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Eun-Ji @Medili, Carmilla @Animus, Zarra @BreathOfTheWoof

“Hmmm…” Leon pondered on the situation while he fidgeted with a number of marbles in his hand. He took in the scenery, the two groups were fighting outside the entrance to the cargo hold. It looked as though the guards were losing, and handily at that. This is the force they use to protect the lyre? How embarrassing.

But something more important had just kicked off. A considerable commotion could be heard from behind them. No doubt the rioters have stumbled across the drunken hooligans. That put Leon on a timer, he needed to complete his plan before that ended. It left a lot up to chance, Leon has neither the insight nor experience to judge how long such a fight would last. So that timer is shortened to ‘as soon as possible’.

“I have a plan to stop the rioters and protect the lyre. But I can’t fight here. If I can get into the cargo hold now, we can call this mission a success.” Leon presented this to his fellow students with confidence and certainty in his voice. Whether it was true or not was another matter entirely.

Leon threw his arm to the side tossing four marbles into the middle of the scrap. A moment of relative silence passed as the marbles bounced once, twice and then… As if he had perfected the timing, Leon stood up blocking Zarra and Eun-Ji’s sight as painfully bright light erupts from behind him with a high pitched noise to make the ears ring.

“Try to cover me, and good luck!” Leon gave a reassuring smile to the team. He then took off toward the trapdoor hoping that enough of the guards and mages were blinded and that Zarra and Eun-Ji could cover the rest.

Franz Steiner
Lucretia von Königsmähne
Bunga Kurniawan

@Jumbus @Izurich @Kumbaris

Manfred:@Force and Fury, Eun-Ji @Medili, Carmilla @Animus, Dorothea @jasbraq, Zarra @BreathOfTheWoof

Leon had warmer receptions from Eskand he thought as he saw the entire group more or less ignore him. It wasn’t something disastrous but it did bruise the ego a little bit. Carmilla was whispering off to someone Leon hadn’t meet yet. No doubt shyly admiring him as he expected from Carmilla at this point. But shyness was not a virtue and Leon was left waiting on the portal to open.

As Leon waited on Hugo to progress them, he thought about the team more in-depth.

Carmilla was the one he had the most experience with. While he did enjoy her company, he had yet to learn what she could actually do with magic. Hell, he couldn’t even remember what school of magic she studied. After all this time, he would like to think that she would have displayed something. Shyness is what he chalked it up to. But he wondered if she could actually do anything.

Leon had far more confidence in Eun-Ji’s combat ability by comparison. He had seen it head-on and knew if things got nasty, she would have no problems with fighting. But she was too effective, something that sparks worry when Leon reflects that he barely knows the girl. With a few exchanges and an off-handed date, there was little to go off. Only that she was friendly enough and had a past that prepared her for combat beyond a reasonable degree. Could the friendliness all be a facade?

Manfred was the only other one Leon had seen before and only briefly. It was hard not to let assumptions take to his mind. While Leon could suspend his disbelief when it came to Revidia’s participation in the assassinations, he could not say the same for the bullets of Kerreman’s. Perhaps Manfred could be different, but the military dignity shown in his apparel brought little confidence.

Dorothea is the name he assumed belonged to the girl who was whispering with Carmilla. There were few thoughts he could form on her so far.

And lastly, Zarra… Zarra? Maybe the one talking to the archmage? He couldn’t be sure.

When the portals opened up, Leon was the first to go through. Placing his apple core in the nearest provided bin, or what he assumed to be one at least, he through his momentum forward and his hands toward the ground. With his usual flair, Leon went feet first cartwheeling through the portal.

Before he knew it, Leon was in the Feskan night air sticking the landing with a “ta-da!” Only to find that there was no one around to impress. There was audible commotion all over the place but the old man felt it best to teleport them to an unoccupied space? What a waste of a portal.

Moving past that, Leon waited for the rest of the team. He leaned back against the railing of the upper deck and took in the scenery. It was a nice night really the stars shone high in the sky, the moon above reflecting the sun’s radiance bathed the ship in a pale glow where the ship’s lights had missed. Music and commotion were something he hadn’t been getting enough of since leaving his traveller life behind. A peaceful smile took his face as the ambience whisked his thoughts away.

But all was not perfect. Much like the ugly smoke being poured into the sky, the sounds of aggressive murmuring and a galvanizing speech were taking place. Flipping around to look at the rabble below, Leon frowned as he remembered there was a riot they had to stop. This wasn’t a vacation, he knew that, but couldn’t the wizard with control over time give them a couple of hours of fun first. Leon sighed as he listened in on the speech, he may as well try to understand where they are coming from.

Leon couldn’t imagine blaming a gambling ship for taking his money. An optional luxury being thrust up as an entity where one is helpless to it brings you to poverty. How silly. While he agreed the world shouldn’t belong to those born into wealth, at the same time it didn’t belong to the unexceptional who can’t rise on their own merits. And these people were painfully unexceptional. People who spoke like this could never succeed.

