The Royal Guard returned to the barracks stationed between the Noila Academy and the Noila estate without further incident once the meddling Countesses returned to their dorms. Nix ordered the house physically and magically sealed until the sun rose, when the mages could work on finishing the investigation without noble interference. The investigation ran long, continuing until nearly five in the afternoon, and picked up little of interest except a book stashed away in a secret compartment in the snake's cage. There was a side note in the report Nox received that the snake had been mildly aggressive but otherwise nothing of note. The book however was in Ryner's custody as an artifact of the Children and all historical information fell under her jurisdiction.
With eyes hidden behind reflective sunglasses Lucan stretched his arms out after the raid was fully finished. His team had performed flawlessly, as was expected but he himself had felt that the arrest was almost to easy. He hated that feeling, it made him paranoid. His father would no doubt tell him that his paranoia was a good thing, and Lucan decided to just accept that the Steel Mage was simply caught entirely unawares. They were tricky to combat, metal mages. It required special weaponry, tactics, and protection.
He briefly recalled a run in he had with a Rogue Metal Mage. His rapier had been rendered useless and the Vampire was forced into hand to hand. This wasn’t a problem to be fair, but the familiar feeling of his sword always made him feel naked and without hope. It as a true part of himself. The ride back to the barracks was rather uneventful, Lucan simply advising one or two of the Guard on a tactic they could have employed to get the job done better or easier. He was well liked generally, by most of the Guard and while he was young they followed his orders to the letter. A few still resented his age and position but having such a strong title behind his back, along with the results that spoke clearly of his ability, Lucan’s naysayers were few and far between.
Upon reaching the Barracks, Lucan dressed down out of his tactical gear and back into a black and gold dress uniform. He had, had it pressed and ready to go for the next time it was required. But even he, not even two weeks ago felt he’d need it again this soon. He was unsure of whether he was simply -that- good at finding the Rogue mage or that she had just been very careless with her trail. Minfilia, he mused as he thought of her. She had been someone on Lucan’s radar, but it was more her affinity than anything. He counseled himself with the fact that his presence may have made her anxious and careless himself so he could have some credit.
The debrief took place at 7pm, an hour before sundown. Nox stood in full armor at the circular table holding a variety of photographs and documents detailing the results of mundane and magic inspection of each piece. Her axe leaned against the blank wall behind her and her sword, engraved with the name Greta on it's scabbard, hanging from her hip. She stood arms crossed, looking thoroughly unimpressed at the mage stumbling over a report. “Dismissed.”
Nox snapped after she couldn't handle the trembling man anymore. He took his opportunity and was gone in the blink of an eye. She turned back to the table.“Useless. Since I was occupied during the arrest, report.”
Nix demanded as she picked up a picture of the snake. Lucan and Valerie, captains of the guard, and Derryl and Jacob, her head inspectors, stood at attention on the other side of the table.
After finishing dressing, the Knight of the Evening stepped into the command room where Nox was being given a report. Lucan perfectly his his humor at seeing the trembling Mage and stepped up beside of Valerie, adopting a crisp and perfect attention pose. When he was addressed he gave a salute and snapped a step forward, returning to attention and beginning his report on the situation. “Ma’am, initial approach was picture perfect. Lights only so as to not surprise the individual and risk a bolt. I employed a simple containment perimeter around the home and on your order made rapid and overwhelming entry through the front door.”
He paused for a moment to let his superior catch up with the information and then continued on. It wasn’t a long pause, a professional one even. One that most higher-ups appreciated because the knowledge those with boots on the ground or in this case, in the home was essential. “A single yell announced our presence and whom we were and then myself, Jaxon, and Holmes entered as one. The pathetic excuse for a Mage was easily handled and thrown back out towards the transport. I then ordered the standard overview search of the rooms.”
He stepped back, his time with the report finished as he had turned over the scene to the Inspectors while he held security after. He saluted one final time as he entered his original spot beside Valerie and became a gargoyle.
Nox listened to his report, eyes shut, head tilted right, and deathly still. She stayed that way for a few moments after Lucan concluded his report before she opened her eyes and clicked her tongue.“Moving forward, we will establish a perimeter at least one hundred feet outside of the target location when dealing with nobles. The Marivaldi's interference gives us enough cause to strip the nobility of the privilege to information. If the Red Hand agent hadn't been a novice, she would have been a liability.”
