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Some Months Later

6:00 AM, November 1st, 1210PW. 16 Degrees Fahrenheit. Overcast, Foggy.
"Welcome to the Institute. Keep your head down, keep your voice down, and keep your conflicts to the arenas, and you'll fit in just fine. Probably. Unless you do something enormously stupid." - The Headmaster

Once again, the Institute was woken up by various bedside alarms, violently vibrating beds, overhead lights switching on, and the like (dependent on what actually worked for any given student), just as it had been ever since the beginning of the new year. Normally, students saw the outdoor spaces nice and empty through their windows, and aside from the alarms and the sounds of their fellow students shifting about and getting ready for their day, the grounds were dead silent. The grounds were dead silent on this day as well, save for the quiet footsteps of one Professor Brovak outdoors, who was seen crossing through the path through the jungle-like dormitory commons to the north for the first time. A car-pulled wagon drove up the road on the east side of the dormitory quad, covered in an utterly enormous amount of crates and canvas sacks, all tied down with some impressive ropework. It wasn't moving any faster than the ancient professor was, as if the driver were trying to be seen by as many students as possible before finally passing the dormitories.

For the past several months, the school had been effectively ramping up to its usual "harder" schedule, and to signify the shift, there was to be some sort of event beyond the track and field. Whatever it was was a well-kept secret by the staff, though past years' events had included feasts, dances, a tournament amongst first year students, celebrations of esoteric and foreign holidays, talent shows, and the like. Whatever was planned though, it was definitely going to be interesting, if not outright dangerous in some way.

The Harvest Festival had gone off without a hitch just two weeks prior, and some of the more grumpy students and staff groaned and complained about the "back-to-back events" this month, despite having visibly had a very good time watching the Parade of Trolls dance their way across the Institute's grounds to scare away the winter cold, getting into fights with one another over petty rumors and romances, and getting absolutely plastered on the strongest harvest ales known to man. These curmudgeonly sorts would no doubt change their tunes once again when the event actually happened, but in the meantime, they would likely maintain their loud complaints for the weeks of preparation.

Perhaps more importantly than the celebrations, though, the academic year's first-quarter tests had recently ended. Nobody had received or would receive the grade they made on the test, and this was how the staff preferred it. In truth, the first-quarter test was just a formality, and all of the papers were given a quick glance for answers so utterly ridiculous that they had to be addressed, prior to being 'accidentally' lost during grading. By the entire school staff. In a bonfire. On their day off.

Today was also a day off for most of the staff, save for those working on the event's preparations. In place of classes, there was to be a field demonstration and a mock battle overseen by the Unoctocan Imperial Battlemage Corps, who were in turn only overseen by Administrator Boorkat Malkin (which was more than a fair arrangement, as it had become common knowledge that the only person at the Institute the Imperial Battlemages feared more than Professor Brovak was Malkin, for reasons unknown - the most ridiculous and popular theory being that they collectively had a shellfish allergy).

The clocks finally chimed in for students to go to and sit in the backs of their respective trucks, where they would be taken to the field. Breakfast would be served on-site in the form of Unoctocan military ration packs consisting of various canned pickled vegetables and canned pureed meats, with small pouches of instant coffee, some water, a disposable mini-stove, crackers, and a packet of gravy. Most of it tasted like cardboard, save for the vegetables, which tasted like brine. For many students, this would be the first time ever seeing the Imperial Battlemages. Two dozen men, women, and chimeras of indeterminate gender were seated at a different set of portable tables some twenty yards away from the students, and an extremely tall, hawkish woman seemed to lord over them. Their common uniform consisted of a blood red greatcoat and a matching garrison cap, with a steel cuirass. Most had taken off their cuirass and were using it as a sort of impromptu chair.

The tall woman was sporting a blood red greatcoat with white epaulettes with golden tassels, a white-gold cuirass beneath the open greatcoat, and a blood red kepi sat atop her short black hair. The front of her coat was covered in a dozen badges and medals of all sorts, and those familiar with the stories of the Empire's great heroes would recognize her as the younger sister of First General Cazel Uoyvvo, Clarissa Uoyvvo, most famous for holding the frontier town of Saraguss against a combined siege by deadlands Monsters and barbarian tribes for four months straight with only twenty soldiers at her disposal, without losing a single soldier or civilian life. Even Monsters and rural farmers had heard her name in passing, and she was known almost as well as her sister, the famed warrior-poet and commander of the Imperial Guard, or even the Kaiser himself, blessed be his name.