“Well, you heard them down there.” Leon spun around to face the team. “They have plenty more rioters on the shoreline. Someone should go and get the captain to stop the ship.” Leon stepped away from the balcony, looking to leave the gathering. “As for me, I plan to help defend the lyre. Come with me, if you like. But I need to actually find it first.” He directed at no one in particular as he left.

Manfred:@Force and Fury, Eun-Ji @Medili, Carmilla @Animus, Dorothea @jasbraq, Zarra @BreathOfTheWoof

Leon stood in the massive study of the Forked Tower knowing fully well he didn’t do much to get there. Frankly, he stood by and let his teammates do the work while he just looked like he did. And now he stood among the few that had passed the tests, a select few from the looks of things. Lucky him. But it was still to be seen whether this stroke of luck was of any actual benefit to him.

Besides, there was nothing better to do really. Even if he wanted to leave, it's not like he remembered how he got here so leaving could be just as much of a headache. Leon might as well hear the legendary wizard out, who knows it could be a bit of fun. Pulling out an apple from his pocket, Leon took a bite and began snacking while Hugo spoke.

A normal person would perhaps question why a great wizard like Hugo couldn’t stop all three simultaneously. One who could bend time and space could certainly make a joke out of a few jump start assassins. But Leon was swept away by the portals showing tasks ahead of them. In fact, there was a point when he stopped snacking and paid full attention to the speech.

By the end of it, Leon was quite looking forward to the proceeding events. Well, one of them at least. Dealing with assassins sounded… too violent, and pirates sounded violent and dirty. But a riverboat casino, now that sounded right on the money. From a previous experience, he knew that was just the right place to be. Plus if anyone could turn a riot into an adoring crowd, it was him.

Leon was also dressed for the occasion. He met the rest of his group in full attire with a cape and all. Although it was slightly different from his clothes during the opening parade, it was no less extravagant.

"A night on a riverboat sounds nice this time of year. I hope you all have the right clothes for it. At least one of you, and I won’t say who, is a tad underdressed." Leon continued snacking on his fruit.

Doge and Ismette: @Force and Fury

The final hours of the evening were quiet and reflective. Leon sat laid back on the windowsill of his bedroom, playing into the open night air. There was too much to consider, too much to stress about. Sure he had some talent in knowing what people wanted, but trying to get his head around this situation stretched his mind to its limits. He felt like no more than a young child trying to grasp the complexities of this world while those who knew more pulled the strings. For the first time in his life, Leon felt anxiety. It was a feeling he had never known before, so he could do little but pluck at the string of his lute hoping they would eventually fade.

The battle for Eskand's ruler had concluded with a boom. Not that Leon had any knowledge of what it was. He could only see the aftermath of it in the distance before the rolling thunder broke upon his room's window. To Leon, that sound only meant one thing. The approaching winds of war had just arrived.

He best head to bed.

Leon's morning routine started much like any other. Wake up, get dressed, style hair, adorn jewellery, and meditate outside for a good few hours. In fact, by the time Leon got notice of the Doge's request, there was very little time until he was due for the meeting.

Wasting no time on meaningless tasks such as putting on a shirt, Leon rushed off toward the Doge's accommodations. He couldn't slow down too much for idle chit chat, but he was able to pick up some details, news and rumour alike, of last night's event. Little of it was surprising but it still sickened Leon to his core.

Maurizio was not one for clandestine manoeuvrings - not unless they were strictly necessary - and this was reflected in the fact that he had simply told Leon Solaire to come up to the Doge's door. Perhaps it was a political play too, though. There were rumours, of course: scurrilous and awful ones that sought to tar Prospero Malatesta with the murder and attempted murders of his rivals. That they could think he would be so unrefined - so obvious! It was insulting. He sipped from a tall glass of water and glanced up at the clock on the wall.

When Leon arrived, he found guards surrounding the Doge's villa. At least a handful had some use of The Gift. These closed in around him, barring his entry.

He paused a safe distance from the guards, taking in the sight. Precautions needed to be taken in such uncertain times, particularly when you are falsely accused of having caused them. Leon believed, at least, that the Doge had not been the sole perpetrator, but others would not view him in such a positive light. So the level of guards was understandable.

What wasn't understandable was the guards standoffish nature to a known ally of the Doge. Leon chuckled to himself. "You must be joking, right? Do you presume to stop the Doge's awaited guest?"

A tall, slender figure appeared in the doorway, silhouette resolving into a human being... or not quite. It was the same servant girl from last time: the yasoi. She was dressed differently, though, almost martially, her long black hair gathered into a loose ponytail draped over one shoulder. "Pentad's sake, you savages. That's Leon Solaire. Let him through." Her accent was one that even Leon, despite his travels, was unaccustomed to hearing. The guards parted immediately, stiffly, eyes darting amongst themselves. "Sorry about them," she said with a smile, glancing over her shoulder at Leon, eyes lingering perhaps a moment too long. "They're constructs, the poor sops.. and they don't even know it yet." She shook her head and rolled her eyes, leading him inside. "Oh, by the way, I'm Ismet'ych'lahin'dichora." She pursed her lips. "You can call me Ismette, though."