Nox added as her own mage, Clara Starag, stood behind her taking notes. “Derryl.”
The mage stepped forward and saluted.“Just after sunrise, my division placed several layers of protective wards within the Marivaldi dormitory's yard and unbarred the front door. We deployed three forensic teams, starting with the study, the formal sitting room, and the kitchen. We found nothing of note in these rooms. As our units continued into the living room and bedrooms and secured them, Jacob and I took the time to listen to the spaces. Nothing of relevance was immediately clear but we transcribed what conversations were clear and forwarded it to headquarters for further evaluation. I labelled it as a priority and to be delivered to you personally.”
He picked up the folder with a picture of the Countess’s room.“We found nothing of relevance in the mage's room either. Nothing suspicious in the walls or floors and the room was used as intended. The Countess's room caught our attention however. As per your orders, our forensics teams added additional warnings and Jacob and I entered first, reading the room immediately. Initially the results we found confused us. Jacob contacted Sargent Raquel, who discovered the readings of the room suggested the presence of the Originals or their Children.” He flipped the folder open and laid it down with an analysis of the room’s aura compared to the aura records for the Originals. “Our records indicated that whatever the source was, it was weaker than these parties so we continued our investigation as per protocol. Nothing of relevance was discovered on site until we took a closer look at the snake. The creature itself was mildly aggressive but irrelevant. Its cage however held a secret compartment with a book written in a language incomprehensible to either Jacob or my magics. Sargent Raquel later confirmed it was the First Tongue and so we sent it to Princess Ryner with a containment team. Between regular consultations with the royal archives and cleansing the Countess’s room, our investigation lasted four hours longer than originally expected. The forensics teams only managed to clear and cleanse the Countess Marivaldi’s belongings; the rogue mage’s belongs are still being catalogued and contained.”
The mage saluted once more and stepped back into position. Princess Nox maintained her position for a few quiet moments and nodded. “Jacob, Derryl. Assist our forensics teams with containment and cleansing and prepare the mage’s belongs for transport. Valerie, take Clara and ready a prisoner shuttle for the mage. We will interrogate her in the Guard's facilities.”
Nox remained still as her orders were followed as she expected, silently and immediately. The room cleared, leaving Lucan and Nox alone. “You will be remaining at the school. This entire situation, a Red Hand agent escaping my sister’s notice and the Sinnenodel upstart providing the identity of the agent just before the Queen’s dinner, is entirely too coincidental. I don’t like it. A power play is brewing between the Houses and Ryner and the Sinnenodel are willing to gamble the Crown’s security on it.”
Nox passed another folder over, this one with a picture of a mage and a name and two schedules, one Lucan’s and the other Damien’s. “Ryner has taken the liberty of reassigning your mage since your last one is under investigation, despite my recommendations. She decided the pressure from a constant guard, since it wasn’t required by the Queen, would inhibit his learning and be detrimental to his health. Your new mage fell ill shortly after accepting the invitation and only recently recovered. You will intercept him, travel the rest of the way with him, and give him a tour of the grounds and a copy of his schedule. You will regroup with the rest of the students by lunch and continue with your day as if nothing happened.” “The events of the morning are confidential. The official story is she attempted scrying magic on behalf of another vampire outside of the school but ultimately failed when campus security discovered the faulty spellcasting. You are staying behind as punishment. During the arrest, you authorized an excessive use of force on the mage and damaged her beyond reasonable containment measures. You will take mandatory weapon handling classes to control your aggressive styles and will engage in non-aggressive, noncompetitive extracurricular activities to learn more respect for mages. This story will start circulating among instructors later this evening and several security campus locations are authorized to sparsely spread the official information among the students.”
Nox paused a moment for Lucan to absorb before continuing. “Your mission during this time is to observe and report. Any suspicious activity, whispers of rebel connections or influences, or activity pointing to a possible conflict between the noble houses that revolves around the school should be compiled and sent directly to me. This information is under my direct supervision so only the Queen or myself may hear or read your reports. Ryner, the nobles, or any of your classmates are to be stalled or apprehended as applicable if they attempt to access this information. Understood?”