Months Prior - The First Classes

The Lessons Since

Eleven weeks have gone by since the opening of the semester.

Magic Theory with Brovak: Standing on the rooftop, exploring Old Mordhaben's post office, smelling everything in the Cafeteria, literally eating dirt and licking dust off of desks, throwing water balloons at the Administrator, discussing the commonalities between these things. The later classes consisted of trips to the Laboratories, where Brovak took a laissez-faire approach. Students were free to do anything they wanted so long as, 1: it was a magical experiment, and 2: it could be cleaned up before the end of the two hour class. There were injuries, and Brovak ignored them in favor of letting his students take eachother to the medical building. When students asked what they were even supposed to be learning, Brovak always simply answered, "Figure it out yourselves. That's what it means to be a Mage."

Vision with Emilya: Emilya was, in most students' eyes, either vastly better or vastly worse as a teacher than Brovak, depending on who was asked. Her style was in direct opposition to his, and she followed after most of the classical schoolhouse teaching styles. Over the past three months, her classes have gone over all of the content of The Complete Guide to Basic Sight and The Mystery of Old Mordhaben. The Muses was next. The class covered basic rules on how Vision worked, and Emilya personally ensured that every single student in her class was capable of at least seeing a blurry image of what was directly behind them. Using The Mystery of Old Mordhaben as a guide, during the most recent weeks, Professor Emilya has consistently led the class on a psychic field trip through the history of the ruins miles away from the Institute. Though the meat of the course was different every day, every lesson began with Professor Vance drilling her students on detection of magical energy and identifying the shape of any given magic, via a solid fifteen minutes of writing numbers on the blackboard using otherwise imperceptible lines of undifferentiated magical energy. Many found it absolutely exhausting.

Compromise with Xander: Professor Thorne's misconduct continued, and so did the after-class beatings by various staff members. A leaked memo got out that Professor Thorne was to be disciplined by any staff member in the vicinity if he were caught engaged in any sort of sexual misconduct with a student. Despite this, Professor Thorne proved why he was still there: He was an exceptional teacher of Compromise. There was very little book learning outside of their homework, which mostly consisted of reading chapters from a compiled book of legends and epic poems about mages long dead. The Dragon and his Feast (in which a nameless young mage was captured by an enormous Monster lizard, and died as he killed the Dragon from within to save his village) was the most recent story in the nameless textbook. While the lessons wandered some, and Professor Thorne seemed distracted from time to time, the one thing he never faltered on was safety. If any student accidentally caused something to happen that wasn't 100% intentional (and somehow, Thorne always knew), punishment was swift, painful, and temporary.

Foundation with Hans: Each class has started with firearms maintenance. Half the class field strips their arms and cleans them while the other half maintains vigilance, and the two halves switch once cleaning is done. Afterwards, the lectures and practical lessons began. Professor Hans was still a relatively classical teacher like his sister Emilya, but he did take some liberties, and there was significantly less book work. Each class, he covered the earliest basics of various scientific subjects, from basic chemistry, to astronomy, to archaeology, to numerology, to psychology, and so on and so forth. The reasoning was that even cursory knowledge in every major field would massively increase survivability against magical effects that work off of the same knowledge. Even though Foundation acted like a brick wall in the face of magic, Hans made it very clear that out of the three branches of magic, Foundation required by far the most education to work to its greatest potential. Specializing in any one field of Foundation for protection was ill advised, because while one could specialize in Compromise and do well, one would only very rarely be able to choose their opponent, and thus needed to be prepared for anything.

Botany with Billy: Groundskeeper Billy continued checking his students' notes on their flowers' growth (or, in the case of one student, its death), always nodding sagely and placing copies of their reports in an ever thickening, ancient binder. The classes continued to be outdoors, near his gardening shed and his home between the Arts and Social buildings, and when it rained or snowed, Billy insisted that his class sit through it so they might better understand their plants. As it turned out, their books were weatherproof, but their clothes were not. But despite the weather and the cold and the wet, the lessons continued nicely, and students learned about dozens of the most common xenoplants, as well as the most useful and common wilderness plants. The Botanical Sciences class was less about gardening and more about merely surviving the wilderness, with a hint of chemistry and alchemy lessons on the side. In all, Billy's classes were the most useful to students because they focused strongly on plants that would cause problems for civilian families. Most of the students at one point or another had remembered something in their home towns that Billy had mentioned, and had sent letters home describing the plants that needed to be destroyed.