"The show of force was less than necessary I have to admit." Leon said following a drawn-out sigh. "Nevertheless, it's nice to see you again. First time I have a name to the face. It's a nice one, I have half a mind to ask you on a date if the circumstances weren't so tense." He meant it, Leon gave off a smile as she turned her head away to lead him down toward the Doge.

As Ismette's head turned and her gaze was off of Leon, his expression reverted to reflect his actual mood. The smile gave away to a stern expression and a furrowed brow. Those guards didn't so much as recognise him and what was that comment on constructs. They don't even know it yet? It was another point on the list that bothered Leon. Could the allegiances of the Doge's guard really be so fickle as to hold him at the gates like that? If so, could he really feel safe around them?

Thoughts like that flooded Leon's head as he walked through the passage. But whenever Ismette looked toward him, he was all smiles.

Ismette, of course, smiled right back, for what else could she do? "Were things any different," she replied, "I might take you up on that." She smiled wanly and led him through a double door. She wasn't all that interested in humans, truth be told. They were such stubby things. Still, he was handsome by their standards and troubled and that was how she liked them. "Try to keep that smile of yours up," she added, pausing before the patio door, "he could use it right now." With that, she pushed them open. "Leon Solaire, my Lord Doge."

Prospero was sitting there quietly in repose: clearly a man in thought. At Leon's entrance, he glanced up and offered a perfunctory smile. "Thank you, Ismette. As soon as you can, luncheon, please."

She bowed, and Leon thought he could pick up something... unpracticed about it, maybe even roguish or mocking, but that would be a stretch. "Right away, milord," she replied, and quickly disappeared, shutting the door behind her with a soft 'click'.

The Doge rose and clasped his hands behind his back. There was no greeting. He seemed distracted. "We have been played for fools," he announced, and Leon could feel his patron's favoured sound-deadening spell take effect once more. Prospero nodded tightly. "Well, I have. You bear no fault, of course."

"You, having been tricked? If you don't mind me asking, to what capacity have you been tricked? Surely, you knew the actions at the conclave would spark conflict." Leon took a seat near the Doge. "Or are you really telling me that you had no part in the conclave's result?"

"Oh, that I knew." Prospero smiled grimly. "The thing is, I think Rouis knew as well. I think Rouis planned for it, and those moves were... very much not public information. Sure, Horik made a show of taunting him, but those two were in bed together." He leaned against the balustrade for a moment and crossed his arms. "You know, I'd have actually failed had they stood together, which leads me to a conclusion that I don't like: the Perrench let me take their seat. Seems they and the Eskandish think there's value in being the victims. Seems Rouis wanted something to galvanize his people, and he got it." The Doge half-turned, gazing out over the quiet section of the city in which his villa was located. "I've gotten careless: an old dog with no new tricks. I'd thought Rouis a blunt instrument because I've so consistently outsmarted him, but I've cause to believe it was a gambit on his part. Even that girl - the Perrench girl who stood up and started singing - was too perfect a coincidence. It was planned. Penny Pellegrin: as a fellow student, you wouldn't know anything about her, would you?"

Leon gave out a sigh after the explanation. "With all due respect, the complexities of politics are lost on me nor do I care to learn them. No matter what plays they decided to make at the conclave, the result remains the same does it not? They are going to wage war because they lost their shiny seats. Whether their people are riled up and singing songs will hardly matter when the fighting starts, no?"

"So, I must say I'm confused that you are asking about a fellow student of mine. All she did was stand up and sing. It seems quite understandable given the circumstance. Or do you suppose there is a higher significance to it all?"

Prospero found himself equal parts irked and amused by the boy's reaction, but one wouldn't have been able to see it from his expression or body language. "People fight wars not because things happen, but because they feel some way about what has happened," he said simply. He'd at least have expected a performer to have understood something like that. "But I suppose this is your way of telling me that you don't have an answer," he concluded. "It's no matter... or one for the people I pay to look after those things for me." He'd more or less fed Leon the significance of it all, so either the youth was uncooperative or else he was not so bright as Prospero had thought.

Do people fight wars because they feel like fighting them? Leon found the idea absurd. People fight wars because their leader waves a shiny stick and they don't really have a say in the matter. That's how Leon saw it anyway. They can be as for or against it as they like, but the result remains the same. Perhaps the Doge really has begun slipping. Leon pondered behind a mask of smiles as he went to pick up an apple.

But maybe he had a point, Leon doubted himself. Was it not the true desire of all to seek peace? Maybe it is the desire of most and a show of injustice was needed to bring them to war.

An appetizer arrived presently: bruschetta in the Livernian style, and the Doge ushered Leon to the table. They had only just seated themselves, and the Doge was reaching for his first serving when the air prickled with a subtle intake of magic. A forearm-sized shard of what appeared to be rough-hewn metal hurtled towards him from due east and a second for Leon from a slightly different direction.

Leon was just able to dodge the projectile, but his apple wasn't so lucky. Whoever just tried to kill him got a bullseye on the juicy fruit as it flew by into the wall behind him. Leon spent little time finding cover behind his chair and getting low down to avoid further danger. "Well shit, guess the failed kings aren't the only ones with assassins on their backs. What's the plan Doge?"