Lucan listened intently at the Inspectors moved on with the report. Nox’s words had been locked away for future use. He held back any returning excuses, it wouldn’t do to try and he knew that the Princess was correct. Most of the time a perimeter of 100 was established anyway, Noble or peasant but Lucan had lacked two of his men who got held up on the way to the home. As it was, he had ordered for a quick perimeter and rapid entry regardless. He was the commander, it was on him and he readily took in the advice given by Nox.
When the Inspector mentioned the language of the children being uncovered in a tome he definitely felt his interest pique. They were legendary obviously and the vampire would only guess as to why the rebel had it in her possession. He didn’t have a lot of time to consider it however as Nox continued with her orders and soon enough Lucan found himself alone with the princess. His stance relaxed into a more parade rest in the less formal environment, remaining rapt and attentive however as Nox gave him his new orders. So he -would- be going back to the school.
Lucan sat when it was obvious that Nox didn’t expect a strict attention or honor position and studied the picture that was attached to it. He lifted a singular eyebrow as he took in the piercings and tattoos but nodded at the order. He was at the point of responding when his superior moved forward with her briefing. His brow furrowed only slightly as it was no use trying to deceive her with his political mask. Nox was someone who had known Lucan from near birth and had even trained him when he was a child. She knew him extremely well and despite that, was old enough to see through the masks of the court. “My Princess, I do not meant to dispute your plan but Aaron Starag is attending the school as that Sinnenodel upstarts mage. He knows that losing control is not something I would do, and could alert the slime to your plan of my reconnaissance.”
He knew she would understand he wasn’t just saying this to save his own reputation. He didn’t care what others thought of him, and duty always came before any personal gain, this was a legitimate concern and one he wondered if the Princess considered when she came up with the plan. If so, he was more than willing to go along with it. There was a brief flash of concern that he -had- actually done something wrong however, but the vampire had thrown it into the back of his brain while he talked the plan over. “Steps have been taken.”
Nox responded as she picked up another image of the mage's room. She read for a few moments and slapped it down on the table. “Get ready to return. Whatever belongs you left have remained untouched but take anything from the barracks you think may assist you. You have half an hour before you will leave to intercept your mage's vehicle.”“Yes Princess.”
He salutes and fully trusts his superior. If she says that she has it taken care of then he would do his job. The punishment, even if it was for an undercover thing stung greatly. He wondered if he had actually messed up being so rough with Minfilia. He shook his head, he knew his team appreciated it. Metal Mages were nothing to be trifled with, trained or not and eliminating the threat was the highest priority. Had he wanted to kill her, the throw could have been much stronger. He just sighed and shrugged his shoulders after exiting the room and securing the door.
He wandered into the main barracks room where his team was finishing up their own debriefing and nodded to them all. Every Vampire stood and saluted the Bordeleaux and Lucan felt pride for them fill his form. “You did well, it was a flawless snatch and grab. I made a mistake however, be sure that we secure a one hundred foot perimeter when dealing with Nobles around and try and get to the location without being stopped. Nothing is more important than the destination, not even if you get sidetracked by a Count or Countess. Understood?”
Everyone answered in the affirmative and Lucan continued. “Good, now I’m being assigned to the school once more. This means that, like last time Tristan will be in full command of the squad. Follow his orders as you would mine.”
Luc nodded to another younger vampire that had grown up with Lucan as a family in the Bordeleux’s lands. “You’re all dismissed, I’ll see you when I see you.”
He gave a salute to his men and woman and then turned towards the armory. He would be going back ready for anything this time.
He cracked his neck as he entered the armory and approached the desk where the logistics officer stood going over some sheets. “Qincy, I’ll be taking some hardware with me on my next assignment. I’ll collect the tags and bring them to you.”
