Status

Recent Statuses

8 mos ago
Current If it doesn't hurt it's not spicy enough.
2 likes
1 yr ago
Chopsticks?
1 yr ago
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
1 yr ago
Lol, site says I have no friends- wait a minute... I have no friends? Sad now.
1 like
1 yr ago
Hair.
1 like

Bio

The years behind me grow and become brighter whilst the years ahead shrink and become dimmer, providing me an excellent opportunity to use the word 'whilst'. Now I'm tired and can't think of anything else funny to say. Let's see, classy info dump should do. I am FlitterFaux this time around, I tend to get horribly busy (still am) and leave the guild sometimes for years at a time but I just can't stay away forever. I'm not awesome enough for advanced but fast paced one lining does not work for me either so casual is juuusst right. I'm a lady, possibly past 29 but don't ask which 29th birthday I'm at, I like rainbows which is good because they're hard to escape in Hawaii, I like fantasy and sci fi with liberal sprinklings of horror and drama, and I'm tired again. I'll finish the rest later. Edit: Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the phone. I can start a private conversation... with myself!? Epic. Truly epic.

Most Recent Posts



The winged, and now bleeding, girl froze in place as the boys next words reached her ears and a single thought repeated in her mind: He... saw. He saw my wings. He saw them, he saw them, he saw them, he saw them, he saw them, HE SAW THEM!! Stupid, stupid, stupid, you're so stupid Kryss! What am I going to do?! I have to.. something. Did anyone else see? If it's just him I-

In a full blown panic she saw the boy hold out bandages to her and she lunged forward, eyes wild. The dim light reflected off her red eyes as she clapped a hand over what she did not realize was a masks mouth. The sudden movements made her new wound hurt worse and she squeezed her eyes shut momentarily, trying unsuccessfully to bite back a cry of pain. As fast as she could she thought of a plausible lie, counting on her dress and coat to conceal the hot blood she could feel flowing freely. She spoke quickly and locked eyes with the boy, praying he would just believe her and let it go.

"Wi-wings? You're con-confused or.. must have seen wrong. I'm just a girl, and this is just a scratch, I'll be fine! I promise, okay?


Kryss was focused intently on the cave entrance and settling her feathers under her coat and dress to distract herself from the now very one-sided fight. It was dim beyond the entrance but she didn't have trouble seeing inside, and there didn't seem to be anyone just inside. I hope that it's not too deep, please let us find her around that bend. She must be alive and inside, right? And if she could get herself in there to hide maybe she's not too badly-

A sudden cold feeling near the joint of one of her wings distracted her from her thoughts and she glanced down, curious. She was surprised to see one of the boys was standing right in front of her, reaching out to her. Or was he holding something out to her? Is that a stick, or some kind of artifact? Why would he- The cold spot suddenly felt hot and wet, and was starting to sting. At that moment she realized the thing in his hand was a knife. She hadn't been able to tell at first with the blade having pierced her coat, dress, and left wing which had been in front of her hip at the time.

He.. stabbed me?!

Kryss was no stranger to scrapes and bruises but she had miraculously avoided any serious injuries despite where she had come from. The worst pain she had felt was the effect of the curse when she tried to leave the island. It had taken time to register in her mind but the pain of her wing being impaled was starting to blossom like a freshly lit fire. Confused and starting to panic Kryss foolishly shoved the boy away and stumbled backward a few steps. On its way out the knife sliced through more of her delicate wings flesh and she cried out, covering the wound with her hands.

"What are you doing?! W-why...?


As events below unfolded Kryss hesitated. What she had first thought might be a more dangerous creature turned out to be only a Hammerbeak; not to be taken lightly but hardly comparable to an aggressive predator. Also with Rags and the largest boy attacking it at once she was more likely to hit one of them now, and she doubted the poor bird would last much longer the way things were going. If she had seen correctly the boy had broken its wing.

As good as a death sentence.

Unconsciously her own wing twitched in sympathy as she put the rock back where she found it and looked for a quick way down. Rags had said she would wait for her but that might delay the search and rescue. Or search and recovery though Kryss could not see a corpse and she doubted the girl could have missed hitting the ground below. She didn't think wasting that time climbing down was a good idea but if the others saw her wings her life in Orth would be over.

Wait, they're all distracted by the fighting. If I'm quick enough maybe I can do it and no one will even notice!

Kryss hesitated a heartbeat, convinced someone would choose that moment to look up. Another heartbeat. All eyes remained on the fight. Go, just go! She stepped forward and dropped over the edge. Her heart rate and adrenaline spiked as she let herself freefall for a few short seconds. The fierce wind from such a fall was exhilarating and her wings knew just what to do and when to do it. Just like climbing a few minutes before it felt as if she had never stopped using her wings. They spread out and caught the air, cutting the speed of her fall not far from the ground. Her feet hit first with a solid thud. She had miscalculated slightly and landed harder than expected but she stopped the worst of the impact dropping to all fours.

Giddy from the experience Kryss had to repress a burst of laughter which definitely wasn't appropriate for the situation. She rose to her feet silently instead and made sure her wings were tucked safely back under her dress before anyone decided to turn and look her way. She scanned her new surroundings, avoiding looking at the hammerbeak. Even with all the scattered brush she couldn't see a girl's body, but she did see a nearby cave and she dared to hope this night could have a happy ending.


It wasn't easy to miss the sight of blood and the perfect hole nearby when she and Rags reached flat ground again. Kryss was a little stunned. A hole like that was not natural and it certainly wasn't what she expected to find down here. But she did feel relieved in a way that they had not encountered a mangled corpse. Instead if she was reading the scene correctly it looked like the girl had briefly clawed at the edge of the hole.

Alive.

Kryss joined Rags near the edge on the ground where the other was sniffing scents that were probably beyond Kryss. She inched forward intending to ask what Rags smelled exactly when a growl from the girl startled her and Kryss reflexively pulled away, thinking the growl was directed at her. However, Rags wasn't even looking at her so she breathed a sigh of relief and looked down the hole.

She was quick to duck back out of sight again at what she saw farther down. The two boys were farther down on another platform and one of them was facing off with a large bird. Recognizing it as a threat from that glance her instincts told her to hide and get away while it was distracted. However, thinking about it she knew that's where she and Rags needed to go and the boys might need help. Turning to catch Rags attention she whispered as quietly as she could while still being heard.