Prospero was not proud of himself, but he froze for a moment. It was imperative that no harm come to Leon. He could not allow inaction on his part to leave his hands stained with the youth's blood. "Ismette, in a word." More projectiles flew at them from other directions but the Doge was already drawing. Part of the bannister and all of his meal disintegrated. Shields materialized out of thin air and blocked the projectiles. His skills as a Binder had not atrophied so greatly. He drew the energy from a third wave and, with a kinetic push, shoved the door open. "Inside!" he shouted at Leon. "And if you've any talent for invisibility, now's the time to use it." Indeed, it appeared that the enemy was closing in. At least four nondescript figures, dressed in casual nondescript clothing, were climbing up towards the balcony. Presently, one leapt, grabbed hold of the railing, and pulled himself over.

Something told Leon that he shouldn't show his capabilities to the Doge or the oncoming attackers. His natural instinct is to save them for the most surprising moment like a performer. However, the prospect of giving away information on his own abilities was one that would make him weaker in future encounters. Surely these assailants had no chance of actually succeeding here.

Reaching into a pouch on his side, Leon pulled out three multi-coloured marbles each nesting between the fingers of his right hand. Without delay, he threw them toward the would-be assassins and took a run for the door.

The marbles in flight would gradually shrink and implode as if they were eating themselves. But a growing light emitting from them and the sound of gathering energy made it clear what they were. The products of Binding magic, and volatile ones at that. The balcony erupted in piercing multicoloured light, temporarily blinding anyone who wasn't looking away.

Leon's trick worked a charm. Two of the assailants stumbled, disoriented. The third and fourth paused. Then, in stepped Ismette. It was not hard to feel the magic both drawn and dispelled. All four collapsed, unconscious. The reason woman strode past, flicking some hair over a shoulder, and picked the Doge's table up in a kinetic grasp. This, she hurled at a nearby balcony, and it struck a figure crouching there, knocking it unconscious. It tumbled into some bushed below. Prospero rose to his full height, blinking away the afterimage of Leon's display. Even though he had turned away, the flash had still nibbled at the edges of his vision.

He clapped the youth on the shoulder. "Well done, my boy. Well done indeed." He drew his hand back, twisting around to scan his surroundings. "And you, Ismette. Thank you."

"You're welcome," she replied, with no formality whatsoever. Was that simply the yasoi way? In any event, Prospero continued, after pursing his lips briefly. "That said, this was amateurish stuff." He shook his head. "Unless there is something I'm missing, they couldn't have imagined they'd succeed..." He spared an uneasy glance at Leon. "It is then my working theory that someone is trying to set us, leaders, at each other's throats. They are fanning the flames, looking to capitalize on any ill-feeling leftover from what were purely political manoeuvrings yesterday." His voice turned solemn. "I have fought wars before when I had to, but I do not like them. I do not like deaths. Somebody is trying to start a war, I fear."

"It would appear that way." Leon patted off his clothes from any dirt it may have collected in the short scuffle. Someone trying to start a war was certain, whether the Doge was truly against them Leon was still deciding. "I believe that concludes the lunch. I'm afraid I have studies this afternoon to attend to."

"Some luncheon," Prospero snorted. "I shall make amends for it at some point. For now, however, take some pastries from Rodrigo as you leave." He was going to offer Leon a place listening to the recording that had been made - even now it was being decoded - but he decided not to. The boy was so disaffected as to have lied. There were no classes on Lepdes afternoons. He smiled easily enough, shook Leon's hand, and sent him on his way. "Do you think we can trust him?" Maurizio asked, appearing beside the Doge. Prospero shook his head gently. "Should I have him monitored?" the head guard prodded but, again, the Doge shook his head. "He will serve our purpose well enough as he is: people have seen and will hear how I was nearly assassinated this day. They will now cast their gaze elsewhere when looking for someone to blame."

For a moment, Maurizio looked at him hesitantly. "Out with it, man," Prospero sighed. "Do we know who was actually behind it?" the big man asked and, for the third time, he was met with a gently shaken head. "No, but I have some idea. It appears that one of our allies might not be a friend after all." He clasped his hands behind his back, businesslike, and pivoted. "For now though, go see to our Rezaindians. Make sure they are well healed, fed, and paid. We may yet need their services again."

Leon had been rude to have dismissed himself from the Doge that quick. Even if his trust in the leader was on the rocks, this was a big mistake. He guessed he could chalk it up to the stress of almost having his life taken plus there would be one task he would do for the Doge. Penny Pellegrin. Whether the Doge's intentions were pure or not, he had marked out a fellow student. This meant that she had some significance and was worth keeping an eye on. Luckily as it happened, they were to be in the same group. Could the Doge have played some part in that, Leon chuckled at how convenient it was.

Leon exited the building with the details of his birth in hand, but he was in no rush to read it yet.

At least Leon wasn't lying. Although classes were off for the day, he was continuing his studies. The encounter today further confirmed that Leon needed a way not only to escape to safety but truly defend himself. To do so he would need to study an aspect of the Arcane that he had only dipped his toes into before. Leon would need to learn to wield fire.