Poli-sci and Economics with Gnome: Professor Chompi proved time and time again that he was both a long-winded financial advisor, and almost completely unhinged. But he knew what he was talking about, and after the incredibly boring first three lessons (and their accompanying, extremely unpleasant homework regarding mathematical formulae used in the Unoctocan financial world), he eventually started playing 'games' with his class. Virtual trade wars and haggling lessons, so to speak. In Airelosia, Mordbauvin, Hasval, Swazivan, Unoctocus, Northern Flynenhael, Central Flynenhael, and Southern Flynenhael (or rather, in all regions they were likely to visit at any point), small town merchants all had their own unique bartering cultures, and Professor Chompi exposed his students to how any given shopkeeper would do things. In the Unoctocan Empire, haggling was kept to a minimum, and performed very quickly, on one's feet, as both the buyer and seller had better things to do. In Airelosia, haggling was harsh, aggressive, and involved more than a few threats, but typically resulted in both parties leaving more satisfied than they would have under the Unoctocan system. And in Flynenhael, haggling was expected, and often took place over a cup of tea and snacks, coupled with long-winded storytelling and desperately trying to get the upper hand by making one's opponent like one more than the opposite. The students typically preferred the Unoctocan method, because it was simple and it was the closest to simply handing over money. But many greatly enjoyed the Flynenhaeli method, and a small handful loved the Airelosian method. Chompi's classes, overall, were focused heavily on ensuring that students understood the Unoctocan political system (bills to laws, elections, passing of the throne, etc.), and on ensuring that students were satisfied with every decision they ever made, be it political, social, or financial.

@Avant @Etranger @Rekaigan @HokumPocus @Taytay @Jay Kalton @Kaesus @ghastlyInc @Illiren @MULTI_MEDIA_MAN @liferusher
Roll call! New post is going up tonight, we're skipping forward a few months. Flitter had a storyline planned, but we're dropping it for now. Sorry this took so stupidly long, had real world shit come up.

@Avant @Etranger @Rekaigan @HokumPocus @Taytay @Jay Kalton @Kaesus @ghastlyInc @Illiren @MULTI_MEDIA_MAN @liferusher

I'm no longer in the RP. No need to @mention me in every Survival post.
Gonna keep an eye on this. Seems interesting but I'd like to see more of a player ensemble build up before I come up with any concrete character ideas.

Looks good. Accepted, drop Mori in the chartab with Bawen.
Minor edit: added a character I missed to the list. Louis is with Hans Vance, at Door Four.
The Magic Exam

12:00 PM, August 7th, 1210PW. 58 Degrees Fahrenheit. Sunlight leaking through heavy cloud cover.
Presenting, the Valkenhaut C1! Why's its nose so short? It's simple: We moved the engine to the back to free up space for the rest of the car. Feel the freedom of parking your C1 in spaces too small for your A19, or any of our competitors' products! We streamlined the C1's shape too, so your fuel efficiency will be THROUGH THE ROOF! Go to your local Valkenhaut outlet now, and support the Empire with your purchase! MSRP 400U, one year warranty guaranteed upon purchase. - Valkenhaut Advertisement on all Imperial newspapers and radio channels, Summer 1210.

Lunch passed uneventfully, at least compared to the previous day's breakfast. Many of the staff members in the lunchroom were visibly relieved - dealing with cafeteria squabbles in the middle of placement exams would've thrown off their entire rhythm and left the students unfocused. And focus was absolutely necessary for the next steps.

A short, swarthy man with a dirty blonde buzz cut and an Institute logo emblazoned upon his uniform stepped into the room from the front entrance and approached the staff tables in the Unoctocan quarter, where he whispered something to Administrator Malkin. The gigantic lobster nodded to him, then nodded to Professor Volkova, opting not to speak through his mouthful of rice and fish. Volkova had the announcement papers anyway, and she quickly shoveled her salad down her throat, staring at a clock on the wall. The instant the second hand struck 11:59:30, she picked up her megaphone, stood up, and made her way to the entrance. At precisely 12:00:00, she reached the front of the cafeteria and made her announcement.