Quincy gave a nod and salute to the Officer and then went back to his work. Lucan went first to the ranged weaponry and secured two mini-crossbows, along with a pouch of ammunition. A heavy crossbow was slung across his back, picking up both regular bolts and specialized for the killing machine. Next was the heavy two-handed shock weapons which the vampire ignored, instead heading straight for the daggers. He secured 5 regular daggers of various heights and widths, 10 throwing knives, and another gauche knife which went to secure itself on his belt, behind him. He next went to the specialized weapons and procured a heavy plastic baton should he run into any other metal mages. Once he was sure he was good to go he pulled a suit of heavy ballistic tactical gear and strapped it to his form, along with sun reflective skin protection. With everything collected he let the many tags fall onto Quincy’s desk and just smirked as the logistics officer just sighed and started writing down what was taken.
Now fully armed and ready to go, Lucan strode towards the vehicle that would intercept his new mage and as he climbed into the backseat the mage that would drive him gave him a polite greeting. Lucan responded in kind and leaned back, covering his eyes with his reflective glasses and catching some needed rest.
On the other side of the Academy, a car drove silently through the forest surrounding the institution. The sun disappeared beneath the horizon an hour ago and only the headlights of the car illuminated the world around it. The driver, a mage in the services of the Academy, drove quietly with the music turned low to whatever was playing on the radio. Every now and then his eyes flickered to the rearview mirror, a little exasperated as the fledgling mage in the back jostled his seat unintentionally as he bounced to whatever was playing in his big over the ear headphones.
Damien on the other hand didn’t notice his foot lightly
tapping against the driver’s seat, too engrossed in the music blaring out of his headphones. The restlessness kicked in just before sundown and Damien decided having an impromptu dance performance was the perfect distraction for a long car ride. And if it helped distract him from the growing separation anxiety creeping up on him as he counted the miles, well, who was around to judge him. Except for the statue in the front seat but who cares about a guy who just rolled up the soundproof divider at hello.
Hiding in my headphones
Gonna turn them up so loud
Gonna drown this whole world out
He’d discarded the pink, purple, and blue hoodie on the other seat long ago, leaving himself free to wiggle around in the confines of the back seat, much easier to move in just shorts and a tank top. He pulled out a few pencils and tapped in time with the drums, making sure to tap on the divider just because he could. It reminded him of having to wake up his older brother for a job interview, looping his younger sister into blasting music from both their phones and he air guitared across Mark’s bed and flopping down over the guy. He laughed at the memory, the tightness that had been building in his chest dissipating. He still had his memories and he could always call them when he wanted to see them. It still sucked he was bedridden for his last month with them but at least he got a few extra days. Nights. That was going to be rough to adjust to.
His music suddenly shut off as his phone buzzed away. He fished it out from his pocket and a grin broke out as a younger version of himself stared back, face contorted in an ugly face that damien saved as the boy’s contact photo. Double checking the time, he was a little worried since it was past the eleven year old’s bedtime but then he remembered he wasn’t his parents and didn’t care. He bunched up the hoodie and propped the phone up so his entire torso could be seen in the picture.Charlie!
He signed excitedly as it connected, the name a combination of a C and the sign for silly. What’s good, little man?
Charlie grinned at Damien and suddenly their sister popped into the picture behind the boy as well, saying a quick hi and bye, and then disappeared off camera.The boys shrugged at each other. Girls.
Charlie signed, exasperation clear in his face. Just giving you a heads up, Dad’s on a mini ramage. Apparently, someone nicked his popcorn stash. And when we mean someone we mean…
the following flurry of signs made Damien howl with laughter. Normally pretty chill, their Dad turned sailor level pretty quick over few things. The coveted popcorn stash was one of them and he couldn’t help but think of the box safely stored away in his suitcase. There was no way he was leaving home for the first time without his favorite comfort food. He’s going to have a very long message left for you tomorrow.
Charlie’s fingers shook with amusement and Damien sent him a grin.Thanks for the heads up, little man. Now go to bed before Mom or Papa catch you.
Charlie just rolled his eyes but agreed. Damien sent a quick love you and the call ended. He flicked back to his music and sat back, feeling more relaxed after seeing his little sibling’s face. But just for good measure… He started dancing again, definitely not
purposely tapping against the back of the seat.“Sir, we’ve almost intercepted the other vehicle. Perhaps ten minutes out.”