Dropping off the tray into the Arch Zeno tower meant Leon’s task for the Doge had been completed. Stepping out into the night air, he found things were anything but peaceful. The commotion was coming from every corner of the city and it was not immediately obvious whether this was the good or bad kind. A deep unease took to Leon’s stomach. Just what exactly went down at the conclave? Considering the string of bad events, Leon didn’t imagine it would have been anything good.

Luckily, a drunken man happened to be passing who was more than willing to update him on the details. It was clear from the accent and spiteful tone in his voice that the man was Perrench. The odd cursing was something he could go without, but it made for a very clear conclusion. Leon was quite the enemy in the eyes of this Perrench drunkard, and there would be plenty more like him.

Leon disengaged from the conversation as soon as he could in search of a more quiet place to think. He strolled the quieter alleys of Mudville while he pondered on his next move. The winds of conflict had risen far earlier than he had expected. It was only a matter of time before Ersand'Ernise turned to violence, if it hadn't already started.

Sure he could flirt around with every party wearing the many masks of Leon. Shedding a tear for the Perrench, having a drink with the Kerremands, and of course having a ball with his ‘fellow Revidians’. Such a thing would be easy for him to do. But it didn’t feel right.

By taking the Doge’s offer to enter Ersand’Ernise, he had taken a side in all this. He couldn’t just play for all parties like before, any support he gave one side would draw stares from another. Frankly, he had no idea how to progress. Leon was a child born and raised in peace. He grew up calling all places his home. Now that war was just about inevitable, what could he really do?

Maybe it would mean more if he didn’t make an appearance tonight. Who knows, maybe the oncoming tide of war would inspire a new song.

Leon swayed his way through the quiet alleys of Mudville, plucking on his lute as he went. Once he reached the Castle, he planned to practice in the mess hall for the rest of the night.

The dinner party continued as normal. Franz paid full attention to Bang and Nazca’s presentations. However, he spent little time thinking about the possibilities they opened up. There was no point in pondering problems he had neither the information or care to solve. The truth of Jeanne’s innocence was not a matter Franz cared for at all. But it was still important to be viewed in a light where that was the case, so he would continue eating while feigning a captivated interest.

Once Inti had finished, Franz reached for a napkin and politely cleaned around his mouth before addressing Bang and Nazca with a pleasant smile. “You two have certainly made a lot of progress for this investigation. It must be quite time consuming, no? I think it is a noble act to suspend your academic goals in the pursuit of justice. With only a short amount of time, we have not a second to lose of course.”

Franz turned to Jeanne. “As for my contribution Jeanne, I implore you to mark out the student record as requested by tonight so I may receive it by mail tomorrow morning. My investigation skill pales in comparison to what Bang and Nazca have demonstrated, but I am good with people. That registry will let me know exactly who’s door to knock on.”

Returning to his meal, Franz didn’t talk much about the investigation for the rest of the night. Instead, he spent the time with inconsequential small talk until it was time for him to depart back to his accommodations.

Franz had no plans to skip curfew. After all he had no method to pass by the locking system effectively. Even if such a thing was in his possession, he had no reason to skip curfew. Franz settled for a bit of violin practice before going to bed and getting a good night's sleep.

Interacting with: Carmilla @Animus

Earlier that day

Leon was one of the first to leave Mathematics class. But instead of heading to lunch immediately, Leon waited at the door watching the exiting students go by. It seems he was looking for someone specific. Once Carmilla had crossed his path, he moved to politely pull her aside.

"Carmilla, if I could have a moment of your time. I was hoping that we could have lunch together. Just you and me." Leon took a pause before realising what he had said. "Unfortunately, I'm not asking you on a date. I believe we have some important things to discuss that could use some... privacy." He was glad he cleared that up. If she had thought it was a date and found it was something else, well, Leon didn't think she would take it well. Carmilla was so nice after all.

"It would be a pleasure to have lunch with you," she responded.

In truth, it was not a pleasure. As a result of maintaining appearances, Carmillia was still experiencing fatigue from Conversion class with Zeno Afraval. Her below-average capacity combined with her unique usage of magic that did not require much energy meant she was not particularly gifted in drawing much energy.

Though Zeno Afraval had specified to stop drawing at the slightest effects of fatigue from capacity drawing, Carmillia had continued past that in order to match up to the results of her peers.

"Do you have any place in mind for us to have this discussion?" she asked.

Experience from meeting fans had keyed Leon in on a few skills. Carmilla had some minor tension in her shoulders. It was obvious this was nervousness from being alone with a star such as himself. But she had no need to worry, Leon would try to set her mind at ease. "Please, it is nothing so special. Just a simple talk between friends. Although the subject matter won't be so savoury I'm afriad."Leon made eye contact with her and gave a reassuring smile. "But as it so happens, I do have a place in mind."

Despite her attempt to conceal it, it seemed that Leon had noticed her fatigue and consequently formed a misunderstanding. Carmillia rolled her eyes inwardly but let the matter rest.

"Please show the way," she said.

