white as a sheet, trembling, and vowing never again to set foot in a carriage. She’d had the driver stop a ways off from the monastery walls so she could stumble out and finish what the last leg of the trip had started, and spent a good few minutes in the shade of a tree by the roadside, nursing a waterskin and waiting for her head to stop spinning. Her uniform jacket had fallen casualty on the way, not that Lienna missed it; the stiff collar felt like a hand around her neck, and the trim fit of the thing greatly contrasted the ratty furs and smocks she was used to. The shoes were no better with their hard soles and heel, but that couldn’t be helped; commoner or not, even she wasn’t about to stumble into Garreg Mach Monastery with bare feet. At least the skirt was agreeable enough, long enough to reach her ankles and only snug at the waist, and the shirt would probably become a favourite. She’d been apprehensive about the breathable cotton at first, but the loose-fitting sleeves concealed how bony her arms were and now that she was here, she didn't expect the cold to be a problem. If this weather kept up, she could probably stow that jacket away for good.

She eventually felt well enough to stand again, but her stomach was reluctant to settle, and she’d be damned if she met her new classmates and professors holding her belly like a woman with child. The solution was found in a gift from her new fiancé: a long, deep brown sash, made of fabric that shone in the light and thin enough to see through. The gift perplexed Lienna; she didn’t understand why the Count bothered trying to woo her when their engagement was already finalized, and the sash itself would be useless against the cold, thin as it was. But as it turned out, it could serve a purpose: she wrapped it tightly around her abdomen, binding her belly from waist to ribs, and tied it off to the side in a limp bow. If nothing else, it might stop her stomach from quivering.

Not that it didn’t try. Lienna hadn’t been to church in years, but even she felt the weight of history and piety when she set foot in the cathedral. It wasn’t like she remembered the church back home; the church in Hima had been a second home for her until her grandmother fell ill, but every step here felt like an unwelcome intrusion on holy ground, the eyes of the saints heavy and judgemental when she passed under them. It was so bizarre and uncomfortable that it even distracted her from the unbelievable scale of the place, and when the young Archbishop’s speech finally concluded, she was one of the first ones out.

Luckily, that strangeness seemed to end at the threshold of the cathedral. She was able to relax a little once she got to the Blue Lions classroom, discomfort nudged aside by awe that Garreg Mach managed to transform even something as humble as a classroom into the stuff of fairy tales. The stained glass windows were unlike anything Lienna had ever seen, casting a rainbow of light across the ancient masonry; she couldn’t imagine the price of the books lining the walls, bound in leather and etched in gold, far finer than any she’d seen at the church back home; hells, even the tables and chairs were crafted with skill beyond anything Lienna had ever hoped to lay eyes on. It took a conscious effort not to drop her jaw at every new furnishing or artifact that caught her eye; she knew students of her means were probably the minority at the Officers’ Academy, but surely the rest must have been at least a little impressed by what they saw.

The cavalier professor clashed with the focused atmosphere of the room, but he was brief enough; he simply introduced himself and the House Leader before scurrying out the door. Said House Leader wasn’t much better, quick to take Michail’s place at the front and launch into a flowery introduction about securing the Kingdom’s future. Lienna looked on with lidded eyes, waiting to be dismissed; the boy carried himself like a storybook general and spoke like a priest, and Lienna was far too weary from the road to entertain his pageantry any longer than necessary.

It would probably be prudent to get on good terms with His Excellency Heir Presumptive Auberon von House Leader at some point, but for the moment Lienna was more interested in the names on the board. Moving to the front of the room, she roved over her own name and the name of the House Leader, as well as a few others. She recognized “Galatea”, but not its origin; she could infer from the boy’s attitude and his appointment to House Leader that it was probably one of Faerghus’ noble families, but she couldn’t think of anything about them save a vague, sourceless familiarity with the name itself. The only other name she recognized was Fraldarius, the name of the territory bordering Gautier to the South. From the crash course she’d had Hima’s priest give her, she recalled that Houses Gautier and Fraldarius often intermarried, and made a note to acquaint herself with “Kellen” on the off chance he or she proved themselves useful to her in the future.

She held back a groan, reminding herself to stand straight. The smart thing would be to get her first impressions out of the way before classes started, but the thought made her head spin. All she wanted to do was collapse into the nearest bed and sleep until she forgot about the swaying of that stupid carriage. She’d earned that indulgence, right? She was certainly owed something after days in that awful box. Yes, that was fair. She could sleep the afternoon off and meet with her classmates at dinner, hopefully feeling well enough that it wouldn’t be a total chore. She wouldn’t make a very good first impression sick and exhausted anyway.

Choice made, Lienna made a beeline out to the courtyard, nearly stumbling when the thwack! of a rod against armour made her jump. She didn’t breathe for a moment, clutching her chest as she watched, wide-eyed, what she could only describe as a children’s argument fire between her professor and two others. Was this going to be a regular occurrence? She’d expected the same boring air of reverence from the professors as she’d seen in the clergy, but after Michail’s performance in the classroom, she supposed she shouldn’t have been surprised. Monastery or not, it seemed there were people everywhere who refused to grow up.

She brushed a long lock of ivory hair back into place before approaching a purple-haired man on the edge of the skirmish. She recognized him from the cathedral and vaguely recalled him being named some kind of overseer, but most importantly, he seemed to be the only professor around acting like, well, a professor.

“Pardon me,” she tapped the man’s shoulder - Lysander, that was it - and put on her best ‘personable’ voice. “Could you please point me toward the… um…” her eyes fell to her crossed arms, a scowl threatening behind her mask of politeness. Dammit, what was that stupid word?! Just what she needed, her first ten words at the monastery and she was already outing herself as some kind of… of... ugh, dammit!

“Ah—student housing,” she finally decided, knowing that wasn’t the word she was looking for but reluctant to make any more of a fool of herself. She faked a little laugh, touching her head in an attempt to play it off. “Sorry, I’m just so tired from the trip.”

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Obscene Symphony Baroness von Stress

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The journey from Derdriu to Garreg Mach was a lengthy one: with the Oghma mountain range blocking off access from the east, the caravan would have to go south through Gloucester and across the Great Bridge of Myrddin into Imperial territory, then hang a right at Gronder Field and trek back up north to the mountains. The road was well-traveled, at least, but it was a gruelling several days nonetheless; still, even the road-hardened guards of the Riegan caravan were weary of travel by the time they arrived, with only one plausible cause.

Jorah von Riegan was in a fantastic mood.

The weeks leading up to his departure had been an agony of anticipation, and by the time they finally set out on the road, Jorah felt like he could have sprinted the whole distance himself. He was even more airy than usual, not a care in the world as the Riegan caravan lumbered down the road, except maybe to urge the drivers to go faster. Ever averse to closed spaces and eager to drink in the scenery he hadn’t seen since he was sixteen, Jorah spent as much of the trip as he could manage riding alongside the caravan on a horse of his own - albeit tethered to the carriage axle. His father must have given the guards a stern talking-to, because no matter how much Jorah bargained and begged and nudged with his Crest, they wouldn’t let him ride freely. Duke Riegan probably told them he’d flee or something. Jorah supposed that was fair enough; many of them already knew the sorts of stunts he tended to pull on hunts and rides with Clarissa.

But despite being pulled along like a captive, Jorah’s spirits never dipped. When he wasn’t out in the fresh air, he was strumming the lute his father had weakly tried to hide from him, serenading the company with every tavern dirge and sea shanty he could remember. Sure, he might have been the source of the circles under the eyes of the guards, but he knew from experience he’d test their patience whether he was singing or not, so he considered it a net gain.

The crossing into Imperial territory was particularly exciting, and had Jorah straining on his horse’s tether more than any other leg of the trip. He’d never been to Adrestia, but laying eyes on Gronder Field brought to mind the stories he’d heard from his father’s Academy days of the grand mock battle held there each year. Naturally, Jorah was fascinated by anything that could lift the Duke’s spirits to such heights - even if they did always come crashing down once the story was over - and drank in as many of the sights as he could, eyes glued to the horizon until they finally happened upon the mountain keep at the end of the road: Garreg Mach Monastery itself.

While he wouldn’t pretend to be profoundly struck by the age and holiness of the monastery, he was greatly impressed by its scale; the monastery rose from the Oghma mountains like it had grown from the very rock, its own spires jutting into the sky alongside the mountain peaks. The place was more lively than he expected, too, with a busy village at the base and people and animals all over the place. Jorah had expected a painfully quiet, stern, boring church and dormitory, but what he got instead felt like a miniature city all its own. He’d heard the place described as “Fódlan in a nutshell”; if that was true, he couldn’t wait to explore every inch of it.

The address in the cathedral was novel - Jorah scarcely believed that what he’d been told about a twelve-year-old Archbishop was actually true - but what really caught his attention was the feel of the room. It was totally different from the day-to-day buzz of city crowds; the new students of the Officers’ Academy radiated every emotion from excitement to dread, like an elegant bell curve of nervous anticipation that had Jorah with gut aflutter, practically vibrating in his seat. He wasn’t sure if it was a good feeling or a bad one, but the excitement of feeling something different in a crowd eclipsed any of his borrowed reservations.