"All new students, please make your way to the street outside the cafeteria. The Magic exams are starting now."

The crowd gathered in front of Laboratory Building 2, and Professor Brovak opened the door on the western side of the building leading into a long, tall hallway with blast doors along the left side of the hallway. Each blast door had a number on it and a clipboard hanging on a nail with a list of timeslots. The clipboards showed that every one of the laboratories had had space reserved for the exams. At the middle of the entrance hall, Brovak stopped and turned around to speak to the crowd, text floating above his head as he spoke. Those with innate Vision talent would notice that he had nothing to do with the text - rather, it was conjured by Administrator Malkin.

"The Magic test will be twofold. You will first demonstrate your current magic skill to your assigned professor in the main rooms of each laboratory. Afterwards, you will be directed into the testing chambers deeper within, where you will use your magic along with any other skills you may possess in combat. You will be evaluated for the potency of your magic, your potential for learning magic, and your creativity in using your magic. Professors, take your students, please."

The shuffled shuffled about some and went to their respective laboratory doors, and Volkova raised her megaphone, along with a list of students and their assigned rooms and professors for testing. There were still roughly three dozen new students taking the tests, and it took a short time for her to make her way through the list. Floating text appeared above her head as she spoke, and students wandered over to their doors as they were called out. She went in alphabetical order, or at least as close to it as possible with the cultural name variations.

Once the sorting was complete, each professor introduced theirself to their six assigned students, then unlocked their respective laboratories' blast doors and stepped inside. The rooms were sparse, with no equipment or furniture of any sort save for a table on the right side of the room from the entrance, a second, heavier blast door directly across from the room's entrance, and a noisily shaking cube covered in a black sheet in the far corner on the left. Along the lefthand wall, to the left of the covered cube, were a series of Unoctocan military species-universal Gaaspazeten-G2 gas masks - heavy hoods of rubber infused black cloth that draped over the wearer's head, with a pair of huge 'windows' acting as eyeports. A hose hung down from a space roughly four inches below the space between the eyeports, with a ring of slightly more rigid material covered in clamps at the bottom and three securing straps at different positions along the 'neck' area for adjusting the hood to the head. A grey canister with a pair of clothing clips mounted to its side hung at the bottom of the foot-long hose. The canisters were labeled with the volume of air they could safely filter corresponding to roughly 1200 breaths for an average size human, or roughly an hour under minor exertion.

The aluminum tables in each room were populated with a stack of blocks of different colors, sheens, and compositions, along with many bottles of differently colored gases. The blocks and bottles were each labeled with their respective element, and those versed in chemistry would recognize every element from hydrogen to xenon in sequence. The other known elements were too rare and expensive to bother stocking each laboratory with each, though a number of "common" non-elemental materials were also present, like wood, water, and the like. On the bottom shelf of each table were a series of clearly magical artifacts of different types - one stone tablet reeking of foul energy, one gearbox that continued spinning without a visible power source, a bowl of slime that squished around in circles as though it were alive, a book with very little obvious trace of magic, a salad fork with no obvious oddities, and a pen sitting in an inkwell atop a piece of paper. The professors each gave their students roughly the same speech (with some variations), to the tune of:

"Step forward one by one and demonstrate what magic you already know. Even if you do not know how to harness your magic, we will assess your magical potential based on the energy your minds put out. Don't bother trying to impress me: save your strength for what lies beyond the other door. You are free to use any of the materials on the table in case your talents require other objects."

Once the students had shown off their magic (or lack thereof) and the professors had jotted down their performance in their clipboards, the professors spoke again, this time saying something to the tune of:

"Alright. Now that that's done, on to the combat test. Inside that room, you will have to defeat one of the most dangerous breeds of Monster in the Deadlands. Does it sound bad? It should. These creatures are responsible for the vast majority of deaths on Deadlands exploration expeditions, and it's important that everyone know roughly what kind of threat wildlife can pose to research teams, frontier towns, nomad tribes, or anything else that regularly encounters them."