Leon lead Carmilla outside into the small grassy area outside of the Academy building they were in. He settled beneath a large tree providing plenty of shade from the dour weather. "I hope you don't mind us talking outdoors. I am particularly comfortable in the open, but I am happy to go back inside if you so wish."

"I'm happy with our current environment," she responded. It would be a hassle to head back into the school and search for a private spot. All she wanted at the moment was to catch a breather and focus on what Leon wanted to talk about.

"But onto the matter at hand, I wanted to talk to you about Jomurr" Leon explained. his typical showman expression fading to a more serious Leon. "I think you already know what I'm referring to."

"I do," she responded.

Given both of them had an abberation appear on their respective nightstands, it only made sense if one did appear for Jomurr as well. The only link between her and Leon was that they were fellow Biros and that also applied to Jomurr.

"It's possible he thought he was the only one to receive an abberation. It must have caught him off guard when you brought it up," she said. "I doubt he has any links to the Traveler and simply wanted to improve his own magic capacity."

She paused.

"It's possible Zeno Fades-in-Moonlight is already aware of this."

"Yes, I had initially considered the Traveller. Considering our lack of noble blood, it would be likely the Traveller would leave Jomurr out of the oppurtunity. However, I don't know if you have kept up with the rumours from yesterday and this morning, but it wasn't just us. Plenty of students woke up to an abberation yesterday morning. Some others kept quiet in any discussion about it. Should these rumours be true, perhaps every student could have received the offer."

Such rumors had indeed been spreading. The morning lessons were filled with hush discussions from other students regarding abberations. Carmillia nodded.

Leon leaned back and gave a drawn out exhale. "My apologies, that was quite a mouthful. I would be lying if I said that this whole thing hadn't been weighing on my mind all morning." With a chuckle, he pulled out an apple and started eating.

"As for Zeno Luna, I have not considered her involvement. Whats your impression of her?"

"I doubt she was involved in placing the abberations, if that's what you're asking," she answered. "That said, she probably knows much more about it than she's letting up on. It's likely there's a relation to the assasination attempt."

The persona that Leon Solaire often displayed did not strike her as one to possess intrigue towards such matters. She had suspicions before but her opinion of him was starting to consolidate around the fact he was no mere charlatan.

"Do you perhaps know something as well?" she asked.

Leon took a pause considering whether he should disclose more information to Carmilla. He had no reason to doubt her. In fact, considering she didn't touch her abberation, he was inclined to trust the girl.

"You know I have been questioning whether the attack at the plaza is all there was. Having our memories wiped is some powerful magic for it to just be defused. No one was caught and nothing notably bad happened. That is strange to me."

"I doubt this has much connection to the abberations but it is a scary thought none the less. Two strange dangerous events happening within less than a day is not a good sign."

Leon took a good pause to let that sink in. "I trust you Carmilla. I trust that this conversation doesn't spread further than us two until we find others with the same goals."

It looked like Leon had placed the pieces together as well. As far as Carmillia could tell, most of the students had not noticed anything, given she had heard no rumors about the matter.

"Your trust is in good hands," she reassured him.

Although Carmillia most definitely did not possess the same goals as the performer, this was an oppurtunity to get more involved with events that were conspiring in Ersand'Enise. For all the previous oppurtunities that Leon had nipped in the bud for her, he was now presenting her with a new one. The Sunblessed taketh and the Sunblessed giveth, she thought.

"It's clear that we should do something. Do you perhaps already have something planned in mind?" she asked.

Leon took a noticable pause to ponder what Carmilla had asked him. He had plenty planned was the obvious and honest answer. But it was questionable whether he should tell another student considering it involved the Doge. Even then, Leon was only following his orders to get some information out of the Arch Zeno's tower. As far as the rest of the events, he was in the dark and helpless as anybody else.

"Am I supposed to have anything planned? I came here to learn magic not topple some great magical conspiricy. I mean lets say one of the Arch Zeno's is in kahoots with the Traveller and he plans to erase the five rulers. What are we going to do, sprinkling colourful lights in his face?" Leon joked with a laugh at the end.

"To answer your question, I have nothing planned for now. I just wish to define a circle of trust. Maybe with enough of us, we stand a chance of against what's to come. If the abberations and assassinations are anything to go by, there could be danger on the horizon."

Is he truly just trying to play at being a hero? She pondered. It was possible to see shadows of his real personality when he had his guard down but that in itself was a problem. It meant if Leon was focused on lying, there were no telltale signs. It was probably a result of years of experience as a performer.

"I see. Yes, there is strength and safety in numbers," she responded.

"I'm glad you agree. This could be the start of a good partnership. I'll be thinking up group names should this circle start expanding." Leon joked as he stood up from the conversation. "With that, I would say were are just about out of time. I wish you good luck in your next classes."

Carmilia nodded courteously.

"See you soon, Leon."

Franz had been quiet for the beginning of the dinner with the other students. It had been a taxing day, first cleaning then studying spiders. He had little to contribute to the investigation so far. He only had about half an hour to an hour to look over the student records before he was due to dine. Franz brought one copy to the meeting and left the other behind in his room for personal use.