Oh, and the classroom! Now there was a place he wouldn’t mind going every morning. True, yes, he had originally planned on shirking his classes as much as he could get away with to explore the monastery and adjacent town, but when Professor Euphemia bounded in all bouncy blonde hair and slender legs and high-heeled shoes, Jorah couldn’t think of a better place to start his day.

“I’ll make sure to take good care of you!”

Ah yes, nothing could spoil Jorah’s mood today.

“...and the lucky one...is future Duke Jorah Riegan!”

Wait. What?

Jorah blinked, sitting up from leaning his head on his hand and glancing around the room. Okay, he hadn’t really been paying attention to the Professor - not to what she was saying, anyway - did she want him for something? He’d normally be thrilled for a lady like her to call on him, but the very distinct crash he felt in Clarissa’s mood next to him told him that she might have been saying something important. He was left to puzzle over the address and Clarissa’s rapid, concerning decline from anger to melancholy until the papers Professor Euphemia was circulating around the class explained everything.

Jorah von Riegan - House Leader, Golden Deer

“What?!” Jorah blurted out, clutching the paper closer to his face and reading it over again. Surely this was a mistake. She’d said Jorah Riegan, and he was Jorah von Riegan, so there must have been another student with a curiously similar name who was chosen for House Leader, right? He looked around the room for anyone who looked like they were thrilled to be in charge, but saw no one. Cichol’s teeth, no wonder Clarissa was pissed!

Jorah could empathize, fuming in his seat with as much potency as a whimsical delight like himself could manage. His dastard father set this up, didn’t he? Ugh, he should have known better than to think he’d get an entire year away from the Duke’s iron clutches! The man probably thought this was brilliant, a great way to whip his son into the leader he always wanted him to be. It was just perfect, make him responsible for the students of the Alliance and get an extra set of eyes on him to keep him from slinking out of class. Fucking ideal!

Jorah was contemplating methods of begging the academy coordinator for reassignment (even though he knew it was impossible - his father probably dropped a literal boatload of money into the Archbishop's lap to make this happen) when a ray of Almyran sunshine broke through the cloud above his head in the form of a face he’d barely seen these past five years: none other than his only aristocratic partner in crime, Raimund Kent.

His mood spun around like a weather vane, Rai’s high spirits throttling his own joy at finally seeing his old friend again. Jorah leapt out of his seat like he’d been launched off a spring, and returned Rai’s arm around his shoulders by dragging the taller man’s head down for a very loud kiss on the cheek.

“You Gloucester dastard, how dare you not tell me you were coming?!” he loudly demanded, a grin splitting his face from ear to ear. He could feel the disapproval dripping off Clarissa behind him, but took it as a good thing - she knew exactly how happy he was to see his old friend again.

Raimund’s little quip of encouragement, however, reminded Jorah of the absolute tragedy he was facing, and for once, he was happy to take the sideline as Rai and Clarissa made their introductions to the rest of the class. But man, barely five minutes in and Clarissa was already acting more the part of Leader than he ever could; why in Sothis’ name didn’t they pick her?

Ugh, well, he supposed he knew why, and that dip of sad acceptance he’d felt in Clarissa a moment ago told him she had the same idea. But that didn’t mean it made any sense, or that he agreed with it - sadly, it did mean that it would probably be impossible to get... whoever was in charge of appointing House Leaders to change their mind on the matter. Of course, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be leaning on Clarissa’s expertise every step of the way.

Heaving a sigh, he supposed he should try not to disappoint her right off the bat, and cleared his throat, raising a hand to get the room’s attention.

“Alright, I suppose I can’t let myself be outshone here,” he began, taking on the same familiar storytelling tone he used in taverns by the docks. “My name is Jorah von Riegan, heir apparent to the Duchy of Riegan, but if you bother with all those titles, there’s a good chance I won’t realize you’re talking to me.” He grinned, hoping that comment would get back to his father. “Apparently, I will also be House Leader of the Golden Deer this year. I’ll go figure out what that entails in a moment, but for now, please don’t hesitate to come find me if you’re looking for a drink, a dance, or a good time! I am happy to provide.” Grinning wide, he offered the room a grand, theatrical bow, before waving to the students and promptly taking off for the courtyard, dragging Clarissa behind him by the wrist.

“I know, I know,” he tried to mitigate the outrage he knew was coming, pulling Clarissa behind a pillar. He could hear Euphemia arguing with another professor, probably over that dashing chalk drawing on her board, but paid her no mind for the moment. “Listen, I don’t like it either, I think this is a horrible idea, but I’m pretty sure Duke Riegan set this up and I don’t think we can undo it. So pleeaaase,” he took both Clarissa’s hands in his and held them to his heart, giving his friend his best ‘pity me’ face and a little nudge with his Crest for good measure, “please help me out? I desperately need your sage wisdom.”

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by ThatCharacter
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A small group of men gathered outside of Garreg Mach, most in Gautier armour (if they had any). Standing apart from the group, two figures were staring up at the Monastery. Neither were wearing Gautier colours. The first, leaning on a spear, presented the spitting image of a soldier. His greying hair was cut short, and he had the stocky frame of one who was just as used to loading supplies as he was to seeing combat. He could be placed somewhere around forty-four, and even in such a casual posture his hand instinctively wrapped around his weapon, prepared to react at a moment’s notice. His brigandine, well worn, bore the emblem of the House of Fraldarius, though it had faded over time.

The other figure did not much compare. His dark brown hair was unevenly cut, and his frame was lean and wiry. The soldier stood half a foot over him, and in contrast to the calm gaze the older man carried, the other figure’s projected a great sense of unease. His uniform did not seem to properly fit, and it showed. The only piece of his outfit that the boy seemed comfortable with was the sword at his side.

The two stood in silence for a few minutes. Every once a while, the boy would pull his sleeves up, only to have them slide down again a few seconds later.
Finally, the elder spoke up.

“Time we’re off. Will you need anything, my lord?”

A grin broke out across the boy’s face.“My lord? Come on, Anton. You can’t say something like that and then leave!”

The soldier shook his head solemnly. “No no, master! Although we might have once been brothers in arms, you now attend Garreg Mach, esteemed institution of learning and…"


“And -- Blast it, I can’t keep it up.” A smile crept across the soldier’s face. “Do you think they’ll all talk like that in there? I can’t imagine it.”

“Me neither.” The boy said. His gaze returned to the imposing figure of the Monastery. “I truthfully have no idea what I’ll find in there.”

“Your sister did fine, lad. More than fine, in in fact! You'll be fine.” The soldier’s gaze was fixed intently on the boy.

There was a long pause.

“Did father say anything more to you before he sent you off to bring me here?” The boy’s gaze met the soldier’s.

“Nothing. I swear it.” The soldier put a hand over his heart. His mouth opened for half-a-moment, but something stopped the words from coming out. Instead, he let the hand drop. “We really should head off. The boys were eyeing the taverns and I’ll be damned if I’m covering their tabs.”

“Alright. Thanks.”

The boy took one deep breath, slinging a large pack over his shoulder and starting off in the direction of the Monastery. It was only after a few moments that he stopped in his tracks.

“Anton? Please tell them I miss them. ”

Kellen Fraldarius should have known better than to expect a response. When he turned around, he saw that Anton, along with the guards who had accompanied him, were already riding off down the hill.

Drop off a bag. Gather in the cathedral. Meet the faculty. Memorize names. Search to see if there’s anyone you recognize. Avoid making eye contact with anyone you recognize. The flurry of activity that accompanied students’ arrival at Garreg Mach was a bit overwhelming, but Kellen did his best to keep his head above the water. He was quite relieved when the students were broken off and sent to their respective houses, taking a seat near the back of the room.

From what little Kellen remembered of the rare stories Rhiannon would share, the professor seemed quite different from the usual crop. His casual attitude and warm introduction put Kellen at ease for the first time since he had arrived at the Monastery.

The revelation that houses would be integrated was a mild surprise to Kellen. He had rarely listened, but he knew that it was not normal. Still, the idea was exciting to Kellen, who’s only encounters with other nations had been the skirmishes with Sreng. Perhaps he might learn something new in all this.

Kellen had hardly paid attention in lessons (when he had had them), so the appointment of Auberon of House Galatea did not raise an immediate eyebrow for Kellen. Indeed, he was impressed by how quickly the heir rose to his new station, despite his apparent surprise. From his position at the back of the room, Kellen saw a few students react to the announcement with an expected amount of tittering. When one – who Kellen perhaps unfairly suspected to be one of Lonatos listed on the board – turned to towards Kellen with a conspiratorial air, he shook his head sharply. While Kellen wasn’t wholly convinced by the his new… House Leader’s appeal to the collective and the future of the kingdom, he realized that he was thankful to not have any such responsibility thrust on him. Not that he imagined he had even been considered, given his purported lack of crest. A quick scan of the whiteboard confirmed that indeed, among this group, Auberon seemed well-positioned for the role, and that both he and Kellen were grouped together in the new system Michail had explained.