With that, the professors ripped the black sheets off of the cages in the corner, revealing a much smaller creature than many students would expect bouncing about the thinly wired cage wildly. It didn't seem very dangerous at first glance, but those who knew anything about the Deadlands knew otherwise. The creature was vaguely insectoid, two feet long and brown-carapaced, with four compound eyes each sitting atop a foot-long eyestalk, a short and round jawless mouth, and six large, segmented legs tipped in tiny, hair-coated feet, the rear pair of which were significantly larger than its four forelimbs. The bodies were not segmented in the same way as normal insects, though, and their 'head' sections seemed to blend into their upper torsos perfectly, which explained the need for eyestalks over fixed mount eyes. Every so often, they would flip open the back of their carapace to reveal a set of buzzing wings as they tried to fly upwards and escape their cage. Outside of the buzzing sound of their wings and the rattling of the cages, the creatures were completely silent, and their eyestalks flailed about wildly, staring directly at each person in the room in turn from behind the wire mesh.

"This Monster is called the Ashhopper. These Monsters live in the dense mushroom jungles of the Deadlands, where they live on a steady diet of slime mold, and an intermittent diet of ash and charcoal after forest fires. They are relatively harmless to us, but they are still the number one killer of explorers and researchers for one reason: They steal and eat the gas mask cartridges that Humans and Chimeras need to survive in the Deadlands. The pure carbon in a filter cartridge is a great enough meal that a small Ashhopper can grow in size several inches and push other, smaller Ashhoppers out of their territory."

With a press of a button, the second sets of blast doors opened to reveal the inner experiment chamber, which had been flooded with exotic plantlife, almost all of which looked particularly dangerous to the touch, either by merit of looking toxic, or by merit of looking extraordinarily sharp. Glasslike tufts of crystalline, blueish-purple transparent "grass" sprouted from clumps of earth surrounding the bases of the trunks of shroom trees of a strange, twisting breed that no students save for those who had been to the Deadlands had ever seen. A few gigantic 'flowers' with bulbous, spongelike, and sickly yellow-green-white 'heads' surrounded by bright red leaves wilting and creeping along the ground 'coughed', spewing a puff of spores upwards into the air inside the room. Overall, the room smelled faintly of almonds, dirt, and decaying plants, with a tiny hint of the smell of rotting flesh emanating from the spongy plants. The room's main lights were off, but the bioluminescent parasitic vines creeping along the trunks of the treelike fungi lit the area in faint shades of pink and purple. Hiding places were everywhere. It looked almost exactly like the few photographs of the Deadlands that had made it back to the Empire, save for it very much not being black and white.

"During the test, you will put on one of the Gaaspazeten-G2 masks on the wall -- I'll check the seal for you -- and you'll enter the test chamber. Your job is to kill any Ashhoppers in the room. If you fail the test, you'll know the instant your throat starts burning and you start to lose consciousness. It's not lethal like it is in the Deadlands, but it's definitely not fun, and the gas used will even effect Monsters to keep things nice and fair. I recommend that you try to win before your filter expires. You there, you're up first. Put your hood on and step inside."

@FlitterFaux@Avant@Etranger@Rekaigan@hagroden@HokumPocus@pkken@Queentze@Jay Kalton@ghastlyInc@liferusher@Illiren@MULTI_MEDIA_MAN

Dorm Assignments

1:00 PM, August 6th, 1210PW. 51 Degrees Fahrenheit. Overcast.
'Terraphage' purpose identified! New laws have recently been passed restricting the formation of new industrial zones near the Deadlands for the safety of Unoctocan citizens. Furthermore, Deadlands expeditions will no longer use fuel operated machinery, lest they prompt Terraphage response. - The Parliamentary Watch

Some time passed. Boorkat Malkin and some of the other staff members kept things running as smoothly as possible while some students stayed in the dorm quad for lunch, and Professor Volkova accompanied those who decided to have lunch at the cafeteria building. Either way, it seemed to them that the students had begun to choose their roommates with some measure of success. After a while, students handed in their papers, while others were given roommate recommendations. And eventually, the staff came to some decisions regarding roommate and dorm room assignments. Not all of the students had finished choosing their roommates, but the staff still took that into consideration with their pairings.