After hearing Ryuuko talk, Franz politely set down his cutlery and began addressing the group. “I suppose I should start then. My presentation should be short enough.”

“On the table is a completed registry of the students in Bermuda. As you skimmed over, you will have noticed that there are photographic records of the students along with their nationality.” Franz turned his attention to Jeanne. “Miss Bordeaux, I have done you the liberty of underlining Egoists of a distinctly inhuman appearance as well as people of French nationality.”

“The former is in regards to the Egoist that you had seen earlier. Due to the varying quality of the photos it may be hard to see full facial features, so only cross out Egoists who are distinctly not the creature you saw that night.”

“The latter is in regards to the gunman or potential conspirators. I have marked out students of French nationality, but students of other nations can apply. This is simply identifying students who have may have reason to act against you to this degree.”

“That is all.” Franz said nonchalantly as he returned to eating.

Interacting with: Carmilla @Animus Luna and Ikon @Force and Fury

Leon sat at breakfast with the rest of his team and Zeno Luna. On the surface, he seemed happy and content. Eating in a blissful manner as if nothing was wrong. As if an abberation wasn't found on a night stand this morning.

Put who placed it? His first suspect was Luna, of course. After her display of dark magic, perhaps she saw fit to provide him with a morning abberation snack. Equally, Leon found the possibility quite likely that the others in his group would have received the same 'gift'. Outside of that, it was possible someone had snuck into the home. But first he had to confirm how the others had reacted to it; and there was a simple way to find out.

"Ah, I almost forgot." Leon said in a cheerful voice as he gave a flick of the wrist. A replica image of the apple sized abberation appeared in the middle of the breakfast table. "Anyone else see an abberation in their room this morning?" His expression a more serious focus as he went to analyse how the three would react to this sudden placement.

In truth, Jomurr had seen an aberration on his nightstand. It had been the size of a small firemelon and he had absorbed before a servant or lesser magic user like Carmillia might've. It was both his privilege and solemn duty as a member of the nobility, after all. he had to protect them. Of course, he wished he hadn't. That was only the second one he'd seen in his life, and the first had been much larger - the size of a man - so he and his brother had wisely avoided it. Truly, he wished he'd done so with this one too. His head pounded and it was an effort not look at Leon's poor approximation of an aberration with some eagerness.

He shook his head innocently. "I... an aberration?" he responded, concern in his voice. "Certainly not." He stared at it, face equal parts wonder and worry, or so he hoped it appeared. "There's one in your room right now?" he continued. Quickly, he turned to Carmillia, "This is ill news," he declared. "Did you, too, encounter one?"

For her part, Luna placed her utensils back on her plate, glanced at Leon uneasily, and then at Carmillia. "I'm gonna second that question and then, regardless of the answer, we're going upstairs and checking this out."

"I did encounter one," Carmillia responded. "It's still there upon my nightstand. I was planning on bringing it up once we were done with the meal."

Of course he gets in the way again, she thought.

Carmillia had briefly contemplated absorbing the abberation when she saw it but had quickly waived away the thought. She knew of abberations and that they've been known to appear everywhere. That said, it was far too much of a coincidence for it to appear on her nightstand. The memory manipulation on their first day had wounded her pride. She was a player, not a pawn.

Given that none of the townhome's residents tended to violate the privacy of the others, she had planned on leaving the abberation there till she had more information. That plan was now ruined thanks to Leon. The only silver lining was that her suspicions were now confirmed. The abberation had not occured naturally.

"I'll lead the way," she said.

Carmillia started heading towards her room.

Leon assessed the developing situation as he sipped his drink. He could conclude that Luna was not the one responsible. Her response would be out of place for someone trying to lie about it. As for the other two, Carmilla also saw an abberation and didn't touch it where Jomurr 'certainly did not'.

On the assumption the Traveller was responsible for this, it would make sense that Jomurr was left out given his noble blood. But on the other hand, Jomurr could have absorbed his abberation and lied about it. That conclusion left up the question of who is responsible for the small abberations. For now, Leon could not be certain of it one way or the other.

Leon could at least take comfort that Carmilla had equally ignored the temptation of abberant power. She was the only one here he felt comfortable trusting.

"And I will follow." Leon left his seat taking his last bit of bread from breakfast with him to follow Carmilla.

When they reached Leon's room, it took Jomurr only moments before realizing that the aberration before him was noticeably smaller than the one that had occupied his nightstand this morning. The alarm on the Zeno's face was palpable but, at this point, he scarcely trusted her. In fact, he did not even trust that she wasn't involved in the spreading of these aberrations. Already, she had sought to turn him and his fellow apprentices against the academy. She had used what she claimed was Dark Magic. She had lied through her teeth about the nature of Anna's disappearance. He did not have any proof, but he sensed it on a gut level. Perhaps she was with the Traveler and perhaps she was not, but Moonlight had her own agenda, hidden beneath a mask of casual, disarming, and nonthreatening disregard for protocol.

"This is... strange," she said, examining the thing for a moment. "I suppose you don't have any idea when it appeared, do you?"