"The boys are already down there, and there's a bird down there, too. A big one. They might need our help.

Easy to say, but what can we do from up here? The last thing I want to do is get its attention but maybe I should? Kryss pried up a loose stone from the dirt and peeked over the edge again. It was a good distance away but she was still mostly sure she could hit it. She just wasn't sure it would help much.

No.

There was no way she could just ignore this, not now that she knew. She wasn't so foolish to think she could do much of anything to help, but the more she thought about it the less she could stand for doing nothing.

Grabbing her frayed grey longcoat Teacher had given her she called upstairs that she was going out again. There was some kind of response Kryss couldn't make out but at least it didn't sound like a 'no'. Teacher was always telling her anyway that she needed to go outside more. She knew the woman meant play in the sun for once or make friends but this would have to do. Kryss quietly closed the door behind her and throwing on her coat she started towards the orphanage at a quick pace.

She didn't make it that far before something terrible happened. The marketplace was usually noisy and crowded so she didn't notice the yelling nor did she see the girl trying to save an artifact from going over the edge. But she heard the scream, and judging from the reaction of the crowd it was easy to guess what had just happened. Word spread like wildfire nearby as well confirming that someone had just fallen over the edge. A cold feeling came over Kryss hearing these things and she found herself pushing through the throng of people trying to see.

The scene before her was strange, with most of the crowd forming a ring around the area with a few people inside that near the edge of the Abyss. She didn't see any guards at first like she thought she would, but she did spot an older boy just as he started climbing down. Her first thought was that it was crazy for a kid to be going after someone that had fallen until she noticed the whistle around his neck and reconsidered.

Of course, every second counts if that girl is alive. If anyone had hesitated that night I would be...

In that moment the appearance of what looked like one of the guards lifted her heart. Maybe there was hope? But he didn't seem to think so from his next remark and his dismissive change of attention to the exchange between shopkeep and masked boy. It was shocking to see how quickly the girl was written off as dead by an authority figure. She had come to think of delvers and guards more or less as heroes.

This was a harsh reality check for her.

When the boy in the mask claimed he was going down after the girl too Kryss found herself stepping forward as well. She approached the guard and looked up at him imploringly. "Aren't you going down there to help? S-she might not be dead, right? Right? If she's not then there's probably not much time...

Her brief boldness flagged then and she trailed off mid-sentence. Who was she to talk to an adult like she knew better? Her track record for mistakes wasn't actually very good. And this was a very different situation from what Kryss had gone through. She had never taken a serious fall and it wouldn't matter if she ever did. But a normal girl falling into the Abyss like that... was there actually any hope? And what exactly did she plan to do? Climb in after the two boys?

The thought made her shudder.

What then? Do nothing? Don't get involved like everyone else? Like I don't already plan to find out what happened to the kids that went down into the Abyss from the orphanage... What am I thinking? What am I going to do?

Conflicted as she was Kryss went to the edge and looked down trying to see for herself if hope was even something she should waste time on. Or would they be pulling up a dead girl?

Dust Apps

For being a tall, masked faunus still breathing heavily from the exertion of Physical Education Skye was surprisingly unnoticed as she tagged along behind the familiar forms of Luke and Ben. Of course any that did take note of the worn out creature generally avoided trying to engage her in conversation. She did not look especially receptive and indeed she might not have noticed if anyone had started talking to her.

Tired, bloodshot eyes scanned the classroom for other familiar faces like Ashe and Yue. Despite being as exhausted as ever Skye's mood had improved since the game and she was eager to introduce everyone. Then again judging by the gathering around her teammate she would need some introductions herself. Catching sight of Yue Skye waved to her and picked a seat with open spots nearby, not too far from Luke. However, she had yet to spot Ashe, who she guessed might just be a little late.

She went to Survival after Grimm Studies I think. I wouldn't be surprised if she's even more tired than I am. My last class was actually.. pretty fun. And nothing compared to fighting an enormous Grimm... I hope she makes it.

As if summoned by her thoughts the young faunus made her appearance and Skye waved her over. Unfortunately it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out something was really bothering her. Ashe wore a sour face that was plain to read at a glance and she took one of the seats right next to Skye without a word.

"Ashe? What's wrong?"

Ashe sighed and glanced Skye's way for just a split second, then returned to staring a hole in her notepad, where she had drawn up copies of the class catalog and schedule. "Bad day, that's all. Could this wait until after class...?"

Skye couldn't help herself; she was taken aback by the shortness of the response and the edge in Ashe's tone. Even though logically Skye guessed something had happened during her last class she found herself wondering if she might have done something to upset Ashe. But of course that was just paranoia,
it had to be. Though she tried to repress it Skye could not respond without sounding pathetically dejected. "O-oh. Of course, if that's what you want..."

Ashe looked up from her notepad again and gave Skye a forced smile. "It's fine, really. I just want your opinion on some things later."

The word 'fine' did not sound right in Skye's head, but she realized that now was simply not the best time to go over what was really bothering Ashe. She would just have to wait until the end of class. She glanced in Luke's direction then towards the professor who looked about to begin the lesson. Perhaps introductions should also wait until later? "Alright. Whatever I can do to help."

Ashe returned her borderline murderous gaze to the front of class and waited patiently for the lesson to start. The tip of her pen was steadily burrowing deeper and deeper into her notepad. "Thanks, Skye. I really appreciate it."

"Of course." Skye nodded and turned her attention towards the front of the classroom just in time for their professer to begin the class with one of the most impressive demonstrations she had ever witnessed. Skye already knew there was so much someone could achieve using Dust, especially when combined with other modern techniques, but freezing fire? She hadn't thought such a thing was possible. Obviously she had a lot to learn. Luckily she was finally in the right place.

The fox faunus leaned forward in her seat, focusing intently on their teacher's words. She also paid attention to her classmates, too. Most of them already knew more than she did and she tried her hardest to commit everything she heard and saw to memory.

When the call for a volunteer for the next demonstration went out it wasn't like Skye didn't want to raise her hand but she resisted the urge. She'd already spent most of her limited energy throughout the day. Any more active participation in class she felt was likely to push her into mindless, unthinking survival mode. Not a good state of mind to have in a class where failing is not an option.