Volkova tapped Magnhilde and Rikka on the shoulders, flashed them a quick smile, and gathered their papers. "Congratulations, you two. You're officially staying together. You will be staying in Room Q1-221. When you're finished eating, the Kio-Farat boys will help you get your dormitory room set up. Just talk to the R.A. - her office is in the southern common room in building Q1, on the west side of the quad," she said, then she turned around to give other students in the cafeteria their room assignments.

Back in the dorm quad common area, it had started raining, though the Groundskeeper's magic was somehow keeping everything from staying wet for any more than a split second and the warmth of the plants kept it from being terribly unpleasant. Boorkat stayed quiet, instead opting to let his granddaughter handle the dormitory assignments. The young third generation lobster chimera quickly dashed about, taking up peoples' papers. Those who hadn't yet signed their papers but seemed to be getting along exceptionally well were put together just as those who had signed their papers were. All others were assigned at random.

Boorkat's granddaughter translated for the humongous lobsterman again, giving the students their assigned rooms and some quick directions to their dormitory buildings. "You're free to speak to the Resident Assistant in your dormitory building to get your key and move your furniture in at any time between now and 18:00. You have a little under five hours to get yourselves situated, after which point you will be provided with only the very barest furnishings until you figure out how to move everything else in yourself. Have fun, don't get yourselves into too much trouble."

Some of the listed roommates were missing.

Later That Day

1:30-6:00 PM, August 6th, 1210PW.

Over the course of the day, various groups of students moved into their dorms. There were quite a lot more than had been in the group at the opening ceremony, and overall the campus seemed much, much more lively than it had been only a few short hours ago. Where there had been only the occasional old scholars shuffling around before, now far more younger people had come out of the woodwork, including the Kio-Farat Fraternity - large, musclebound humans (and one bonobo-esque second generation chimera), who helped assemble furniture brought over by truck from the Warehouse, organized furniture choices, and teleported peoples' belongings and furnishings directly into their rooms.

When students entered their dormitories for the first time, depending on whether they picked up furniture before or afterward, they encountered a sparse room perhaps 8'x10' with a thin blue carpet, off-white walls, a large curtained window with a small balcony, and a tiled area directly to the right of the entrance containing a magically enhanced icebox, a sink, and a gas-heated range, all in rich mahogany. On either side of the room lay two doors, which opened into mirrored opposites of bedrooms, which were much smaller with only barely enough space for a bed, a small desk, and a dresser, though there was also a tiny coat closet on the side towards the dormitory hallways. At the back of each bedroom was also a tiny bathroom with a toilet, a small sink on a pedestal, a mirror-cabinet, and a circular shower pan afixed with a pipe framework holding up the showerhead and curtains. The room looked like it would get very wet very quickly if one weren't careful.

Students were able to bring in their own furniture, or choose from a series of different styles, depending on their needs. Beds ranged from classical human style beds to stone slabs to boxes of sand to small circular cushions. Couches and lounge chairs had similar differences, though many had their back rest elevated above a gap meant for tails. Essentially, every biological need was covered, and within a matter of hours, every room had what it needed, though the rooms lacked any sort of entertainment. If someone wanted a radio, they would've had to have brought it themself. Otherwise, the library and athletics compounds would be their best bets for entertainment - as well as New Mordhaben, the small college town just a couple miles down the road leading southwest through the forest and across the railroad tracks. Finally, special needs students had their dormitories modified (often magically) to meet their needs.

At the end of the move-ins, the loudspeakers and information boards around the school provided the new students with vital information: They would be taking their entrance exams at 7:00 AM the next morning, and would be woken up an hour prior to that.

The missing roommates still hadn't arrived.

The Written Exam

6:00 AM, August 7th, 1210PW. 44 Degrees Fahrenheit. Still dark, slightly windy.

The next morning, after moving in and meeting roommates, students were woken up - loudly - by the school loudspeakers. Rikka's special accommodations involved her bed violently shaking and a notice teleporting onto an info board next to her bed, just like the other students with hearing difficulties had. The school loudspeakers and the written notices honked five times (the written notice quite literally had 'HONK' written across the top repeatedly as the result of a speech-to-text artifact being built into an automatic printer), followed by instructions:

New students are to report to the cafeteria for breakfast and placement examinations in 30 minutes. I repeat, new students are to report to the cafeteria for breakfast and placement examinations in 30 minutes. Other students may disregard this message.

