Toby's expression lit up. "I'm taking Familiar Summoning and Healing too," he said eagerly, his tongue forgetting its usual practice of sticking to the roof of his mouth as his unease diminished. "I've done some of my own research on summoning - I bet you'll like it."
Despite the fact that she looked a fair amount younger than he, she seemed so friendly and personable that he felt they might get along fine.
Dante, on the other hand appeared to be studiously remaining aloof. He tried to engage the boy in the conversation by fishing for the first thing he could think of, "That's c--cool. My brother's a tracker. It's really practical..."
He paused, clearing his throat as he considered the easiest way to answer Sam's question, rather glad that she evidently had a low enough regard for family names to forget his already (especially since he didn't even know what their family was known for), but simultaneously apprehensive that she recognized it. He walked a delicate tightrope between not wanting to dodge the subject or act ashamed or evasive...while being totally ashamed and evasive.
"And it's Schippers. We're runecasters - mostly, nothing special, honestly, and ah..." Better to just own it, he decided. "...maybe you know--" (Or know of,
he thought) "--my older brother, the one I just mentioned? Spire, he...he ran with the Alpha-Omega unit in the war, if you've heard of them, and--""Now, then. If everyone is ready..."
Saved by the proverbial bell before he got to the gritty part. With a half-apologetic smile, and a 'hold on a sec' gesture of his index finger, Toby turned his attention back to Madison, keeping his eyes on the presentation - more or less expected information, except when Madison changed the screen. He sat up extra straight at the room assignments, combing his memory for family names and who he might do best to avoid.
Percival Pelacour would be his roommate. That, at least, was a name Toby recognized...a fairly benign name, for his circumstance. He glanced around at the other students, wondering if he would be able to recognize the Pelacour if he spotted him, or if they would have to get acquainted later.
As they were dismissed, Toby turned his head back to smile at Sam and Dante. "So it looks like a nice c--c----campus," he remarked, hoping that (despite the fact that he struggled so hard with the C his shoulder rose up to his ear in the strain) he had offered a neutral enough statement to leave it in their hands whether to respond with either a polite goodbye or an offer to go check out the grounds together...
And off-topic enough to keep his family name from coming up again.@caliban22