Instead she watched, waiting to see who would get chosen and what would happen next.


Annabelle Valentine

Practice


What the hell was that? That class was going so well at first! I finally got to show off my precious Tiger, and I was totally pumped to prove Beacon is where I belong. The hell with what mom says. My moment to shine, and then... Anna splashed more cool water onto her face before going back to staring at herself in the mirror.

"Come on, what is wrong with you? Pregnant? Ha! As if."

Turning off the water and turning away from her reflection she leaned against the sink. She could still taste the bitterness of bile no matter how many times she rinsed her mouth out. Her thoughts were stuck on Survival class and her embarrassing performance, or rather lack thereof. Everything had been going just fine, she made an impression with her marvel of a weapon and the class was set to happen within a massive simulator. She was already familiar with such things from practice at home but that one blew the simulator she had right out of the water. Even so she was sure that class was going to be a piece of cake.

She had been so very wrong.

It started with some dizziness and nausea before the simulation had begun. She paid it no mind at first, after all she had been drinking hard the night before. However, within a few steps forward on that sinking ship that mild dizziness flared into a monster worse than any of those all too realistic Grimm. It was all she could do to catch herself on Tiger before faceplanting onto simulated deck.

From there she had contributed nothing and felt lucky just to make it to a lifeboat without vomiting. Of course that small victory hadn't lasted long. She was grateful no one had bothered her on the 'island' and for the distinct lack of comments on the mess she left on the simulator floor. Grateful but fiercely embarrassed with herself. Annabelle Valentine's debut was a complete disaster. At least that class had ended quickly and utterly fantastically. She felt a pang of regret that she had not been a part of that, and worse she had forgotten to ask for the recipe to those cupcakes.

But as soon as that class was over she had quickly gotten herself to the bathroom to clean up and clear her head, which was still spinning a bit. She was surely going to be late for her next class at this rate but it had taken this long just to start feeling okay again. Guess I should consider myself lucky I didn't have to go to the infirmary. What a mess. How am I even gonna make up for that? Not like I can be sure that won't happen again, even if I am feeling better. I was feeling fine during Armory, too.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the loud clattering of a custom built robot hindered by twelve feet of cannon forcing its way past the bathroom door. Ugh, I forgot to tell him to drop that thing outside in the hall. Too late now.

Tiger stopped once it made its way to her, bringing with it the duffel bag she had asked for. With a smile she thanked her unique weapon just as if it were people, just as always. Tiger still had a lot of kinks to get worked out in programming but even as he was she loved her mechanical companion.

She went through the bag quickly choosing an outfit much better suited to an outdoor practice class. Some light blue shorts and a matching sports bra caught her eye and a light pair of sneakers which would be so much better than the crumby uniform shoes. She changed quickly on the spot and tossed the bag back on to Tiger before taking a deep breath.

"Alright, probably late as hell but let's go try to salvage this day. Tiger, follow. And mind your damn turns." I have got to modify that beast sometime soon.
Kryss

There were kids... lost in the Abyss.

She already knew she hadn't misheard but to have those fears so casually confirmed through something as innocent as the nod of one's head...

Kryss was opening her mouth to begin a barrage of questions about the where, when, how, who, etcetera when a familiar voice derailed that train of thought. A second later a familiar face followed that voice and she reflexively hid her face, making use of her usually troublesome abundance of hair. Her heart was suddenly hammering in her ears and she barely heard the girl's further explanation and hasty assurance that their friends would be found and that they would be ok.

She nodded silently and after an all but whispered "I have to go now." Kryss hastily departed. She took the most direct route back to the main library she called home. All she could think about was that there were lost children in the Abyss. Lost human children that had been born on the surface, not down there in the depths. Up here was their home while the Abyss was a place they had to learn to navigate, not the other way around. How long would they survive?

"Kryssa. Kryssa!" Another familiar voice snapped the girl out of her thoughts. Her teacher and guardian, as well as the head librarian, had a look of deep concern on her aged face. She was holding Kryss' arm gently but firmly and for the first time the girl noticed she had been paying so little attention to what she was doing she had cut herself.

That's right, I was just slicing the vegetables like I always do. I must have slipped. When did I get home again?

"I-I'm sorry. I accidentally dropped some of the groceries on the way back, and then I was going to go get more and I.. must have forgotten along the way somehow. I'll go back, I'll buy it all back, I'll use my own-

"Kryss." The older woman had been cleaning the cut under running water but now she stopped and looked knowingly into her eyes. "What's really bothering you?"

Adults could be annoyingly perceptive at times. Rarely when you wanted them to be and usually when you wished they wouldn't be. Kryss was silent for a long while but under her guardian's patient gaze she eventually began to explain.

"I was taking a shortcut past the orphanage after I lost some of our food and I overheard some girls talking... about their friends being lost somewhere in the Abyss. From the way they were talking.. I think they went beyond just the first layer. But it also sounded like everyone was still looking for them. I thought... after the first layer..."

Shutting the water off and retrieving a dry towel her teacher nodded. "I see. It's true in most cases but sometimes there are those willing to search even deeper than usual. In any case you should leave it to the adults at the orphanage. You already know they're good people and if anyone has a chance at finding those kids it would be them. Meanwhile you," explained the woman with grey hair creeping into her once brilliant red, "should be worrying about you and be more careful with that knife. Why don't you go wash up, I'll finish getting everything ready here."

Kryss knew her teacher was right though she didn't like it. She knew all too well what it was like to be lost and alone down there.

Wait, did she just say...? Kryss looked up at the woman and wrinkled her nose, to which the other looked almost mildly offended.

"What? Oh fine! I'll just cut up the rest of this and we'll do it together under your expert supervision oh master gourmet."

Though she didn't feel much like laughing that pulled a little giggle out of her. She nodded and started towards the washroom. Teacher was right of course. Even if she wanted to help so bad it hurt it was better not to get involved.

Right?
Yrhen Oharra

Mordhaben's Institute for Aspiring Mages

Yrhen stiffened when she heard the cafeteria doors open, followed by the sound of many feet and voices heading her way. It was time for the tour to begin. Taking a deep breath she prepared herself to rejoin the group and resolved to stay as far away from the Breckenridge boy as was possible. Setting her face into her usual scowl she crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the wall. She intended to look as if she had been fuming and not fretting over her arm.