Much less impressed with the new house leader was the ashen-haired girl who quickly strode to the front of the room, scanned the list of names, then rapidly departed. While Kellen was by no means adept at the art of aristocracy, he could tell from the way she held herself that she was not from one of the noble houses. The thought brought him some relief. However, she had the right idea, and Kellen turned his attention to the board as well. A quick examination of the board gave Kellen no cause for concern. He recognized the odd name, but thankfully he saw no Gautiers nor Fraldarius’s listed in his class. While he was sure some students would take note of his last name, he was relieved to know that none would know much about him, much less have a reason to bother him.

Kellen stood up, taking a few steps toward the center aisle to make himself more noticeable. “Erm, hello everyone. I’m Kellen.” He gestured vaguely towards the board before pushing his sleeves back up. “Fraldarius. I have a few older siblings though, so please don’t treat me differently!” He looked around the room and realized that compared to the introduction of Auberon, his hardly stacked up. Nevertheless, he gave a quick nod to the assembled students before turning outside to be confronted with the scene of his professor on the losing end of a battering by what he presumed to be two other members of the faculty. The scene nearly stopped him in his tracks, but he was quick to recover and position himself along the wall just outside of the classroom. Having the cool stone press against his back made him feel safe, and from this point he had a decent view of the courtyard where students were trickling out of their classrooms.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Hero
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Hero Sincerest of Knights

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@Obscene Symphony

"Honestly! Have you no shame at all? You are a Knight of Seiros, you of all people should be acting the most professional!" Euphemia continued to reprimand Michail, who remained behind a bewildered Kaira, all too glad to use her as a shield. "Do you want me to report you to your superior or do you just like to cause trouble?"

"Kalliope isn't my superior anymore. Lysander is," Michail announced proudly, placing both his hands on Kaira's shoulders. "I'm just trying to have a little fun, you wouldn't believe how nervous some of these kids are. You're the one that said our goal is to make sure this year is as smooth as possible, and humor is always a great ice breaker."

"I also said 'act like a professor' if you recall," She replied, though she relented. "Alright, fine, I should have figured you'd embarrass me one way or another. But why write on a book belonging to the church's library? That's a little over the line, isn't it?"

"I...actually didn't know that belonged to the Church," He admitted, trying to ignore Tomai's glare. "But I'll replace it! Our uncle has a vast collection, I'm sure that he may have an edition in his own library."

"How unchivalrous that a knight would resort to buying forgiveness," Tomai muttered, crossing his arms in disproval.

"This is a poor first impression..." Lysander sighed, shaking his head. A tap on his shoulder took his attention away from the professors, violet eyes landing on a student. He waited patiently for her to finish talking, focused entirely on her even as the pair would likely hear another thwack. Once she finally stated what she needed, he perked up considerably, a hand on his chest as he gave her a warm smile.

"Yes, of course," He replied kindly, looking ahead towards the path. "If you walk through the courtyard you'll reach a path--simply take it right and you will reach the dormitories. All the rooms at ground level belong to our commoner students while the nobles reside exclusively on the second floor. To make finding your room easier, each set of doors holds a plaque with the students' name. The Blue Lions will find their rooms to the north part of the building, the Black Eagles are situated towards the center, and the Golden Deer will find their rooms to the south closest to the Greenhouse."

Once he finished explaining, he added, "Would you like help finding your room? It'd be our pleasure."

Stories always paled in comparison to the real thing, this much Derec knew. Even still, Garreg Mach had a serenity that no tale could ever do justice; from the grand cathedral to the bustling marketplace, it was almost everything he had hoped for. Here the borders between lands were nonexistent and both commoner and noble walked side by side. In a sense, it was the perfect escape for anyone looking to hide from the world. Not that he was hiding from anyone in particular, but at the very least he could probably sleep better at night not worrying about any possible assassins sneaking into his room past the guards.

The Archbishop's speech was nice, but Derec found it hard to concentrate when the words were coming out of a child half his height. At least he looked like he was having a nice time. Speaking of which, their professor was certainly a character. He had heard of a Knight of Seiros joining the ranks of the Officers Academy, but he figured it would have been as a combat advisor. The last name sounded familiar to him, but he couldn't place it; at least it wasn't any major noble house of Faerghus.

The professor left the room so quickly that Derec almost wanted to follow suit, but it was probably a good idea to find out which students he would be spending the year with. He stood from his seat and approached the chalkboard, towering over most of the other students. Finding his name wasn't too hard, but he did raise his eyebrow at only seeing 'Ballard'. Well, the Royal family had yet to recognize him, so maybe he had been expecting too much. Then again, Lord Leon had said he was free to use the Blaiddyd name, and he had the crest to match.

The house leader decided to introduce himself, and he watched with great interest. Galatea, now that was a name he did recognize. At least he sounded like a leader! He finished with such a flourish that Derec couldn't help but clap, though he realized his mistake shortly afterwards. "Oh--okay," Derec stopped clapping, turning back to the board. The best thing to do was to avoid the nobility--no doubt he wasn't exactly popular with those who would stick to the original heir--so he figured he should stick to his classmates.

And of course that meant he was placed in a unit with not only Faerghus nobility but Alliance nobility and even the Imperial Prince from the looks of the Black Eagles. "Great," Derec mumbled, scratching the back of his head. Galatea and Fraldarius? Really? Why not add in Gautier and Dominic while they were at it? How was he supposed to lay low?

He may as well try to bring about a good first impression. But where would he start? House Leader? Or the timid Fraldarius? The latter seemed like the obvious answer, but Derec would rather know his enemy first and foremost and the Galatea seemed more problematic. He approached the blond somewhat reluctantly, running a hand through his hair to smooth it out.

"Well said," Derec decided a little compliment to hopefully butter the guy up would help. "And well met. I'm Derec Ballard, it looks like we'll be in the same class unit for the year."

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Achronum
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Achronum The Pyro

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[@Obsence Symphony]

Jorah’s introduction perfectly met her expectations of him which meant theater troupe, not dignified noble. While his populist personality worked wonders in less formal settings, instilling a little dignity alongside the enthusiasm would go a long way in reassuring their peers about his reliability. And that meant more than those in the Golden Deer house. The other house leaders would be evaluating and settling their judgement within the first few meetings and they couldn’t afford to alienate the Alliance from potential allies over a lack of professionalism. Goddess help them. This would―

Before Clarissa realized what was happening, Jorah grabbed her wrist and dragged her outside with all the grace of a drunk bull in a china shop. She’d learned long ago just to go along with it; Jorah could be as bullheaded as herself but only when he was determined to escape his father’s clutches. He hadn’t even let the others introduce herself and the girl with the shock of pink hair had caught her attention. It all but screamed Goneril but last she was aware, Duke Goneril went through wives like garments because none of them bore him an heir. And to think there was once something dignified about that man.

When Jorah finally stopped them, Clarissa sent him an unimpressed look and quickly snatched away her hands. “Have you even considered what you just did? You stole me away as quickly as you pleased from our peers and removed us from full public view in which I then had my hands pressed to your chest. To the unsuspecting eye, our behavior is incredibly improper and I’d prefer not to start this year beating down false assumptions.” Clarissa grumbled, a sigh bubbling out at the pitiful look on his face. He was too good at that these days. She’d hoped growing up would make it less endearing but apparently the Goddess had a wicked sense of humor. “Our feelings are irrelevant to the situation. The only lingering irritation I harbor is for myself and myself alone. I know how my Crest works; I can’t rightly take that out on anyone, much less you. I agree what is done is done. We’ll make the best of it. What was it you said to me…” It felt like ages ago, that time in their cave when she felt like her entire world was collapsing down around her and Jorah managed to make the weight so much lighter with little more than his antics. It was a wonderful memory now; Duke Riegan’s face of shock and betrayal afterwards still sending her into laughing fits behind closed doors.

Pssh, like you could get rid of me.” Clarissa giggled as she parroted Jorah’s words back at him. She propped one hand on her hip while she continued. “Of course I’ll help. What kind of friend would I be if I let you stumble around like a newborn colt? Whenever you need advice, you know my doors are open. Which brings up an important point. Have you found someone to replace your sister? You’re no good to anyone strung out like a paranoid drunkard.” That wasn’t a concern sh’;d considered before now and the worry gnawed in her stomach. Her emotions were too “loud” (she still didn’t full grasp whatever that meant) for Jorah to relax around when he was overwhelmed and she knew Raimund, despite his veneer of suavity and sophistication, was as an excitable toddler as Jorah himself so the two friends he knew off the bat would only to serve to make it worse. His sister was calm and quiet and she knew sometimes he needed to recharge around her to make everything settle down but she wasn’t here so it was imperative he find another sanctuary as quickly as possible. She didn’t need him wilting away in a room on his own.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Eleven
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The journey to Garreg Mach Monastery would have taken them days if they rode hard and followed the traveler's roads, but Imogen was delighted to realize that Caius was as reluctant to drop her off the academy as she had been to leave him. So instead of days, their trip lasted weeks. They stopped to examine every little thing that caught her interest, visited towns along the way to try their local dishes, set up camp only where their view of the night sky was unobstructed. Imogen had never thought her life boring before, especially when she went out of her way to experience new things every day. But now that she had a taste of the world beyond her quaint Yarrow, she didn't think she could ever stay put there again. Or anywhere, really.