At the cafeteria, staff were lined up and getting trays of food for themselves. Many of them were just as sleepy as several of the new students were, though a handful looked no worse for the wear: primarily the military professors and some of the more 'unnatural' ones. The school apparently had gotten a new shipment of Guavl - a type of stimulant beverage similar to extremely potent coffee, though with a more 'woody' flavor - and a pungent odor. A handful of upperclassmen who had never had it before took a single sip and their pupils visibly dilated, and the woodlike and acrid scent of the drink flooded the cafeteria.

The day's breakfast "special" was a bright red omelette made with Hakakos (a type of enormous flightless bird) eggs, diced whip vines, and stoneflower petals, and it had the taste of very lightly fermented flame-roasted beef, courtesy of the unique enzymes present in the stoneflower. The dish was packed with more protein than some students would have in a week at home, and the chefs in the Unoctocan quarter made sure that everyone knew it. Imported tropical fruits from southern Swazivan were served with the omelette as a side.

After breakfast, Professor Volkova (once again) gathered the new students together - this time making absolutely certain that everyone joined them immediately. "The placement exams are starting shortly. Follow me," she said, and the group made its way to the Social Building. Downstairs, in the basement, there was a large and warmly lit room packed with desks, each of which was pre-prepared with a pencil, a booklet, and an answer sheet. The desks themselves had visual barriers etched with complex runes along the edges of the outside, presumably to block both vision and Vision. Trying to see through them or around them while inside their area effect was futile as the result of a harsh glow that filled one's sight if one looked away. More observant students would notice that the runes etched along the edges of these screens were identical to the runes lining every single dormitory bedroom's door frame, and they would also notice that the screens were attached to wires that dove down into ports in the well-trodden purple-carpeted floor.

"Take a seat, and do not lift your pencils until instructed. You will have thirty minutes per section of the test. Follow directions to the best of your abilities."

When the students had all been seated, and Volkova had led Louis to a separate desk containing a braille booklet and a microphone inside a noise-dampening screen (which she pointed out), she spoke up again: "You may begin."

The written test covered basic reading and writing skills in the first section, followed by mathematics, followed by general science skills, and finally, followed by general magical knowledge (mostly regarding Foundation, Vision, and Compromise). A fifth portion was given five minutes, and was in the form of one question: "Why are you here?"

The Physical Exam

9:10 AM, August 7th, 1210PW. 54 Degrees Fahrenheit. Clear skies, slightly windy.

After the written exam, the group was led to the Field behind the Athletics Compound. They hadn't seen it during the tour, but it wasn't surprising that it would be present. Like the indoor court, the field included a series of adjustable goals of varying shapes and sizes, and was covered in astroturf. A concrete track with lightly banked turns made its way around the field, with some very rudimentary aluminum and concrete stadium stands equipped with adjustable seating for multiple body types standing on the north and south sides of the field.

Two young third-generation Chimeras were waiting for them: an avian Chimera with wings in place of arms and white, blue, and black feathers, and a wolflike Chimera with strawberry blonde hair kept in a long braid. They were professors Fiona Shenfield and Alison Jakar.

The physical exams were fairly simple and fairly short. Students were given a number of tasks to complete in the form of a kilometer run (completed as quickly as possible), a long jump, a test involving pulling a heavily laden wagon, and a flight test for those who were able to take part. The tests were individually rated, and the professors jotted down the results in their notepads. All in all, the tests took another couple hours, and the students made their way to lunch alongside the professors.

Thankfully, the cafeteria wasn't quite as smelly anymore, though they were still serving Guavl. The lunch special was a type of Swazivani sandwich made with Sunloaf cheese and roasted spikeweed, with a slightly toasty and mildly fungal flavor, served with a side of barley-based pasta swimming in a creamy and spicy white sauce. More cultured students would note the presence of ground cricket in the sauce.

The magic exams (first technical, then practical) were coming in fifty minutes, and upperclassmen were bombarding those new students who would listen with stories about how horrifying the magic placement exams were. Not all of the stories were made up.

@HokumPocus@liferusher@Rekaigan@ghastlyInc@Avant@Jay Kalton@Etranger@Illiren@hagroden@pkken
Dropping out of this. My style of characters aren't a very good fit for this kind of constantly over-the-top setting.
@thewizardguy Yo, add Matt to the character tab when you get the chance please.
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