As the students began rounding the corner on the heels of the staff members Yrhen did not even look in their direction. However, she was watching carefully from her peripheral trying to locate Alex. But the entire group passed ans she didn't catch sight of him. Not knowing where the boy was made her nervous. She peeked around the corner not expecting to see him hanging behind, or rather she hoped he wasn't. She was not pleased to see he was behind the rest of the group, behind her. Though it did seem to be for a benign reason; apparently he was helping another student with something or other. Damn, if I join the back of the group like I wanted he'll be coming right up behind me at some point. Even if I wait for him to pass I'll still get stuck with him, and if he notices me... I'll just have to leave him behind and see if I can use the rest of the group as cover between us. She was not at all fond of being in the middle of a crowd it was marginally more bearable in comparison.

She hurried away while Alex was distracted and quickly caught up with the others. She then slowly worked her way into the throng, cringing at every shoudler brushing against her and ever breath of warm air too close for comfort. It wasn't long before it felt like her skin was crawling, but she did her best to bear with it. She wore a severely unfriendly face to ward of idle conversation and keep everyone that saw her at a distance. It worked for the most part, as it usually did, though thankfully many of the others were not the least interested in her. She even managed to pay attention and enjoy some of the tour, in particular, the Arts building and the common area just before it. Groundskeeper Billy had already left quite the impression on her with his beautiful work on the main courtyard, but this place was a masterpiece of gardening. She made a mental note to come back as often as possible.

Upon catching sight of the truly monstrous form of Professor Malovroch Yrhen immediately tensed and her adrenaline spiked while other students literally recoiled. It was almost unbelievable that such a creature was a teacher and no less... an arts teacher in a decidedly feminine dress and with a talent for baking. Of course the more she thought about it the less unrealistic it seemed; monsters were often very intelligent and human hangups on gender roles were probably a very silly thing to their kind. She could just imagine a stuffy city dwelling traditionalist meeting Malovroch and the thought almost brought a smirk to her face. At any rate the enormous flame wreathed professor managed to put her somewhat at ease and she joined the numbers that decided to step forward and accept the offered baked goods. She did not regret the decision.

As the tour continued Yrgen made note of several classes in the Arts building she would like to take, and made a mental map of the grounds so she (hopefully) wouldn't get lost. The entire campus was bigger than some of the villages she had lived in which was somewhat intimidating. Not to mention examples of the school's wealth were in almost every square foot. It was a little hard not to feel out of place at times. This was especially true of the research building which the eerie professor Brovak considered his domain. This was an area where her weaknesses were sure to become apparent as her magic use was comparatively simple and underwhelming, despite raw experience. She made it a goal upon leaving the building to not embarrass herself at the very least.

The last two areas of the tour included another pair of locations Yrhen instantly fell in love with. The first was the indoor pool in the Athletics building which she didn't even get to see. Despite that she was already wondering if she could reserve the pool for private use since she'd sooner hang herself than let anyone see her in a bathing suit. Then there was the dormitory common area, which was a veritable jungle walled in by the enormous buildings. Even though there was likely to be many students using the area she was sure she could find a little corner for herself. By the time the tour was over Yrhen was feeling much better and rather excited about the school.

When the other students started nervously searching for a roommate following the announcement Yrhen confidently, more or less, walked up to professor Volkova and produced a letter and a completed form. This was a special request for a private room arranged weeks in advance and the professor simply nodded after glancing over the documents.

With that task smoothly finished Yrhen hastily made her way back to the cafeteria, determined not to have her meal ruined a second time. This involved avoiding contact with others, especially any faces she could recognize but fortunately this did not prove much of a challenge. Everyone seemed very into their own business or wanted nothing to do with her and that suited her just fine. Her tray laden with a wide variety of cheeses and more unusual cuisine, including roasted crickets, she left the cafeteria altogether and made her way back toward the dorms. Apparently not many others had thought to eat outdoors and it was not at all hard to locate a secluded spot among the foliage and took her first few bites of the delicacy she had missed out on earlier.

Professor Katarina Volkova's Office


Professor Volkova sat staring at the clock in her small office, occasionally glancing at the shadowy figures moving about beyond the frosted glass window of her office. It was only the first day and she had to deal with disciplinary actions already, which didn't exactly set the tone for a good, uneventful year. She annoyedly bounced the eraser of her pencil on a scrap of paper with a list of students who had needed an appointment with her. There were far too many. And another one was due shortly.

Yrhen stood outside the office, steeling herself for what was to come. She had been there for a minute or two and she was beginning to think she was only working herself up rather than calming down. She took several deep breaths, preparing to actually open the door, then realized she was hyperventilating as opposed to taking slow even breaths. Halfway through turning the knob her answer to this was to hold her breath entirely. Halfway through the opening of the door she realized she had not knocked. She froze, thought about closing the door and knocking, thought about running, decided that was a really stupid idea, then settled on knocking with the door half open as it was. Holy crap I am such an idiot...

Volkova glanced at the door when she heard the knock, then glanced at Yrhen. Like so many others before her, this student was absolutely terrified by the prospect of disciplinary action. That would have to be remedied somehow - learning experiences aren't meant to evoke such fear, after all. "Come in, Yrhen. I was expecting you," the older woman said. She wasn't wearing the 'angry' or 'disappointed' expression one might expect in a disciplinary meeting, but rather something more neutral, perhaps bordering on soft.

Upon being prompted Yrhen stepped inside and took a few steps before she realized she had not shut the door. Rectifying this she finally came to stand before the professor, hands clasped nervously behind her back. Then she realized she was still holding her breath. She let the air out slowly and as quietly as possible instead of all at once like her lungs begged her to do. This led to what she felt was a rather awkward moment of silence, one that she hoped the professor would break.

Well, at least she doesn't look angry...

"Please, take a seat," Volkova said, indicating the chair in front of her desk.

Following the professor's instructions Yrhen managed to sit down without any problems. She sat there, then, still not having said a word.