The weeks on the road with Caius had been the most fun she's had in ages. High up in Fódlan's Throat, settled upon a tree she claimed as her own, Imogen thought she had understood how vast the world truly was. To think that was really just a sliver! When she's bedridden and dying of old age, surrounded by all the treasure she amassed during her stint as a pirate legend, her grandchildren would be gathered around her, not-so-secretly waiting for her to kick the bucket so they could fight over her fortune. To while away the hours, they would ask her to tell tales of her incredible life and she would mention this moment. Resting under a blanket of stars after having discovered a world of endless possibilities. Then she'd probably go on about how she had at least six nobles fighting for her hand in marriage and then, just as she draws her last breath, she'd call out her favorite grandchild and tell them they get everything and ha, too bad, non-favorites, you should have tried harded at currying my favor.

…wait, what was her point again? Oh, right. Basically, these last few weeks have been forever etched in her heart.

Caius had arranged the trip with her spontaneity in mind and it seemed he had perfected the formula. They reached the neighboring town the night before the opening ceremony, with enough time to get some rest at the local inn. On the not-so-bright side, it meant they had only the wee hours of the night to say their goodbyes. Caius would leave in the morning—he had this thing where he absolutely will not step foot inside Garreg Mach; which, uh, she probably should've asked about—and she would make the final trek to the monastery alone.

Parting with him proved more painful than she anticipated and she was a blubbering mess of tears and snot in between bursts of excitement at the prospects tomorrow would bring. Sobs and laughter alternatingly wracked her frame throughout the night until she finally cried herself to sleep. Imogen awoke the next day with all her belongings neatly packed, the corner of an envelope sticking out of her favorite heart-shaped bag, the one he'd crafted for her birthday years ago, and no Caius in sight. Her lips jutted out in a pout and her eyes narrowed exaggeratedly, neck craned up so that none of the tears that had welled up would fall anywhere but back inside. No fair! He knew she wanted to see him off. Caius doesn't get any more tears after leaving without a word, that jerk.


It was the doodle on the board that snapped Imogen out of her half-dazed stupor. She blinked away the vestiges of her daydream, looking around to get her bearings. Here's hoping the pretty professor didn't say something too important. Paying attention was never a specialty of hers, although to her credit, she did catch snippets of her welcome speech. Deer, house, Jorah; it sounded like the beginning of a letter. There was more the professor had to say, but by then, she had been too busy laughing at the sketch of a knight on a horse. It almost looked familiar!

After the professor dismissed them, her classmates began to introduce themselves one by one. Imogen tried her best to keep track of their names, although she had a tendency to put her own spin on them as a way to remember them better. So let's see. A laidback-seeming but regal-looking Rai who's going to the cafeteria to… eat wyverns? She probably misunderstood something there. A no-nonsense Clary with hair like fire and lots of serious words at her disposal. A smiley Jory who talked a lot and made her think of sunshine. He's leading them somewhere? She had been so intent on memorizing their names and faces that the class dispersed without her realizing, missing the chance to introduce herself. Although, Imogen supposed that was for the best. Her house didn't have a name--though it does look kind of like barn, so maybe she can mention that--and she didn't know where to get fancy titles like theirs, so her introduction wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining.

Imogen followed the last of her classmates out into the courtyard, unsure what she should be doing next. Explore? Get to know the others? See if they actually served wyverns in the cafeteria? Students and teachers alike were scattered in the vicinity, including fire-haired Clary and smiley Jory who looked to be sharing an intimate moment behind that pillar over there. Imogen liked to tease the couples back in her town, but it might be too soon to do that here, so she restrained herself for the moment. Instead, she plopped down onto the first open space she found in the courtyard and laid on the grass with arms and legs spread wide, looking up at the sky idly.

With so many things happening today, Imogen realized she'd hardly gotten the chance to really absorb her new surroundings. She traded in her mountains for another; one unfamiliar, untested, its secrets unknown to her. There was a reverence to this place that she could feel in the air, unsettling almost, a stark contrast to the wildness of Fódlan's Throat. Imogen wondered if she'd ever get used to it.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by POOHEAD189
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POOHEAD189 Warrior

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The road had not been hard on the young prince, despite the journey stretching the breadth of the empire. He had not been able to travel as far as he would have enjoyed in his youth, but his father had sent him on no shortage of meaningless errands reserved for the most brown nosed of courtiers. 'Diplomatic missions' he had called it, but Kayden had to see the wisdom in it. Meeting the nobles he would one day have to forge friendships with was not an entirely unreasonable idea. He was far more excited for this outing, to be sure. Hard country marred by mountains had fed into rolling hills, Kayden often at the head of his contingent to enjoy the windswept beauty of the country he would one day rule. With a retinue of twenty knights and assorted bannermen, they had found no trouble on the trek save for weather. A storm and muddied ground had halted his men at the Southern Church above Hresveig, staying there for a day to recuperate and let their horses rest before they made all speed to Varley and from there, Garreg Mach. Two weeks later and his curiosity not having lessened, he had said farewell to his men and had sent them to enjoy themselves in Varley before they were to arrive back at Enbarr within the month.

Now, standing within the holy basilica of the central church, he held himself in a quiet reserve as the young Archbishop spoke. For some reason Kayden felt very aware of his surroundings here; a crisp clarity gripped him within the hallowed walls. He decided he wanted a wider view of the room and so watched from the back, leaning against the stone wall as the Archbishop addressed him and his new classmates. He had figured the young head of the church to be more austere in manner to command respect, but he guessed he was simply projecting onto Archbishop Ioannis. The church likely needed a softer touch, and he chided himself. Here he was evaluating the Archbishop when he should be listening, and once he took the holy one and his words at face value, he found he did think he was a natural at his position. Maybe one day they could be acquaintances, if his goddess willed it.

The crowd was dismissed, and they were separated within their rooms by nation of origin. Kayden wasn't entirely certain on how things were to go or how the school was to be run. He had been given a few stories by some of his knights and courtiers that had attended or known others that had. None of them had told him that the Tomai Malathice was to be his teacher! Kayden had thumbed through his book and had read a few chapters here and there when he had the time. A fascinating scholarly work. He should have known the writer was a pretty big asshole.

"Uh...I don't know what I expected." Kayden said aloud after the professor had walked out. They had the whole day to do absolutely nothing? He wondered how much he'd need to rely on professor Malathice and the whole homeroom situation. He'd find out eventually, he supposed.

Kayden took the opportunity to turn himself around in his chair, crossing his arms to rest atop the back of his chair. So far there were twenty others in the class. He might have expected a bit more from the Black Eagles, but they would make do. "Well," He remarked, clearing his throat and regarding the closest three. "I don't exactly know my responsibilities as class leader, but I'll do my best to find out. Let's start simple. You likely know who I am. Where do you two hail from in the Empire?" Kayden had the vague notion of having seen them before, so they were likely nobility. He was good at keeping faces in his memory.

That was when he realized.

It was a distinct possibility they would serve Garreg Mach Meat Pie for lunch, and he felt far too hungry. He had only enjoyed a light breakfast on the road. He hid it behind an open and attentive face, but he hoped their introductions were quick. He got snarky when he was hungry for long.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Tony Pajamas
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Tony Pajamas Countin' My Money

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Even with it now being some years after the Adrestian Empire had truly put forward efforts to re mobilize and repair the country from the plague's effects, Saskia had remained a homebody as she had during its worst effects. Travel was a unique opportunity, bettered by the fact she wouldn't have to do much work during it. Not that the woman was unused to horse riding but given the option of transport by carriage to Garreg Mach, there was clear preference. Their things packed mostly for them, she took a few personal items before wishing her family well.

She would have used much of the time and opportunity to catch up on studies, but she was accompanied by her brother Valerian. Whether it was the opportunity to get out and travel (and be away from his father), or chance to train under the best of teachers that gripped him would be hard for her to say. He was certainly eager to share his thoughts aloud at the least. Something she would deal with for a fair few days before finally asking for some silence. Silence that held to some degree until the Monastery came into view and would excite even Saskia.

This place held awe in a sense. An academy where numerous talented individuals resided. Teachers that were experts in their fields. Her previous tutor would pale in comparison to those hosted here. "I wonder what they'll be like here, brother." Her words drifted open and vague, as they drew ever closer to their destination.