Presently, they moved to Carmillia's room, and Jomurr noted that her aberration was smaller still, almost as if each person's aberration had been tailored for them. And if you put them there, he thought, you know that I absorbed mine. You know that I did my duty as a noble. Was this some sort of test?

"In any any event," Moonlight announced, "It was good that you didn't touch these. As a greyborn, they're no bother for me, but they can do horrible things to some people, I'm afraid." She regarded each of them, in turn, and lingered on Jomurr for perhaps a half-second longer. She shifted uncomfotably and stalked to the doorway. "For now, the hour is less early than it was. You should be off to your classes. It's your first day. Enjoy yourselves. I have people to talk to and questions to ask. I will handle this."

There was something almost... earnest about her tone, and for the dozenth time since he had known her, Jomurr wondered if he had not misjudged her. He shook his head slightly to clear it. "Yes," he replied, "you are correct and I bow to your wisdom. It will do us no good to linger on such grim matters, though I am curious to see what comes of your research and I remember your promise to be 'an open book' with us." Without anything further to say, he prepared to return downstairs, ready to head out the door and begin his day in earnest.

Leon left the house satisfied with the exchange. There were still plenty of questions left open about his companions, but he wouldn't get much more answers for the time being. It was off to classes now.

The school day was rather bland for Leon. Starting off with Mozaru’s test in sensing and drawing. Leon had taken a window seat and was currently as shirtless as he was every morning. This made displaying his drawing capability easy as he was doing it throughout the entire class.

Equally, Serra’s Avincian class was another breeze. Pick an adjective to describe himself in Revidian and Avincian? Well, Leon knew how to say magnificent in ten different languages. So for the majority of the class, Leon spent at a window seat absorbing the sun’s rays.

The way Giarrone ran his class had piqued Leon’s interest. Hearing others’ reasons for exploring a specific type of magic had illuminated him to all the different desires that draw someone to magic in the first place. His interest was held the whole time as he listened to the others describe their reasons for learning Binding magic. Unfortunately, Leon had little to say when it came around to him. Binding magic was not his primary interest when it came to magic and he had hardly seen all it had to offer. When asked to share, Leon answered honestly that Binding was an extension of Arcane magic to him. Allowing him to extend his abilities in another school further rather than using binding for its commonly intended purposes.

Leon had been looking forward to learning Arcane from a master. So he was hit with an overwhelming sense of disappointment when he attended Kedd’s class. Magic is absolutely not a science, it is an art form. Clearly, this teacher could comprehend the true beauty of magic if he were to say silly things like that. At least the Zeno was right about one thing, reading and effort were the best ways to master it.

Finished with orientation, Leon spent the rest of the afternoon sitting under a tree in the Arboretum. He snacked on an apple while practising his lute. It was oddly quiet compared to Leon’s recent endeavours. Perhaps he was getting some alone time in while he could. The nighttime was approaching and it would be anything but serene.

Once Leon felt inclined to begin moving into his dormitory, he left the park.

Leon was happy to have received such a big room for himself at the castle. He certainly didn’t mind having to stay in the commoner's district, especially when his friends in high places could arrange something like this. Leon got to work moving into his room.

First were the large closet and drawers where he began packing in his clothes. Neatly folded pants and shirts were placed in the drawers while particularly extravagant garments were hung up with the capes, which were ordered intently by colour. Next was the bookshelf, which left something to be desired. Frankly, it was too large. While Leon had a reasonable collection of books, the unused space made Leon look… uneducated. Perhaps he could pick up various tomes just to fill it up. Third, setting up the large mirror, squeaky clean and without a smudge. A table to the side held jewellery and valuables. Next to that was another larger table with arcane trinkets and tools for magical practice and applications. Finally, a large double bed which Leon took meticulous effort to make nicely.

By the time Leon had finished moving in it was already dinner time. With an excited grin and lute in hand, the boy descended the stairs to the mess hall to meet his company for the night.

It was to be the first night in the dormitories and Leon wasn’t wasting the opportunity to make a strong first impression. During dinner, he encouraged other students to enjoy the wine with their meal while he played a tune.

One drink, two drink, three drink, four. Leon plays his lute and they ask for more. Dinner had come and passed, but few had gone. Most of the students were still around drinking, the party was on.

It wasn’t long before the drinks had hit the crowd and Leon had little need to maintain his lute performance. Instead, the tempo of the night was held up by the rhythmic clapping of the crowd. Leon danced on the floor, the tables, with girl, with guy. He danced until his legs hurt then he danced some more. But this behaviour wasn’t brought on by the alcohol, no, it was from Leon’s passion for the art itself. Which was being displayed for all to see.

At one point, Leon pulled his now-famous trick. He lit his cape on fire and danced while it burnt up the fabric to his neck, drawing upon the power of the flame the whole way. It was risky. Given that he was fully sober the last time he performed it, there was a decent risk of Leon burning himself. But hey, he was a lucky guy. The finale came with a flash, but then he continued.

It was the early hours of Ipte when Leon finally finished. The dance had become more reminiscent of tired mass hysteria at this point and he was fine with throwing in the towel. He was more than impressed at those still standing and invited some to his room if they felt so inclined.

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