"So, how about you tell me what happened at the cafeteria?", the Professor asked. It was less a suggestion and more an order, but she said it with no hostility in her voice.

"O-of course." Yrhen said, mentally kicking herself for the slight stutter that slipped out. "Well, I had arrived late this morning and was sent to the cafeteria where I... overheard someone, a short chimera boy, referring to another chimera student as... well, essentially a filthy half breed." She paused for a moment to take a breath, the memory bringing back what she had felt then. "I had meant to just move on but... I admit I lost my temper. I, ah, pulled him to his feet, slapped him, and started yelling at him." An image of the boys face and the look in his eyes played through her head.

"After a few moments I was more or less coming to my senses I suppose. But then... then, ah..." She swallowed hard, finding the memory of her arm going haywire and mostly numb especially difficult. Just keep it simple. She probably already knows all the details anyway. "Another student stepped in on behalf of the one I had hit. I.. At that point I decided it would be best for me to just leave. Professor Brovak stopped us and.. issued our disciplinary orders. Then I stepped outside for some air." She stopped there, not sure if she needed to say anything else.

Volkova silently listened, expression unchanging until the mention of Professor Brovak, at which she raised an eyebrow. She hadn't known Brovak to step in very often, and that he did suggested the situation was slightly more than just a squabble over 'racial purity'. "...Are you leaving anything out, Ms. Oharra?", the Professor prompted.

"I... the boy who interfered used magic. But it was nothing, really. Just some stunning magic. He was worried I was going to hurt the ki- the other student. It was nothing I couldn't handle." Now that was about as deep a lie as she could tell without completely fabricating a story. She had not been ok with what happened, not even a little bit. And it was definitely not something she was in any way prepared to handle. But she could not bring herself to admit these things. Experience had almost hardwired her to avoid showing any weakness or vulnerability. She kept her face as neutral as possible and maintained eye contact with Volkova, just hoping she wasn't using some kind of mind reading or truth detecting magic. Shit! Maybe I should have thought of that before I opened my mouth... Lying to a teacher? I'm making all kinfs of great judgement calls today, aren't I?

Volkova was, despite Yrhen's worries, not using any sort of magic whatsoever. But she wasn't hired into her current position without reason, nor was her military history meaningless. She knew instinctively that Yrhen wasn't telling the entire truth, but pushing further wasn't something she felt the urge to do - that was Leonora's job. And as far as she could tell, she had been told the truth in regards to the order of events.

"Very well, Ms. Oharra. And... What did Professor Brovak do?", the Professor asked. It wasn't exactly a 'required' question, but Brovak being involved in anything official irrationally worried her. She would decide on a course of punishment after Yrhen's response, regardless of what she learned. And she preferred getting information about Brovak from anyone other than Brovak.

If she knew Yrhen was lying Volkova didn't say anything, which Yrhen quickly decided was worse. But it was done, and better to let it go if she could get away with it.

Yrhen was a little surprised that Volkova wanted to know about professor Brovak. Wasn't that something she should already know? Since Brovak had been the one to step in Yrhen had just assumed he had explained the situation to Volkova. But maybe that wasn't the case for some reason? The question made her uncomfortable, as did the memory of his hand on her shoulder. Repressing a shudder she answered as simply as she could.

"He stopped myself and the Breckenridge boy, scolded us both..." [I]Another lie. You're on a roll, Yrhen. If anything Brovak only seemed to be dressing down Alex at the time. "...and then handed us both cards with our appointments for, well, this."

Volkova's expression changed from one of complete neutrality to one of understanding, followed by visible annoyance. "Breckenridge... That explains what Brovak is doing. Yrhen, did Professor Brovak say anything unusual to you directly?"

Yrhen remembered exactly what had been said, the memory was regrettably sharp. But she had already begun digging a hole based on omissions and lies so she opted not to repeat what Brovak had said. She shook her head and nervously glanced at a nearby clock. They had only been speaking a few minutes.

"It was that bad? I suppose I could always probe your memory," Volkova threatened. She was getting close to crossing her usual ethical line, but her unease with Brovak's involvement justified it to her.

Yrhen's breath caught in her throat and she felt her heart skip a beat. At the very real threat being openly voiced her composure almost broke entirely and she stutterrd out the first cover she could think of. "Why- n-no! No, that's not what I meant! It's just he d-didn't have much to say. Nothing unusual anyway." Oh fuck, please do not... Please don't start looking around in my head.

"Then I'll take your word for it, I suppose," Volkova said. She had no intention of following through with her threat, but now that Yrhen absolutely refused to say anything, she felt that her instinct that something was wrong was confirmed. "Now, on to your punishment. You weren't at the opening ceremony, correct?"

Yrhen resisted the urge to breath a physical sigh of relief. She couldn't tell if the professor actually believed her but at least she was letting it go. The thought of mind reading magic was as terrifying, if not more, than the possibility of a person teleporting right next to you suddenly. Or magic that disabled nerves...

"N-no ma'am. I was... held up at the train. Everyone had gone by the time I arrived." Yrhen answered, avoiding Volkova's gaze by staring at a paperweight on her desk.

Volkova nodded, shuffled around a few papers silently for several moments, and picked up her pencil again to start writing on what appeared to be a scheduling sheet. "While I can't grant you any leniency based on your not having been present when the rules on fighting and magic usage were told to the rest of the new students... I take partial responsibility for the incident at the cafeteria. As such, you will be meeting me here again at 1800 on the second day of classes, after your last period is over and during dinner hours. I will have food brought in so you may serve your required detention period undistracted."

Volkova's pencil stopped moving, and she looked back up at Yrhen. "Any requests?"

"Requests? I.. No ma'am. But if I may, how was anything that happened your responsibility? I was the one that couldn't keep my cool and caused all this trouble."

"Just go with it, Ms. Oharra. It's either that or I let any other staff member take you in, and that may include Professor Brovak. I don't think either of us wants that. If you need a justification though, it was my responsibility to inform all new students of the rules, and I allowed you to go uninformed, even though I wasn't aware of your late arrival until the tour began," Volkova said. She was being as genuine as she could be with the 'offer' (more of a very strong suggestion, really), and was hoping to make it clear that she was offering Yrhen an 'easy way out', so to speak.