« ═══════╣Later╠═══════ »

While the welcoming by Ioannis was the sort of thing she had expected and listened to with a sparkle to her eyes, the homeroom was not. The immediate dismissiveness had taken her off guard, though she hadn't had much time to react before Malathice has made his exit. The crown prince being announced somehow surprised her as well. Likely easily attributed to her not getting out much and having hardly seen the man before. It did at the very least make it obvious who the House Leader would be.

A larger surprise when she was pointed out quickly by Kayden. Normally this is where she would let Valerian take the spotlight as he seemed prone to do, but new times called for changes. She would be the one doing introductions for once.

"A-Aegir, your Highness. I am Saskia Aegir." There was almost an uncertainty to the last name. "The Same as Valerian von Aegir here." She'd tilt with her head slightly to the side, to a fairly look alike man. Her words lacked some flair you might expect of more pretentious or upper nobility. There wasn't any followup, leaving the air open for her brother's own remarks.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Obscene Symphony Baroness von Stress

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With Clarissa cruelly snatching her hands back, Jorah was left to cross his arms over his chest, smirking to himself as she admonished him for his ‘impropriety’. Come on, if anything she should count herself lucky - he was the House Leader! Surely there’d be no shortage of girls fighting tooth and nail for a place on his arm. Actually, that was a pretty nice perk. Maybe this whole “leadership” business wouldn’t be so bad after all.

In typical Clarissa fashion, she delivered a fine, slightly self-deprecating speech before finally giving Jorah the answer he was looking for: a yes! Thank the Goddess, he sincerely doubted he’d be able to handle all this new responsibility on his own. Grin returning in full, Jorah threw his arms around Clarissa’s waist and hoisted her up off her feet into a crushing hug, bouncing on the balls of his feet like a schoolboy.

“Thank you thank you thank you!” he exclaimed, giving Clarissa a spin before finally putting her back down with a grateful kiss on the forehead. “You’re the Goddess’ personal gift to me, I swear.”

“But I must admit, you wound me,” he added, stepping back and clapping a theatrical hand over his heart. “‘False assumptions’? It pains me to hear you so ashamed of our love.” His sad face lasted approximately two seconds before he burst out in a fit of giggles, shaking his head.

“Anyway, don’t you be worrying about me,” he insisted. “Or, well, focus your worrying on my job, I suppose. I’ll figure something out.” Truth be told, he hadn’t considered how he’d make up for Delia’s absence - forethought wasn’t his strong suit, after all. But he wasn’t worried; Delia was the person he went to when the world’s feelings got a bit too loud, sure, but how taxing would a monastery really be? Garreg Mach was busy, sure, but it was nowhere near as dense as the dockyards of Derdriu, and he’d chew off his own leg just to hobble down to his favourite seaside taverns and soak up every spare moment he could find. He’d miss Delia, but he’d be fine.

He shrugged, shooting Clarissa a smile. “And even if I don’t, I think ‘paranoid drunkard’ looks good on me.”

Before any more nonsense could fall out of his mouth, the courtyard was permeated by yet another crack, Professor Euphemia’s rod having apparently struck metal this time. Jorah’s head whipped toward the sound, and he watched the conflict between the professors unfold for a moment, amusement written all over his face. Man, that Euphemia really had some stamina! There must have been some history between her and that armoured professor to whip her up into such a frenzy. If this sort of rivalry was going to continue, Jorah would have to make sure he had front row seats to the show.

Speaking of which…

“Now seems like a good time to figure out exactly what you’ll be helping me with,” he told Clarissa, flashing her a troublemaking grin before setting off toward the commotion.

At the risk of catching a wayward swing, Jorah walked up behind Professor Euphemia. He was momentarily shocked by the potency of her emotional signature - Cichol's teeth, the really was angry - but recovered quickly, deciding to ignore her aura's warning and tap her on the shoulder. With his best sultry tone (and bracing for a whack with that stick) he asked, “Is that how you treat everyone who misbehaves, Professor?”

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Hero
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Hero Sincerest of Knights

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Euphemia was quick to whip around with a smile and a fire in her eyes, albeit they were extinguished as soon as she noticed it was a student; her wrath was quelled enough that she knew better than to hit an unintended target. Once she straightened up, she threw on a more perky, enthusiastic smile as she listened patiently--though it was obvious she wasn't prepared for his comment. She let out a quiet hum before straightening up considerably, pointing the rod at Jorah.

She decided that despite what he had said, an impression was left to be made, though her blue eyes examined his face carefully. She tapped his chin up slightly to get a better look. "Indeed, it is. Of course, so long as you follow the rules and avoid any trouble, you won't have to acquaint yourself with Priscilla," She replied cheerfully, pulling her rod back as she tapped her own chin.

"I don't know, that Priscilla is just gorgeous," Michail happily added, perching his elbow on Euphemia's shoulder.

"She's only gorgeous because you're wearing armor, otherwise you'd be cowering right now," She couldn't help but retort before giving Jorah her full attention. "I was going to leave learning my roster tomorrow, but now you have my attention. Let me guess...Jorah von Riegan, son of Duke Rodolph von Riegan. You don't resemble him too much, but I can see some similarities. I think you took more after your mother."

"She's completely guessing, she has no idea," Michail rolled his eyes.

"I've had the pleasure of actually meeting Duke Riegan and the other Lords of the Alliance at one of their meetings. Not of all us spend our free time chasing skirts," She shot him a look before giving Jorah a smile. "I'm looking forward to our year together! Do you have any questions for me?"

Meanwhile, the green haired girl had taken advantage of Euhpemia's direct hit on Michail and decided to eavesdrop on Lysander's conversation. She couldn't help but look over the girl, a small frown on her face.

"Excuse me for the interruption, but I could not help but notice you look a little pale," Kaira said softly, giving Lienna a small smile. "I am actually the academy's nurse, so if you would like I could try to relieve your symptoms with magic."

Isolde stared down at the paper in front of her, looking distressed. After finally having worked up the courage to even show her face in public, now that she was here, she was suddenly regretting it. She wanted nothing more than to go back to her room at home and hide under a blanket. Of course, that wasn't gonna really help, but she was at a complete loss. It had been so long since she had been around people her own age that she wasn't exactly sure what to do right now. People were already talking to one another, excitedly checking that they were in units together, but everyone here was a stranger to her.

Letting out a sigh, she jumped in place as a pair of boys got loud. She shrunk back in her seat, taking far too long to realize that they weren't hostile to one another. Was she really so unsocial that she didn't recognize they were friends? Well, yes, but still, she should've guessed.

She was surprised when they introduced themselves; one was from House Gloucester and the other from House Riegan. Another girl decided to introduce herself and reveal she was from House Edmund. How coincidental that three of the five houses had sent their children this year! Unfortunately it had been many years since she had seen two of them, but it was so brief and she had been previously attached to her father's side that she couldn't really say she knew much of them. Maybe she should introduce herself as well? But she wasn't anyone important anymore. At least they were nobles.

Dropping her gaze down at the page Professor Euphemia had given then, she realized that she was placed in the same unit as them. Ah, maybe she really should introduce herself after all! Or was it too awkward? Maybe she should omit her last name? Oh, who was she kidding, everyone knew, she couldn't hide it. No, no, she had to get some courage, she was never going to get anything done drowning in self doubt. That being said, by the time she finally made up her mind, both Jorah and Clarissa were gone, much to her dismay. She decided not to linger, instead dragging herself out of the classroom. Exploring the monastery was something she could do that she wouldn't mess up.

With her head held high, she strode across the courtyard, taking in the fresh breeze. Ah yes, this was definitely the right call--except that thought went away as her foot hit something. Letting out a quiet cry, she found herself on the ground, eyes blinking as she tried to process what happened. She tripped? But there was nothing but grass! No, wait, she tripped over someone!

Scrambling to her knees, Isolde looked at the pink haired girl with tears in her eyes. "I--I--I am sorry!" She managed to squeak out a horrified apology, bowing her head down. "It was an accident, I was not looking at where I was going, I just wanted to explore and--and--I am so sorry please forgive me."

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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Kestrel
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So much for introductions, Rai dropped his shoulders as Jorah dragged Clarissa out of the classroom. It wasn’t unlike his old friend to slither out of formalities, but the fact he’d leave him so quickly after two years of silence did sting more than Raimund liked to admit to himself.

Their other two classmates had gotten the wrong message, it seemed. The short moment in which he pondered the actions of their house leader, a short pink-haired girl who had seemed oblivious to his presence since he'd sat down, wandered out of the classroom. As did a much more nervous looking girl who’d made more eye-contact with the assignments than anyone else in the room. Raimund supposed it was up to him to at least apologise for Jorah and Clarissa to walk out on them before they could even introduce themselves. The two could be ever so impulsive.