Lucan stirred as the voice of his driver invaded his sleeping brain. With a nod the vampire sat up, checking his phone and noticing he had an e-mail version of his briefing. He deleted the message and sighed, sometimes hating how easily he could just be ‘awake’. With a small sigh Lucan tapped a few buttons and brought up the number to his brother Jonah, knowing his father was away from the castle he clicked it and after four quick rings his brothers voice could be heard on the other end, sounding groggy. “Lucan? Why are you calling so early, I haven’t even brushed my fangs yet?” Lucan gave a roll of his eyes after removing his sunglasses. ”Where are the other little bats? Still sleeping?”
Jonah nodded and stood from his bed. “Where are you? Are you coming back home?” Lucan gave a shake of his head and frowned slightly. ”No, I still have a mission to complete. I just wanted to say hello since I may be out of contact for a bit. Let the others know I called?”
Jonah nodded and stretched before saying his goodbyes. Luc turned off his phone and sighed heavily, rubbing the back of his head and getting his hair back into a semblance of professionalism.
Not even five minutes later the fast moving jet black car speeds around a corner and puts on flashing blue lights to signal for the oncoming Noila Academy vehicle to pull over. Lucan remained in the back seat, ensuring all of his new weapons were concealed and comfortable. He then brushed off his trench coat before standing and exiting the car, standing patiently beside of the door until the Academy car pulled over.
Damien dropped his air guitar as the blue lights caught his attention outside. His hands flew to his pockets, instinctively checking for anything...questionable. Not that he would but he’d done a bit more than dabble during the Revel andbutthis last one hadn’t ended well for him. That was neither here nor now and he pressed his face against the window as he tried to catch a glimpse of what was going on. The bright lights contrasted harshly with the dark around him, leaving Damien squinting fruitlessly into the dark. He could make out maybe a person?
“Hey dude, what’s goin’ on?” Damien tapped on the partition. And again. And again. Completely ignored. Great. Damien sat back, crossing his arms as he waited to find out exactly what the problem was.
The intercepted vehicle pulled over off the road and took up a position with the back-door stopping right beside of Lucan. The vampire gave a nod of appreciation to the drive and then took an unnecessary breath inwards. Luc gave a thankful wave to his own driver, before stepping closer to the door. ”Safe trip back to the barracks.”
With that he opened the back seat door and smoothed down his trench coat, then sliding into the back seat beside of Damien with one smooth crisp motion.
Lucan stared at the Mage for a few long moments. His eyes didn’t seem to move but Damien would not doubt feel fully and completely scanned. Finally, after some five minutes the car began moving once again and Lucan spoke. His voice was a soft, whispery tenor that while soft contained more authority than the poor human was probably ever used to hearing. ”Remove the nose ring and gauges first before we speak. I will not tell you how to dress on your own time but while you’re with me or speaking to me you will appear as professional as you can. My name is Lucan, and you just happen to be the Mage assigned to me for the Academy.”
He stopped for a moment, removing a handkerchief and wiping off some invisible dust from his sunglasses which were for all intents and purposes, useless. ”From my understanding, this will be your first time experiencing vampiric customs, though your Aunt is actually an instructor at the Academy. Am I correct in this statement?”
He didn’t wait for an answer, continuing on to his next point. ”As I said, your time is your time. I ask that you don’t make a fool out of yourself but other than that you’re free to fail or succeed as you see fit. I will not baby you, but I will respect your opinions. However, this doesn’t mean that I will agree with them and my word is final, there is no other option. I handle feeding two different ways, either from the neck or drawn by needles either by yourself or myself. You may now speak and ask questions if you have any.
His voice ended the same way it began. In fact, it didn’t really move in timbre or pitch the entire time he spoke. After he finished, he tilted his head to the right as if questioning the young man.
Damien thought he knew fear. He thought he'd felt it when he was six and his accidently dropped a whole cup of water on his brother. He thought he'd known fear when his sister broke her leg and he thought she was dying when he found her. He thought he'd known fear when he came back from his first Revel, sneaking back in at three am and absolutely trashed, only to jump out of his skin when all three of his parents flicked on the lights in the living room and stared him down. In his condition, Damien honestly thought they were creepy murderers but that was just the paranoia speaking apparently.