With Volkova making things as clear as that Yrhen decided it would be best to accept what the professor was trying to do. She felt guilty about doing so but there was little else she could do at this point. She nodded that she understood, eyes still downcast.

"The Cafeteria is still serving dinner for another couple hours, if you weren't able to get anything before. I'll see you tomorrow during the entrance exams. You're dismissed, and good luck."

"Yes ma'am. Thank you ma'am." Yrhen stood and saluted before hastily seizing on the dismissal. She closed the door behind her and quickly put distance between herself and the professor's office. She really hoped the things she hadn't said wouldn't come back to haunt her.


Dormitory Building Q3-414, Yrhen Oharra's Private Room


Earlier that day Yrhen had let the fraternity boys decide what she would need for furnishings, as long as it was natural wood and some classic lanterns and candles were made available. Mostly she had spent a lot of time grilling her poor upperclassmen on the details of how privacy and security were maintained for each room. After the greater part of an hour she had decided she could live with the fact that it would take a professional mage on the level of the teachers to breach one of these rooms using teleportation or Vision magic. She also came away from the conversation even more fascinated with the workings of more complicated magic like that which protected the rooms.

Closing, locking, and thoroughly checking both the door and the windows Yrhen let her duffel bag fall to the floor and removed her gloves. The small rooms were sparesly furnished which was just fine with her. The second bedroom did not even have anything in it which somehow made her feel more comfortable. She ran her hands over the small desk, bedframe, and nightstand. Apart from her requested fire based light sources one of the fraternity boys had the insight to leave a stack of paper and an inkwell complete with its own classic quill. She hadn't asked for anything like that and had her own notebook and pencils but she found herself liking the extra touch.

She went into the bathroom and tested the shower, which heated up nicely and much hotter than what she was used to. A hot shower felt like the most wonderful idea right about now but she decided to wait until she was at least unpacked and settled in. That shouldn't take long anyway.

Returning to the bedroom she finally nodded to herself, satisfied. She felt much more relaxed now that she was alone in her own private room and decided to strip out of her heavy, stuffy clothing she had been bound up in all day. The relatively cool air was a huge relief after her day of being uncomfortably close to far more people than she was used to. Though the room was small it was still plenty large enough for her to finally stretch, really stretch. She sighed as she let go of much of the tension she had held onto and gently massaged a knot in her shoulder. She stood for a while, doing nothing much beyond uncramping various muscles until a thougg occurred to her.

I'm here. I'm going to be a mage.

With this realization her face transformed into an expression she had shown no other soul all day: undiluted joy. A sound halfway like a giggle and halfway an excited squeal escaped her lips as she threw herself onto the bed. She completely ruined the neatly made bed burying her face into the ridiculously soft down pillow, which was another pleasant surprise. All of the bedding was actually super nice but looked deceptively plain, and she hadn't even thought about just how important that would be. She rolled over onto her back, clutching the sheets and blankets to her chest while she stared up at the ceiling.

After some time just laying there enjoying the feel of the bedding she sat up and stretched some more. She then wrapped one of the blankets around her shoulders and walked back out to the main room to look over the kitchenette more closely. Ha, nicer than some of the places we've lived. I wish I could have brought Me'me and Pe'pe along. Maybe they could have stayed in the village? But no, traveling and looking for a new place in the cold seasons? Better to wait and- oh, that reminds me! I haven't written them a letter yet! With that thought she went to the desk and lit the candle resting there. Let's fix that.

The Written and Physical Exams


The written test was about as grueling as she expected; there were very few questions she could answer confidently. On top of this some of the questions seemed a little off or had small errors in how they were worded. She answered these as best she could but her already limited confidence was used up quickly. Then came the final question. She had expected to have to explain why she wanted to be a mage, and a military mage at that. Military life was not easy or pleasant and more was expected of a professional magic user than the common soldier. Thus she had thought long and hard about her answer, and she often recited it in her head, so she began writing without skipping a beat.

Halfway through she suddenly stopped, and stared at the words she had written. In order to protect those that cannot protect themselves, and to uphold the values of our great nation... Now that I look at it on paper it all feels so... plastic. She scratched out everything she had written so far and flipped the paper over. Using her arm to cover her paper from any potential wandering eyes as a matter of habit she began again.

Seven months ago I was standing on the edge of a cliff, wondering if I would feel my bones shatter or if everything would just go black---




Not long after the written exams conclusion came the much simpler physical tests, which Yrhen felt she had a bit of an edge on. At least that was what she thought until she was instructed to pull a ridiculously heavy cart as far as she could. She had excelled at the running and long jump challenges without even using her full potential, but as she stared at the simple cart before her she knew with certainty she was about to embarrass herself. And in her mind, she was not wrong. Despite her experience with an oversized rifle powerful enough to pierce tank armor, the average time spent actually holding and firing the weapon was very minimal. Yrhen was athletic in her own right but she also had a very slight build and not much weight. This notable lack of raw strength was on full display as she struggled to move the heavy cart at all. To make matters worse the observing instructors were having a hushed discussion as Yrhen grunted, strained, tore up dirt, and sweated profusely with almost nothing to show for it.

After it looked like she would rather kill herself trying the feathered chimera stepped forward and with a very soft, gentle voice told her she had done well and should save her energy for the upcoming combat exam. Yrhen said nothing and met no one's eyes, only nodding in acknowledgment before stalking away with a scowl on her face.

Laboratory- Magical and Combat Exams

Yrhen held on to that scowl from that point until the younger, larger Vance sibling called on her to join his group for the next phase of testing. Much to her relief everyone around her picked up on the signals she was putting out and no one once disturbed her. She listened silently as their overseer gave clear, detailed instructions on what to do. She was nervous about the initial magical familiarity test. It wasn't that she was inexperienced, quite the opposite. But her prefered abilities were centered around conserving as much energy as possible. Manipulating air was not very difficult, did not take as much energy as some other magical disciplines, and often did not require much precision or concentration. However, while the techniques she knew were useful they were also bound to be much less powerful than what she suspected the other students could do.

Alright then, why don't I keep it small and save my energy for the big test? I'm starting to feel sore from pulling that cursed cart anyway. I can just imagine how many of them were laughing at me. Doesn't help that I don't even know what half this stuff is. I better deliver on this big test, I owe it to my grandparents after everything they've sacrificed for me. Let's see if you can't make them proud, eh Yri?