Raimund glanced over the assignments for a minute before he lifted himself out of his chair and walked out of the classroom. He was soon met with the sight of the nervous girl tripping over the pink-haired girl. It took Rai a fair bit of willpower to stifle a laugh. He hurried over to the scene to extend his hand and hopefully excuse his friends’ earlier breach of etiquette.

“With all these new sights and sounds it is a miracle more of us don’t forget where they’re going.” He hoped that the smile he hadn’t been able to rub off of his face would be interpreted as polite. “I’ve almost stumbled a dozen times myself before I’d even made it to the classroom.” Raimund flat-out lied, as it’d been drilled into him since his twelveth to pay attention to his every step and posture. Though he could hear Duke Gloucester’s disapproval in the back of his head, Rai sat himself down in the grass. These two couldn’t possibly judge him for any green stains his pants might contract. Raimund was far more concerned these girls might have gotten the impression Jorah, Clarissa and he thought themselves above hearing the names of their classmates.

“I hope the sudden… Withdrawal of my friends earlier hasn’t offended you. I assure you, both Jorah and Clarissa would most covet exchanging introductions at the next opportunity.” -something Raimund would firmly advocate the next time he saw those two.

“On the subject, would you please share with me your names?” He asked politely. After all, it wouldn't do to refer to his classmates as pink-haired girl and nervous girl, even if only in his head.
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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Scribe of Thoth
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Scribe of Thoth It's Pronounced "Thot"

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Not the response from the room Auberon was hoping for, but it wasn't unexpected either. He could only hope the muffled jeers stewing in the back of the room were related to the content of his speech rather than his status; asserting himself as a competent leader was a task he could manage, but convincing slighted nobility that they should listen to a man of potentially lower status was a far more arduous process. Still, he'd manage, by grace of the Goddess if nothing else. The girl who outright fled the room was a bit rude but less of a concern; they had been dismissed, and the drive with which she seemed to move suggested there was some pressing reason for her departure. His speech couldn't have been that bad, right? One guy even clapped!

Auberon perked up as someone followed his lead and took the stage, though his face briefly furrowed in confusion when the boy revealed he was the Fraldarius that Auberon had seen on the board. The ill-fitting uniform suggested he was some commoner with a horrible tailor, but even they would've had access to someone competent, judging by the clothes of everyone else in the room. He supposed Kellen just preferred the bagginess for some reason. Unfortunately, Kellen didn't seem to want to mingle, which left Auberon with unanswered questions and only 'Orhneaht' and 'Ballard' to contend with, wherever they were. If they were both shy too, he'd probably end up having to fraternize with the other Houses far more frequently than would be proper for a House leader just to keep himself entertained. It seemed the Goddess would leave him with no shortage of challenges this year, if the first day was any indicator.

Simply leaving the room was tempting - Auberon could hopefully spare Michail from his fate long enough to get some information from him - and it wasn't like he needed to stick around and introduce himself personally to each person. If someone needed him, they could just follow. Or... catch him right before he could go anywhere, as the earlier clapper had done. Evidently he was Ballard. Auberon couldn't help but frown for a second at the revelation his most fervent supporter so far was some lowborn hick that likely would've clapped for anything. Nevertheless, they were classmates now and it wouldn't do to be aloof. Or ungrateful for the support, for that matter.

"Thank you for the support, I'd hate to have to butt heads with anyone over this position. Seems others disagree, though." Auberon flicked his eyes to a departing student that had been obviously whispering about him during his introduction. "Oh well, all things in time. Speaking of class units, have you seen Miss Orhneaht yet, by chance?"

He needed to make a good impression on those three, at least. Not that he necessarily ever intended to pull rank, but if the Lions he'd be interacting with most regularly were uncooperative, what did that say about his leadership skills? Personally, Auberon thought such ineptitude unacceptable in anyone bearing an important title, much less a Crest, and the people of County Galatea deserved more than a weak leader should the Goddess allow the honor to be bestowed upon him.

"I know absolutely nothing about the girl, I was just hoping to meet her before classes formally started. Faerghus solidarity and all that - I'd hate to confuse her for an Adrestian or something."

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Zin20
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Travel had been a luxury that even few nobles experienced due to the Adrestian Empire’s plague. Wishing a tearful farewell to his mother and auntie Em, Valerian threw what little belongings he had into the carriage and climbed in with his sister. He had always been a bit hesitant to leave home, but since he was with his sister he felt oddly at ease with leaving their mothers. Though this ease did not equate to silence... During the few day's journey if anything it was the opposite...

Finally after days of aloud monologues, Saskia wished to have some silence so that she could continue her studies in some relative peace. He knew that sometimes he could go overboard and that his sister didn’t mean harm by it, it was something that he still to this day had to work on. He did have one pastime that he could do in silence, he would open his small bound leather book with the Aegir’s house crest on it and would write.

Voices in my head
Words do not leave Saskia
Silence drains my life

When the academy came into sight, Valerian broke his most sacred vow of silence. “Look Sas! I have no words for it!”. Valerian had many MANY words for it. He did hear his sister speak softly, though he couldn’t think of the correct words to answer. He did know that this would be good for the both of them.

After the opening Ceremony, the only thing on his mind was Ioannis. Was that person a boy or a girl. This question linger much longer than it should have. The campus was quite large and he managed to get lost a few times before making it to his homeroom. Homeroom was... something... Even by his standards, Valerian expected a bit more out of it. Introductions, a syllabus, or something. All they had been given was the announcement of the Prince being the house’s leader for this year.

His Highness had asked a question to the twins, surprisingly the youngest sibling had beaten him to the punch. “Yes, this is Saskia VON Aegir. She is my sister, my highness.” Valerian shot up from his seat and bowed. Waiting for his highness reply felt like days for him until a noise broke the silence... A monstrous groan came from the depth of his stomach.. Echoing throughout the classroom’s wide halls “How bout you join us for lunch, your highness!” He spat out only thinking of food...
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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Obscene Symphony Baroness von Stress

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If professor Lysander noticed her stumbling, he didn’t comment on it, much to Lienna’s relief. In fact, he was perfectly kind and courteous; so much so that Lienna might have suspected some ulterior motive if not for the fact that the man looked like one of those charitable types who lived and breathed for the service of others. The attitude struck an odd nostalgic chord in her, and Lienna wondered if he might have been better off in the clergy than the Academy. Of course, she supposed the two might not be so separate at Garreg Mach.

The room assignment was a bit more of a pain. Commoners on the ground floor and nobles on the second? Lienna had never even set foot in a building with two stories until meeting with Count Francis, but she still couldn’t help but feel a little slighted. She made this engagement—demanded tuition to this very school—to escape the lot of “commoner”, but she had a sinking suspicion that they’d slap her on the ground floor all the same. Great. Maybe one of the nobles would be interested in trading; hells, the one over by the clump of angry professors making eyes at the blonde looked like he might appreciate a more direct route to drag girls back to his bedroom, and he couldn’t be the only one.

But that was beside the point; a pang in her stomach reminded her of the real goal here. As nice as Professor Lysander was, Lienna wasn’t interested in having him tag along on her heel only to chat her up outside her dormitory door. “Oh, no, that’s kind of you but I’m sure I’ll be fine,” she insisted, offering him the best version of a smile she could muster at the moment. Though when she moved to take her leave in the direction he indicated, she barely got two steps before another professor-looking type—this time with green hair—stopped her in her tracks, telling her she looked pale.

Lienna nearly scoffed. She looked pale? She’d looked pale since the day she was born, what of it? But apparently this one was the Academy nurse, so maybe she meant she looked ill. That was well enough, she supposed; Lienna had never seen a healer before, so she didn’t know how effective it would be, but she could certainly do without the stone in her stomach.

“Oh, alright,” she accepted the offer, “how does that work?”

Kaira beckoned for Lienna to follow her a few paces away from the other professors, and once she determined they had enough space, examined the student carefully. A small hum escaped her lips, but she remained otherwise unconcerned. “I’ll be quick about it, I’m sure you’d prefer spending your time wisely,” She assured her.

Raising her hand in the air, a glyph made of light appeared before her, magic rushing forward towards Lienna. Visually, it was bright and flashy, albeit it was over as quickly as it came; what was more pressing than the light show was the relief washing over Lienna, much like the feeling of warming up next to a fire after coming in from a rainy day.

Glyph and light alike faded, leaving only Kaira in front of her. “Have your symptoms lessened a little, at least?” She asked her.

Lienna flinched when a sudden rush of light came at her, but the impact she braced for never came; instead, she felt warm and comfortable, the knot in her stomach easing until it was gone.

“Uh, yeah,” she answered quietly, consciously relaxing her shoulders and straightening up. After a few deep breaths, she cleared her throat, doing her best to hide her embarrassment. “Um, thank you.”

Kaira beamed at Lienna, clasping her hands together. “You’re very welcome!” She replied. “If you’re ever in need, please don’t be afraid to seek me out.”