But nothing beats the absolute terror of a vampire
sliding into your car and just starting. Like, what is this dude-thats an appropriate title for someone that's going to open your veins on a consistent basis right? Yeah totally!-doing? Is he already considering the best way to open him up? Damien normally wouldn't turn down someone paying him some attention, especially a good looking guy like this, but the whole silent stalker crap was ruining that real quick.
And then the vampy opened his mouth and he went from scared to pissed in about .5 seconds. Take out his piercing before speaking? Did this vampire even know him? Firstly, Damien had a talent for making things vanish. Keys? Yeeted. Phone? Into the Void. Sense of self worth? He didn’t know her. These things came out now, he may as well just 'em goodbye. Secondly, apparently Damien missed the memo that holes could fit like two pencils in each ear are more professional that plugs. “Well Mr. On His Fucking High Horse, I'd say it's nice to meet ya but it's not. So, I'm just gonna unpack this in your order and all that jazz. Number one, are you a dick normally or is this a special occasion? Number two, news flash: gaping holes in the flesh bag, not professional. I have clear gauges for that cause it freaks everyone else out less. Number three, you really should get to know me a bit before all these proclamations, your Majesty. I specialize specifically in fucking up. I'm practically a full time court jester here.”
As Damien spoke, he counted each point before dropping his index and ring finger to flip Lucan the bird. “And you can respect this opinion cause that's all I got for you. Here I was hoping we could get along but you slide right in like some drunk creep and ruin my hopes and dreams. Livin’ up to the stereotype, nice.”
One minute, two minutes, three minutes and the only thing that happened was silence. Lucan didn’t blink once as he stared at the human. Then he spoke, his voice was similar but a bit lower and quite sinister, though still at that low tenor register. “My name is Lucan Bordeleaux, Captain of the Noila Royal Guard, Heir to the Duke of Anjou, Knight of the Evening. First, if you ever raise that finger to me again I will snap it off and force feed it to you while licking up the blood trail. Second, you make a good point on the gaping holes, so you will remove the gauges and let the skin heal back. Third, these are my orders until I -do- get to know you. Finally, we have two ways of going about this partnership. We can chafe and scrape against each other or there can be mutual respect, and if you have a problem with any of my ‘declarations’ you may always offer a counter argument. A well thought out counter argument at that. But you will never disrespect me with that tone of voice again.”
He got closer, staring -straight- into Damiens eyes. His Trench Coat opens slightly so Damien can see all of the hidden knives and hand crossbow. “Is that perfectly understood?”
Damien flinched at the tone, his hands diving underneath his arms and the barrage of threats forced him flush against the car door. His fingers brushed against the door handle and stilled. Probably locked but better to have an escape plan, even if it probably results in horrifying injuries and possibly death. But how petty would it be to let everyone know that this guy with a half a mile long title met a mage that would rather fling himself out of a running around than be anywhere near him.
The thought did calm him but only barely. He could feel himself trembling, the whole silent staring act unnerving him more than he would like to admit. Who just stares
at someone? Is that something he got off to? Did he just stand around, staring at people silently? Did he look over their beds in the middle of the night until they woke and feed them their fingers when they screamed? His imagination ran with the idea and the concept of sleeping anywhere near this guy made him incredibly uncomfortable. Torture, creepy staring… next the monster would threaten to string him up by his damn toes or something! Like he was going to take this lying down. Probably going to end up dead but he'd go to his damn end screaming and kicking.“Mutual respect? Counter arguments?”
Damien scoffed, his voice trembling still. He forced himself to return the vampire's intense stare even though he was absolutely terrified. He did not think those threats were bluffs. “Listen here vampy, I don't know how this crap rolls in your world but you literally set up for “chafing and scraping”. You slid into my car-a complete rando off the road like some fucking axe murderer or kidnapper or rapist-and stared at me for the next damn eternity, open those piss poor fangs, and judge the shit out of me! Then, you get pissy when I get angry? What is wrong with you? You’re screwing me every way but physically, for now, and you have the gall to say I'm the problem?! What kind of backwards bull crap is that?”
Damien laughed bitterly at Lucan, tightening his grip on the door handle.“You want respect, Mr. Seven Mile title? How about you try leading by example first and then I'll talk.”