Using only a little bit of magic Yrhen focused on two different points near the table. Expending small bursts of energy she created a small upward gust of air just strong enough to send one of the heavier materials (some small bit of metal?) about a foot into the air and then over the edge. Then, using more focus, energy, and as close to perfect timing as she could muster, Yrhen created a second gust from the floor. The chunk of material was again tossed upwards and this time almost at the exact height she was aiming for. Trying to make it look casual she reached out and snatched it from the air.

Internally she was really excited that bit of precision casting had gone so splendidly, but she reminded herself that it was probably an underwhelming show of magic. Expressionless she met the professor's eyes expecting to see boredom or worse, disappointment. Instead...

Is that look... is he impressed? It's subtle but I'm almost sure of it...

She turned away again and suppressed a smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth. She almost missed the man's approving 'well done' as she stepped aside for the next student. Almost. That sense of accomplishment and boost in confidence only lasted so long as she watched the others show their talents or knowledge and time seemed to drag on. It actually wasn't very long at all but Yrhen had once again worked herself up to a fair bit of anxiety by the time Hans brought them to the cage to reveal the creature within.

She had of course noticed the covered cage on first entering the room but she felt it unlikely anything beyond the average student's capability resided within. It sounded like she wasn't wrong from the introduction given, but Yrhen remembered seeing on of these once long ago. She had kept as much distance between it and herself back then so she never learned what it was capable of or its name back then. She understood the very real threat the creature posed in its natural environment right away and today's test would be simulating an encounter to the monster's advantage. Worse than that, besides knowing the Deadlands were fatally poisonous, she had never even been close and knew next to nothing of the kind of terrain and flora one would encounter there.

She swallowed hard and stepped forward as her turn was called. She wasted little time in figuring out how the hood was supposed to be worn and secured. It's going to be very hard to hear and see in this thing. That alone could be fatal and if these Ashoppers are so obsessed over the filters.. anyone separated from the expedition probably don't live very long. And that's exactly the situation we're being put in... What kind of insanity even drives people to go into the Deadlands?! And just how many filters do you need to have a chance of making it out alive? Wait...

"Sir? How many replacement filters do individuals bring on an expedition?" She asked keeping her voice even and neutral.

"Several hundred at minimum, generally. Losing consciousness in combat with an Ashhopper is a virtual guarantee that even if you wake before they finish going through your stockpile they'll have eaten enough that you won't be able to make the return trip. Swapping filters is possible, but not advisable unless you already have a replacement in hand, and is virtually impossible with a damaged mask. The gases of the Deadlands will kill any non-Monster in seconds if you breathe them in."

Seconds...

"Let's put it another way: One small breath will give you a cardiac arrhythmia for the rest of your shortened life, even if you don't die. But I suppose you don't have to worry about that. If you're going to try to keep your air supply clean, you'd better do it well."

Uncertain of whether or not she could keep her voice even after hearing that Yrhen only nodded and checked her mask again before slipping it on. She nodded sharply at Hans to let him know she was ready, or as ready as she could be. Fully prepared or otherwise it was best not to waste any more time worrying herself into a panic.

She stepped into the room trying to ignore how tight the hood felt around her neck. She took in as much as she could about her new environment with her much diminished senses. It was beautiful in a way but very alien and threatening. She was sure much of the environment itself was hazardous if not potentially fatal. This was more or less confirmed by a swaying fungal growth and the very recognizable razor grass patches. She shuddered a little remembering every past experience with the sharp flora all at once. There were few things she hated more than razor grass and that was saying a lot.

The door sealed shut and she could at once feel the magical pressure from the Ashoppers coming into existence though she could not discern exactly where they were from that alone. As quickly and silently as possible she moved to the most effective cover she could find.

How much time do I have before they sniff out my filter? If they're so aggressive.. I should have come in here with a plan; now I had better think fast. I wonder... if this isn't actually too different from normal hunting? I probably shouldn't obsess over defense. There's nowhere to run, I'm too limited here. But... A thought occured to her and instinct told her to decide before she had a chance to overthink and hesitate.

She took several deep, rapid breaths and as quickly as she could pulled the filter from her mask. In the same moment her other hand clamped down on the hole left in the filters absence. She held her last breath. There was no telling what would come of this gamble and there was probably only a breath or two of clean air in the mask itself. This needed to work; there was no certainty her magic was good enough to clean the air without a filter. She hoped she wouldn't have to risk it.

Yrhen pulled back her arm and hurled the filter across the room. And then she waited, silent and still. It didn't take long for the Ashoppers to take interest, in fact some of them were on the filter immediately. Gripping her outdated Condenser adrenaline shot through her and she focused much of the air near the monsters into a single point.

Wait! Wait... The timing doesn't feel right.

Her instincts served her better than logic as usual. A few more Ashoppers broke cover to join what was quickly becoming a frenzied fight.

Wait.

Her lungs begged for a breath of air but she resisted and watched. One more, then two more. By the time her vision was starting to get spotty Yrhen was almost sure all the creatures in the room were tearing at the carbon filter and eachother. Her heart rate slowed and a sort of calm settled over her.

Now.

She set off the collected air like a bomb, which this spell more or less was exactly. Concussive force slammed into the Ashoppers bodies and they were torn to pieces far more effectively than she had expected. She quickly became acquainted with the fact that Ashoppers were not very well held together as several tiny body parts bounced off her even from her concealed position. Unable to hold her breath any longer the used up air expelled from her lungs with enough force to puff up her hood. She greedily sucked in another breath and forced herself to hold this one as well while she scanned for survivors. But this was proved unnecessary as the gas in the room started to be sucked away into the vents.

Did I really get them all with that one explosion?!

The door opened and filling the frame was the enormous form of Hans Vance. He gestured for her to come back out of the room and stepped aside as she did so. She was quick to remove the uncomfortable hood and taste some fresh air after her brief time in the stuffy thing.