Lienna simply nodded and moved back toward the edge of the courtyard, still a little shocked over her first experience with white magic. Magic as a whole was still fairly foreign—the one spell she knew was a bit of black magic that resulted from the time her grandmother tried to teach her how to light a fire, only for her to produce the opposite effect—and having it thrust on her without so much as a word of warning was jarring, to say the least. Still, she couldn't deny some relief that the pain in her stomach was gone, finally able to stand a little straighter.

Now that she felt better, though, she had a new problem she hadn’t bothered to predict; without her stomach ache, she had no good excuse not to acquaint herself with her new classmates. Ugh, how didn’t she think of that? Sure, she could pretend and slink off to her room anyway, but given that making connections was the whole reason she wanted to attend the Officers’ Academy in the first place, it wouldn’t do to shy away now.

But where to start? Skulk shamefully back into the classroom with that pompous House Leader after just having rushed out? “Oh yes, sorry, I was sickened by your speech but I’ve since recovered, how do you do?” Yeah, excellent first impression. Lienna could have slapped herself for her own indecision. This was going to be a long year if she couldn’t even pretend to know what she was doing around nobles.

Not far from Lienna, Kellen Fraldarius was working up the will to unstick himself from the comforting embrace of a stone wall. While he had been standing there, he could hear Auberon and another student speaking, and while he knew better than to eavesdrop, he was sure he had heard the other student say that they were in the same unit. If Kellen remembered correctly, there was one other member from their house who would form part of the cross-nation unit. And some little piece of him was convinced that the pale girl who had just been treated by the school’s nurse was the Lienna Orhneaht whose name was scrawled on the board. Best of all, based on her name—and the brusque way she had earlier exited the classroom—it appeared as though she was a commoner! The thought that at least one student in his house didn’t recognize or care about his name made him breathe a sigh of relief, and that sigh proved to be enough to take a step away from the wall. Her earlier decisiveness in exiting the class appeared to have dissipated. Pushing up his sleeves, he walked over to her.

“Sorry, are you Lienna? I realized when I introduced myself that you had already departed, and I think we’ll be working together quite a bit. If you’re Lienna, of course. If you’re not, please pretend this never happened.” Kellen paused for half a second, looking away. Then, his back straightened. “I’m Kellen, either way.” He nodded, more to himself than to her.

Lienna whipped around a bit too fast at the sound of a voice, hearing her name having torn her a little suddenly out of her frustrated reverie. Luckily, the figure behind her wasn’t the prim, proper, and doubtless unimpressed noble classmate she expected, but someone decidedly less… put together. It was a short boy—well, still taller than her, but that wasn’t much of an accomplishment—with dark hair and an ill-fitting uniform, looking about as uncomfortable as she was. She wasn’t sure how he guessed her name—was she really that obvious when she shot out of the room?—but didn’t dwell on it, making haste to uncross her arms and look at least a little approachable.

“I am Lienna, in fact. Pleased to meet you,” she gave him that much, eyeing him up and down. Kellen, Kellen… she knew she’d seen that name briefly on the board, but his surname escaped her just as quickly. Given the state of his uniform, she doubted he was a noble… maybe he was that B-name she’d glossed over? Ballad or something?

Either way, she would admit it was a bit of a relief not to have to worry about botching her noble pleasantries with the first person she met—even if she did have to think about learning the noble ropes sooner rather than later if she wanted any hope of forging connections worth a damn. If nothing else, Kellen would be a good start; he seemed harmless enough.

“I am sorry for leaving so quickly. I’m not used to traveling, so I was feeling a little… weary,” she decided to try her hand at small talk, not noticing until she began that she hadn’t done much of any kind of talking in… oh, she could barely remember how long. Probably since Oma got sick. Really, it was a wonder her voice wasn’t hoarse and rusty. “I came all the way from the northern edge of Gautier territory, after all. Yourself?”

“Oh thank the Goddess.” A bit of colour came back to Kellen’s face as his gambit paid off. His left hand curled into a ball absent-mindedly as she introduced herself. After several months on the campaign, the mere use of phrases like “pleased to meet you” felt foreign. “It’s quite the journey if you’re not used to it. Even if you are, it’s taxing.” He recalled the trip to Garreg Mach with Anton. A hint of a frown played across his features, but it disappeared quickly at mention of Gautier territory.
“North end of Gautier territory? It gets awfully cold up there.” He glanced at his attire, rolling his shoulders back to readjust the loose jacket. “Uniforms like these wouldn’t do us much good up there. Not that they’re doing much good now, either.”

The girl’s question of his home made him realize that, perhaps subconsciously, he had failed to offer his last name. Now secure in his knowledge that the girl was indeed a commoner, he felt comfortable sharing it. “I’m from the Duchy of Fraldarius. And, erm. I’m also named after said Duchy. Well, named after my father, whose father’s father’s father’s—” The repeated instances grew quieter until he stopped himself. “Well, anyway. I’m one of the Duke’s sons. I’m the youngest though, and my sister seems to have everything sorted so the lineage hardly matters.”

The stone that Kaira had so extravagantly teased out of Lienna’s stomach moments before came crashing back with a vengeance at the name Fraldarius. This kid was a Fraldarius? Lienna raised an eyebrow at him, wondering if he was trying to pull something on her. No, no way this kid in a too-large uniform tripping over his own words was a Fraldarius. Younger sibling or not, Lienna found it hard to picture any noble carrying on so… so… ugh, the word escaped her, but Kellen definitely wasn’t acting like a noble. Not that she’d met any—aside from Count Francis for about forty-five minutes—but surely the family lauded as “The King’s Shield” carried themselves with their noses a bit higher in the air than Kellen did.

But fine, if he wanted to be that way, Lienna could fire back. “Oh, of course. I didn’t realize a Fraldarius was attending this year,” she replied, an air of haughty indifference in her voice. It was how she’d always imagined nobles talking—and the Galatea preaching to the Blue Lions class had so far proven her right—so if she was going to marry into nobility, she might as well start acting like it. “What a coincidence. I’m Lienna Orhneaht, betrothed to Count Francis Gautier. He sponsored me to attend the Officers’ Academy this year.”

Lienna had no idea whether the wife of a Count outranked the child of a Duke, but she wasn’t about to show it. “The Gautiers intermarry with the Fraldarius’ sometimes, right? Are you by any chance related?”

Kellen reeled at the sudden change in tenor of the conversation. It was a horrible sensation to see in real-time how the mention of his name could flip things, but he chose to push it aside in favour of the far less distressing matter. “You’re engaged to Uncle Francis!? But he’s…” Old. Kellen wanted to say old, but in a rare instance of good judgement, his brain had stopped him before he did so. It wasn’t as if Kellen wasn’t aware of precedents, or that Francis was in bad shape. But it was rare indeed to see a young woman who had entered into such a situation continue with her independent endeavours, let alone attending the Officer’s Academy.

Kellen titled his head slightly, realizing the scope of the minefield he was stepping into. “I haven’t seen him in quite some time. Is he well?” Kellen mentally patted himself on the back for the seamless pivot. “My mother was a Gautier, originally. Grandpa had a… reputation, so Mother has plenty of siblings—I used to have a book—but luckily Francis is one of the ones I remember!” But how much did he remember? Kellen tried to rack his brains for memories with the man, but found that he could recall precious little. Rhiannon, as she often did, had handled most of the conversations while Kellen and his cousins fought and played around the keep. He was sure, however, that at the time they had last seen each other, he did not have Lienna in tow. “How’d you two meet?”

Ah, crap. This kid really was a Fraldarius, wasn’t he? Lienna couldn’t claim to know the family trees of families Gautier and Fraldarius, but if Kellen was putting on an act, it’d be awfully strange to memorize all the names and none of the noble decorum. For lack of a better option, she’d have to assume he was telling the truth, and that this unkempt, uncomfortable classmate of hers was somehow her future nephew. Ugh, all this complicated noble family business was already starting to give her a headache.

“He seemed fine when I met with him last,” Lienna answered simply, crossing her arms in front of her. Her usual icy demeanour—much more familiar to her than all this friendly first impression nonsense—settled back over her at his next question. How’d they meet? Couldn’t he guess? Counts and commoners weren’t in the habit of cavorting—unless you counted some Gautiers from off-colour stories Oma never wanted her to hear—and if someone like her from a remote place like Hima could hear that Count Francis was Crestless and desperately in need of an heir, then surely his own nephew could have gotten the hint.

“Well, you know how people talk,” she shrugged, deciding to indulge him. She had nothing to hide; she wasn’t ashamed of her arrangement. “I bear the Minor Crest of Gautier, and Count Francis needs an heir. An engagement was an elegant solution to both our problems.”

Apparently the news that Kellen was, in fact, related to Lienna’s betrothed was less welcome than he had expected. In the span of two minutes, the pleasantries had disappeared and Kellen was left facing a wall of cold. Of course, he wasn’t sure how he felt about the fact that a relative-to-be would be observing him during this year. It seemed she also bore some concerns, though Kellen had difficulty pinpointing exactly what they were.