Damien snapped. “I came into this shitty situation hoping to make friends with the blood sucker determined to bleed me dry but I can be your worst damn nightmare if I have to.”
Lucan leaned back and nodded once. When he speaks again his voice is back to a normal level tone, the fast swapping seemingly random. “Well, that’s at least one thing I don’t have to worry about. You have a backbone, and you’re not afraid to give your opinions. This is a good trait to have Damien, in the right scenarios. As my Mage you will be privy to my trust, and as such information not even vampires are allowed to know. I had to make sure you could be trusted to stand up for yourself. I can help you learn the opposite as well, how to appear humble and feeble. My apologies for the intimidation, even if it doesn’t seem to have affected you all to much. Now, as you said it wasn’t very mutual of me to make demands but I was serious in that any of my requests may be debated upon by yourself. Despite my initial impression I will not force anything. You’re new to this and I don’t expect perfection, I simply expect your utmost dedication to trying.”
He let his sentence end and relaxes into the chair, pressing a button on hi watch. “You may enter the Academy ground proper when ready. I have finished my initial evaluation.”
The car takes a quick right turn and Lucan sighs a bit. “Now, I do hope you can accept my apology for my earlier actions as you seem to be a good choice as my Mage, and I’d hate to have to find another.”
His actions seemed genuine as well, his entire posture changed from intimidating pure blooded vampire to a nonchalant and relaxed one.“Now, don’t get me wrong. I do tend to better when you discuss your complaints as well, and I will promise not to get annoyed, it doesn’t happen very often so this promise I’m sure I can keep. If I do something or order something that annoys you let me know as I’m also new at having a Mage not used to the strict life of the military.”
Damien gaped at the vampire as he spoke, no longer the Incarnation of Terror
but speaking like a reasonable person and offering an apology. His first reaction: Tell the damn monster where he could shove his apology after all that. Licking the blood trail while forcing feeding fingers level of threats needed way more than just a plain jane apology. A rare moment of introspection however brought him to the conclusion his standard “Foot in Mouth” method would likely only make things worse. Damien took a deep breath and relaxed a little, still keeping his hands tucked away. Vampires were terrifying beings and after some whiplash, Damien wasn’t risking his middle fingers. Still probably going to flick him off. Definitely going to. Behind his back though.“Yeah, okay. I guess we’ll be cool and everything. Say it was some friendly banter or something else less nightmary. Cool, cool, cool.”
Damien spoke hesitantly, recovering from the whiplash of this conversation. He didn’t really appreciate his chain being yanked like this but he also just wanted that
not to happen again. First real meeting with a vampire: Not Awesome. “So, uh, real talk then. If that was all just... whatever you call it, what exactly is the plan and all that jazz? Everyone’s heard about the grovelling and boot licking and the “Yes sir, right away sir” but uh, gotta say I’m…”
He untucked his hands to gesture at all of himself. “I think we both know I can’t do that but that really long list of names tacked on after yours sounds like crap news for me.”
Lucan peers over at him as the Mage speaks, looking even slightly amused? No, it was gone in a flash. He lets the boy finish and then gives a shrug. “As I said your mistakes will be your own however in special situations. Such as meetings with my superiors, nobles, and the the like I would suggest complete obedience. As if you disrespect them, not even my name will save you from death. That’s how highly they take respect, and that’s the world you’ve been thrown into. I will train you, you won’t like it, and you will no doubt want to kill me when it’s done. But, I’ll at least turn you into something worthwhile in the political scene.”
He stops and listens, having heard the car engine getting softer. “Hold that thought. We’ve arrived.”
The car stops then and Lucan waits for his door to open by the driver, stepping out into the night. His sunglasses tuck into his front pocket and he nods to the guards stationed at the gate. He doesn’t approach however, moving to stand next to Damien’s door to wait. An Academy steward comes out of the gates pushing a small trolley, no doubt to help carry the luggage.