"Miss Oharra, I would like the pleasure of being the first to say you passed with flying colors. I'll be sure to take your skills into consideration for your future classes and I apologize if you feel I underestimated your talents. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you see fit. You should enjoy yourself, I think you've earned it. The big man smiled at her and Yrhen very simply nodded in response to his praise. She walked out of the testing laboratory seemingly fully in control and calm, not looking at anyone else on the way. However, her thoughts were a whirlwind and she felt dizzy from keeping it all inside.

But above it all, at least for now, she felt truly happy. Professor Vance had respectfully kept his praise low key but she could tell...

I just aced that fucking test!!!


Elsa

The cat-like girl's eyes widened a bit in surprise. She stopped clutching her tail and sat up straight. She looked into Berke's eyes as if searching for something, though what that could be was anyone's guess. Whatever she saw there it seemed to satisfy her and she actually smiled.

"N-no-nowhere special real-really." She said hastily, forgetting to mind her stutter. Her smile faded but she didn't look unhappy like she had before, just tired and nervous. She cocked her head slightly, her hair falling away from her face even more but she was too focused on Berke to notice. "A-actually if you don't mind I.. I would like to hear more about y-you and your home. I've.. never been to Altay."

Zyphyria

"H-holy f-" The blue haired girls eyes widened in surprise and she burst into laughter. "Too fair! I walked right into that one! Monster hunting though? Respect." Still chuckling to herself Zyphyria turned her attention to Mycona as the other girl spoke and yet she never once gave off the sense that she was ignoring L'ilisht to do so.

"That's a fair philosophy. Me? I'm doing great! My tests all went well but I don't think that Leere guy liked me as much as you, if we're going by that weird number game he plays. How about you? What have you been up to since we last saw eachother? Do you two already know one another?" She asked pointing at Mycona then L'ilisht. She turned in Berke's vacated seat so she had both equally within sight. She seemed really interested in getting to know her new schoolmates but unfortunately fate had other plans. The clocks of the room lit up and rang all at once.

"Whaaaat? Already? Dammit that's so annoying! I didn't realize that chatty cat had chewed through so much time. Hey, why don't we walk up to the dorms together and get to know eachother better? Sound good?"
Elsa's ears stood straight up as the bells harshly cut off her conversation with Berke. They drooped in apparent sadness or regret as the girl that had just started calming down again started getting the remnants of her meal together. She looked back up at Berke the slightest bit of hope in her eyes.

"Are you.. can we... talk more? It's fine if you don't want- if y-you have plans."


"Sweet kanava potatoes glazed in sugar... Onna noodles... saffron... blood oranges..."

A young girl with far too much hair hanging in front of her eyes walked slowly through Orth. She was likewise carrying far too much food in several bags, the weight a strain on her small body. She muttered to herself as​ she tried to mind her feet and not trip over her long green dress. One by one she named each item of food, making sure she had everything on her mental checklist.

"...shredded mixed meats... fish bits... onions. Lots of onions. Lots of.. heavy onions..."

In watching her steps and focusing on the food that was slowing her down the girl had been paying too little attention to where she was going. She was actually well off her normal route by the time she noticed. With a start she realized she was very close to the edge of the Abyss. There was a gated fence she had almost walked right into but a quick scan of the surrounding area revealed no one was nearby. As the surprise faded she also realized she was too tired to continue on without resting. At least that was the excuse she fabricated as she carefully set her bags down near the wooden fence.

Her heart was beating faster and sweat threatened to drip into her eyes as she leaned against the fence and looked down into the incredible, beautiful, terrible pit famously known as the Abyss. It had been a long time since she had been this close; normally she just stared at the Abyss from her window which never seemed to be completely free of dust no matter how much it was cleaned. Her feelings about this place were rather conflicted, but in spite of her anxiety she found herself leaning farther over in an attempt to look straight down. The great hole in the world was undeniably alluring and many answered its siren call on a daily basis.

Unfortunately for her the more she looked the more bad memories began to rise to the surface of her thoughts.

A sudden rustling very nearby startled her out of the mental descent that was coming on. Looking down where the noise was coming from and watched in horror as one of the sacks of food tipped over and the precious goods started rolling out and falling over the edge. "No! Nonononooo!" She could not move fast enough and several items dropped downward bouncing against rocks on the way before she could right the bag and start chasing after what was still within reach.

One onion was chased and barely caught as it started to fall, but this put her in the awkward position of being halfway over the edge herself. She managed to brace herself easily enough but her shoulder bag was not so lucky; that slipped almost completely off her arm. In a terrible stroke of luck the contents of the shoulder bag slipped out at the mercy of gravity and the winds. A strangled cry of utter distress escaped her throat as she watched her papers float away. Sketches, short stories, notes, little games she was working on, all were now lost to the Abyss along with the some of the food for her guardian.

Gone forever.

It wasn't as if she couldn't climb down and retrieve what hadn't fallen all the way out of sight, but she stayed where she was anyway. She wasn't allowed to go into the Abyss, she shouldn't even be as close as she was now. And she had promised to not break the rules. Not ever again. She felt like crying having so foolishly lost important things but she stood up and dusted herself off instead.

"My papers... scattered everywhere... M-maybe the animals will tear them up to use for nesting before anyone sees them. I guess I can just make it up from memory, it's not like they were irreplaceable, right? But Teacher's food! What am I going to do about that? Oh! Maybe if I hurry I'll have enough time to go back to the market and replace it all. Yes, yes that's right! There's a shortcut that goes past the orphanage!"

She normally didn't pass by the orphanage. Most of those kids were learning to be delvers and some even had whistles already. They looked like they were all having so much fun and Kryss had a lot of mixed feelings when she saw them. She had avoided going by there for a while but this was an emergency. It was afternoon already and Teacher would be waking up soon...

She set off at a run after gathering up the heavy bags, only one of which was a little lighter now. It was not long before she was tired out and forced to settle on a brisk walk.

Not ten minutes later she found herself walking near another pair of children sitting on a large rock. Passing by she overheard the two talking, and something they said caught her full attention. She stopped abruptly and stared at them, mouth agape, wondering if she had in fact heard what she thought she heard. She hoped she had not but part of her already knew that hope was pointless and would remain unfulfilled. She found herself approaching the two nervously. She took notice of the fact that they​ were both girls that looked younger than she was and felt a little more at ease.

"E-excuse me? I didn't mean to eavesdrop but... are there kids that got lost in the Abyss?"


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