Still, he pressed on. “Oh! Of course, I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m glad he’s alright.” The mention of a Crest lined things up quickly for Kellen. Here was yet another person whose Crest had set their life in a new direction, though Kellen supposed for Lienna it was a marked improvement. However, he did not want to engage on the subject and deflect the questions that might follow. “Then that’s how you’re here. Hopefully by your choice?” Of course it was by her choice. The sort of money it cost to attend the academy was not a paltry sum, and it was unlikely Francis had volunteered to send her off before they were married.

“Yes, of course,” Lienna replied, maybe a little more sharply than was necessary. Maybe the new clothes changed her a bit, but she was pretty sure she didn’t look like some shrinking violet here against her will. She better not, anyway; though standing around aimlessly probably hadn’t helped. But she would concede that her arrangement was probably an uncommon one, so maybe Kellen was right to be surprised. She perched a hand on her hip, trying to think of a good way to describe it. “I suppose you could say my Crest was my dowry, and my attendance here is… change.”

That probably wasn’t right, but she wouldn’t dwell on it. “In any case, I suppose it’s lucky we’re both here. Future family and all that,” she added quickly. Even she had to admit that getting to know one of her future nephews was probably wise; it’d be good to have some solid foundations in the family should she ever need a favour. Besides, Kellen seemed harmless enough, he probably didn’t deserve the attitude she’d been giving him. And if she wanted his help—someone had to teach her the names of her future relatives if she didn’t want to make a fool of herself—then it was probably prudent to get on his good side.

Mustering up a bashful smile, she shook her head. “I’m sorry, it’s just all rather overwhelming,” she admitted, mostly truthful. “It is good to meet you, and I look forward to sharing a class with you. This is all very new to me, and it seems I’ll need all the help I can get.”

The metaphor of a dowry seemed fitting to Kellen. He wondered what sort of perks his Crest might be worth, though he supposed his status offered him plenty on its own. Lucky was a word for the situation, though Kellen felt a sense of anxiety that this woman now had a reason to keep an eye on him. He hadn’t spent any lengthy amount of time with family beyond his uncle for the past year, and the prospect of having to speak for his relatives was alarming. Nor was he particularly excited at the prospect of a new member of the family trying to find further inroads to his immediate family through him.

Those concerns paled in comparison to the greater issue—his Crest. His father had made him swear that he would tell no one of the Crest, and while the promise hadn’t been mentioned in the letter he had received, he was quite sure it still stood. He had no intention of divulging it, but the way her eyes sized him up left him certain that she would notice if he was behaving oddly. And if she was corresponding with any of the Gautiers, it wouldn’t take long for rumours to spread, be corroborated, and make their way to his father.

Despite these logical concerns, there was a simultaneous sense of relief as Lienna’s walls came down, even slightly. “Future family and all that.” That’s what she had said. He would be lying if he said that the prospect of a year locked up in his room was something he had been looking forward to, or that some part of him wasn’t relieved to see a new member of the family who had yet to form opinions of him in the context of his siblings. “Please don’t apologise.” He waved his hand dismissively. “It’s a long way here, and it wouldn’t be the truth if I said that this first day hasn’t been… a lot.” He looked around the courtyard for a moment, taking a deep breath.

“I know that I’m likely not what you had in mind when you pictured the sorts of people who would be at this school. Or my family. I’m not like my father, and definitely not like our House Leader, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.” He straightened his back, and for half a moment the youngest Fraldarius looked half the part of a lord, staring straight at Lienna. “But I’m still sure I can be helpful, so if you need something, please ask. I might not have a solution, but I’ll help you find one.”

Woah, she gave an inch and this kid really took a mile, didn’t he? Or, he went the extra mile, or whatever that inane expression was—Lienna had never been good at remembering flowery garbage like that. Regardless, she was taken aback by Kellen’s sudden dedication; they’d known each other for approximately five minutes and he was already spilling his guts and pledging his support like a squire from a fairy tale. It was sweet, in a way, but also naive, speaking to something of a sheltered upbringing where the consequences of giving too much had never been fully realized. She supposed that worked out well for her if she needed something from him, but she couldn’t help but hope the poor kid would smarten up sooner rather than later.

Still, she wasn’t one to deny such a tempting offer. “That’s sweet, thank you,” she’d give him that much, offering him a small smile. “I’ll be sure to take you up on that.”

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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Obscene Symphony Baroness von Stress

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Jorah straightened at the touch of the rod - Priscilla - under his chin, a fire igniting in his eyes just as Euphemia’s was extinguished. He barely heard half of what she said, too focused on the way she said it; poised just so with Priscilla in hand, that intoxicating air of superiority in her voice, blonde curls cascading down over tempting curves and perky—

Oh Goddess, Jorah was in love.

This was the point where Delia would roll her eyes and say he was the type who fell in love every night only to recover each morning, but this time it was different. And not like all the other “this” times—this was the real deal! But amidst all his pining, Jorah also happened to miss most of what Euphemia said, tuning back in just in time to hear her ask if he had any questions for her. Of course he did! He'd be a fool to interrupt a siren like Euphemia without something of substance to ask. “Will you marry me?” was the first one that came to mind, followed by “Want some company tonight?” and “How can I further acquaint myself with Priscilla?”, but he supposed it might come off a little desperate to move too fast; best to break the ice first with what he came for.

“Why, yes I do Professor,” he obliged, offering Euphemia a sweeping bow. “I was hoping you could shed some light on my new duties as Golden Deer House Leader. A little extra time spent with you, dare I hope?” He stood up from his bow with a wink, perching a hand on his hip. “I assure you, I am eager to assist in any way I can.”

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Achronum
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Achronum The Pyro

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[@Obsence Symphony]@Kestrel@Hero@Eleven

Clarissa most certainly did not squeak, flail, or in any other way panic when Jorah’s absurd personality instilled the insane idea to pick her up and twirl her. She maintained her composure perfectly, ignoring the irritable flush crawling up her ears when Jorah kissed her forehead like she was some kind of child, and reached out to slap his arm for good measure as he skipped off to bother his next unfortunate victim. Goddess give her patience because if She gives her strength, Clarissa couldn’t guarantee Jorah would see the sunset. She sighed, watched him head over to their Professor, and then turned her attention to where a few of their classmates gathered out front the classrooms. At least Jorah took his job halfway seriously. She expected him to snatch up Raimund and cause trouble.

But of course, of course, she spoke too soon. She’d written him off as out of trouble. The Professor was there after all. She could handle him. But her hand flew to her mouth, her other clutching at the simple silver necklace around her throat, when she heard that tone. She just spoke of impropriety and then he has the utter audacity to… to… Clarissa fumed as she watched her friend. If looks could kill, Jorah would have dropped dead immediately. She knew Jorah brazenly flirted with any woman that caught his eye but their Professor?! Did he have no shame?! Despite his distaste for their politics and his adamantly expressed desire to quit them, the students still represented the Leicester Alliance and he was flirting with their Professor. The gall of this boy!

Of course, she fully intended to march over there and snatch him away by the ear but a thought stopped her. It wouldn’t really be proper for her to deny them the full Jorah experience. After all, they did choose him to be House Leader and they would have to work with him closely for the foreseeable future. She couldn’t shield them all the time, right? That thought cooled Clarissa off quickly and as ugly as the motivation for that sentiment may be, it was true all the same. The sooner the Professor learned to shut Jorah down, the better for everyone involved. Clarissa put the situation out of her mind (wishing she could scrub her memory of it all) and returned her attention to their remaining classmates.

She paused for a moment, considering Gloucester's adopted Almyrian. His presence still sent a shock of worry through her, a walking reminder of the threat if Duke Goneril’s distractions got the better of him, but circumstance forced them together too often for her to hold any of her old animosity towards him. Of course, she preferred him as his younger self; the apologetic, quivering mess he was but he’d grown into a confident giant clearly influenced by his friendship with Jorah. And she’d never admit it but she appreciated that little fact. She doubted they’d both come out unscathed if Raimund was a Gloucester through and through. Nevertheless, he was her classmate for the time being and regardless of their outside affiliations, working together was imperative.

Clarissa hurried over and curtsied when she reached Raimund. “My sincerest apologies for our abrupt abandonment; I hope we did not offend anyone. Jorah’s a demanding responsibility and he rarely considers his surroundings when his whims overwhelm his reason.” Clarissa explained with an apologetic smile. This was only a peak into Jorah’s regular behavior; if they couldn’t handle this, it would be a long year. “I’m glad to see you are doing well, Raimund. Jorah’s determining his future responsibilities but I don’t doubt you’ll command his full attention once he concludes his business. Although it surprised me, the three of us here almost feels like summers in Derdriu again." She'd admit the three of them together again dragged out a bit of nostalgia. The three of them getting into all sorts of mischief (always Jorah's fault no matter what anyone said) and spending hours on horseback in the woods around the capital were pleasant memories for the bad days.
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