Worthwhile? Training? Damien did not like the sound of that. Why couldn't they do the whole “leave the sulky child at home” thing? Then he wouldn't need training, wouldn't have the chance to mess up, and wouldn't be incredibly terrified in front of other vampires. Really, it seemed like the easiest route but the terror turned gentleman outside probably wouldn't take to it but he had to try. Anything if it would get him out of dealing with more of this. He grabbed his hoodie before he forgot it.“We could always just not involve m-”
Damien cut himself off as he stepped out of the car and looked around, almost immediately latching onto Lucan. The entrance to this place looked like it cost more than the net worth of his family and Damien felt immediately out of place. Damien dropped his voice to a whisper “You sure this is the place? I feel like if I even breathe, someone is going to arrest me. Just for being too poor for this shit. There's gotta be a big Do Not Trespass sign here somewhere. I thought you just said you didn't want to lose me.”
The attendant took the trolley to the back of the car and opened the trunk. He began placing the various luggage that Damien brought with him while Lucan just peered at the Mage. “This is in fact the place. No one will touch you so long as I’m around, but you will need to stay close. Do not make eye contact with anyone without them speaking to you first, do not try and make jokes, act funny, or act like your true self until we’re safely in the dorm. I will escort you around campus and show you where everything is. Also, I’m not saying all of this to be a jackass. Believe it or not, I think you have promise. And I wasn’t lying, I don’t want to lose you. Not after I went through all of that time and energy to make sure you were worthy.”
He inclines his head after and then turns towards the gates where the guards stood. “Procure a cart for myself and my Mage.”
The guards nodded and instantly activated their radio. The attendant pushed the trolley up beside Damien and when the Mage looks, he would find all of his belongings neatly stacked and ready to go.
Okay, Damien had been partially joking but Lucan did little to reassure him. Don't make eye contact? Don't joke? Don't be himself
? Did even the mages here threaten to ripped fingers off when you stood up for yourself? Damien was going to start losing fingers real fast if that was the case. Damien looked up at the slightly taller vampire skeptically.“Bro, in the…”
Damien checked his phantom watch, “however long it’s been since you nearly made me jump out of a moving car, what in the Queen’s name makes you think I am capable of anything you asked right now? Cut me some slack here dude. Jokes, I’ll dial it down. Acting out, eh I'll try. But eye contact? Now there’s a damn joke. I’m lookin’ around, people or not.”
He pulled out his phone and started snapping pictures of the grounds, adding them to a family share file on his phone. He wanted everyone to see this back home but he was very careful not to catch the guards in the photos. Authority figures were always iffy about unapproved photos. He hummed happily as the cart was pulled around and he hopped onto the cart quickly, grinning at Lucan.“And anyways, the kick ass Knight of the Evening is behind me with the terror eyes and finger ripping.”
His face screwed up briefly in confusion but brightened again quickly. “Not sure what that evening thing means but sure sounds awesome!” “I don’t think you’re capable of it either at the moment, which is why I’m keeping you close for the time being. I’m not going to just throw you out into the world.”
He began to point out the various buildings and sights, speeding just a bit as he was quite tired from the night’s activities. He was doing a stand up job of hiding it, but it was going on 48 hours of no rest and his reserves were rapidly depleting. “The title is one of ceremony, generally only known in the more political circles. It means that I’m meant to become the next Sword of the Night, one of the best duelists in the world and the best swordsman of House Bordeleaux. Complete with its own specially crafted Rapier from a meteorite. The current Sword of the Night is my father, the Duke of Anjou and head of House Bordeleaux.”
He stops his tour at their dorm, having gotten the new number from the front office on the phone earlier. “This is our dorm, take your time to unpack and unload. I will leave my phone number on the table and ensure all of my own belongings have arrived.”
The Academy blew Damien’s mind. Is this what being loaded meant because Damien could totally get used to this. He’d just have to trade it for opening up his veins and giving out some blood sometimes… maybe. He wasn’t really sure how this whole feeding thing worked. Was it every day? Once a week? That was another thing he’d have to forget to ask about. Especially since it seemed a pretty important part of his daily life. They’d get there, they’d get there. “Ten four!”
Damien saluted sloppily with a grin. “That’s what people say right? I don’t know, I tried. I get points for that right? I totally get points for that.”
He muttered to himself as he walked up to the dorm and then started recording. Gotta show the fam after all!