Human psychology class had been cancelled for the day and instead assigned them the task of viewing their partner's first day in the Spell Theory Lab. The point of the exercise was observation and evaluation; learn to identify when your mage was struggling or insecure so a vampire could smooth over any potential problems before they festered. Watching mages learn to separate an instinctive part of themselves would present an opportunity to note the physical tells of their frustrations without the distraction of serving.
Each Spell Theory Lab boasted a viewing area as comfortable as Affinity Masteries, several full couches a step above a row of chairs and side tables that lined the edge. Unlike the other, this viewing area was set back into the wall rather than protruding out over it and a glass pane separated the vampires from the mages. Most of the class had filed in by now. Most of the vampires took the couches, more interested in themselves than their mages as they discussed the various rumors flying around about the recent murders. A few sat at the edge, watching with interest as the mages made their attempts. One, a woman with red hair braided neatly and pinned in a coil on her head, took a quick photo with a subdued chuckled and tapped out a message on her phone. Once she was done, she sighed to herself and tucked the phone away as she watched the group below.
Captivating an audience was what Eris lived for, and today was no exception. He did want to check in on the kid after everything he went through to get him his stuff, but right now, he needed to work. During the break, he worked with the princess as promised and managed to keep the talk of murder to a minimum outside of the academy. That said, he couldn’t do too much inside of it. What he could do, though, was turn the tide where he wanted it to be. And what better way of absolving the guards’ incompetence by blaming someone else?
Honestly, it was too easy. A suggestion here, a gasp there, Eris was all too happy to stroke the fires. Rumors were handy so long as you knew just what to say and who to say it to. He had to admit that he had really outdone himself this time, but really, at some point he would have to spread the misery away from the Eves--someone was going to start thinking he was biased or something. By the time he was done, Eris had to actively suppress his grin. Wherever Mariette Eve was now, she was going to be remembered for being responsible for the entire fiasco.
Once he was sure that the rumor mill would get the rest of the work going, Eris parted from the group and strolled over to the glass. He squinted down at the armor-wearing mage of his, almost rolling his eyes at seeing who his partner was. What a coincidence. He’d worry that Alderman was going to stab him at some point, but eh. Stress-induced outbursts were easy to write off.
At least he didn't have to sit through another overview of human psychology. Getting back on the good side of the instructor to make up for the few times he was late seemed to help. Victor had noticed several instructors that seemed to treat him different since that night on the rooftop. They were subtle in ways he wasn't expecting, a casual hello here or a respectful greeting there. Perhaps it could have been something else and he was just now realizing that they were doing this. Just another thing he was unsure of.
He did hope that Ryner would at least attempt to do what he asked, telling her that as far as he is concerned nothing happened that night and she doesn't owe him anything. However, he did mention that if she could get this investigation with his mage over quicker it would help him out. He noticed Salem does better when he doesn't stress as much.
The room to the observatory was quite busy today, everyone seemed to be talking all about the recent happenings and murders. Rumors and misinformation abound through all the giggles and hushed whispers. The only familiar face’s in this room he could see was a redhead, that he couldn't quite remember why she was familiar, and Eris. He wasn't quite sure why he had a distaste for the actor, he knew that Eris was an actor but never really saw any of the movies he was in.
Choosing to at least be civil, the count chose a spot next to Eris and peered down toward the mages below. He could clearly see his mage and Eris’s mage wearing what looked to be armor, “your ability for fashion and getting others to look good in anything always impresses me.”
Victor thought he should start off with a compliment, he could have more awkward silences at another time, “I’m sure without it he would look like he was wearing a tin can.”
he spoke the last part with a smile but didn't look up to Eris as he talked.
If Eris’ eyebrows went up any higher, they’d probably disappear into his hair. Victor Astorio in the flesh and deigning
to speak to him? Actually, this was probably the first time they’ve spoken to one another without anyone else around, or at least, the first time the count approached him. The current excuse for conversation was because their mages were paired together--he forgot that Flower Boy had been reassigned to the Astorio--but he’d be lying if he said he didn’t appreciate the compliment.
Feliks had outdone himself as always with Maxwell looking like a proper mage that just forgot to comb his hair. That was probably going to be the best he could get unless it was a formal event and it honestly just wasn’t worth the hassle. “He’s still a work in progress, but he’ll get there,”
Eris replied, deciding to turn his attention to the hulk of an Astorio. “And how goes it for Spelman? Has he finally adjusted to life as an Astorio mage or does he continue to chafe?”
The vampires reaction made him smirk slightly, he only had to glance over at him once to see his surprise. This was a bit out of character for him after all. “He's doing alright. As long as he keeps up with his physical training and courtesies classes.”
again Victor glanced over at the actor, he honestly wasn't the best conversationalist but at the very least he could try.“I have been meaning to thank you for keeping an eye on him during that unfortunate night.”
he spoke softly while turning his attention back to the mages below. “At least now the council will take care of that vampire. No negative psychological effects from your mage after that night either?”
His question was genuine. Seeing blood and gore brothers even some vampires and can have lasting effects on humans as well.
Even if Eris could read the little grump's mind, he was pretty sure the only thing he would see was his usual disdain for vampires and focus on magic. He was almost dismissive of the question, but Astorio had a point. Ugh, he was going to have to check on the kid, wasn't he? Maybe he didn't need to, he could approach the topic cautiously, and if he was told to fuck off then he would know things were fine and that would absolve him of any responsibility. Perfect.
Either way, at least the count was a little more grateful than someone
who would not be named that only ended up snipping at him. As if he didn't have his arm twisted enough! It was almost not even worth it, but it wasn't like he could undo the night. "I couldn't leave him by himself,"
Eris admitted. "The dorm was lively with him and the Starag kid accompanying my mage. They're like peas in a pod.
" A very annoying trio of peas, but that wasn't the point. "Hopefully Spellman felt comfortable. He was polite enough, but a little stiff the entire time. Thought he would be a little more relaxed since Alderman is one of his partners for Treaty Law, but given what happened...it's understandable." “Like myself politics will always be a touch and go subject for him. His ability to think idle chatter amongst the upper echelons of nobility is just that will get us both in trouble.”
a slow sigh escaped the Astorio, that was the truth after all neither of them did well in those subjects. The difference being Victor knew when to keep his mouth shut. “It's not always the funnest thing to do, pry into their emotions. But just the simple part of asking can go a long way sometimes. Even if it’s just fake caring.”
he seemed to be speaking from experience on the subject.
Victor sought to change the focus of the conversation slightly, “How's his training coming along? Metal mages are very useful and dangerous. Some say even as dangerous as a light mage.”
he was curious to see if the actor was doing anything out of class for his mage. Keeping them focused on school could sometimes alleviate stress and other emotional factors in other places. But he could only assume it depended on the mage.Both
of them were bad with politics? Well, that pair was screwed. Eris looked up at the ceiling before focusing on Victor, perching his chin on the palm of his hand. You could only fake something for so long, but that wasn’t any of his business. “He has a vendetta against the world; I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up at the top of his class out of sheer spite,”
Eris mused. “He’s getting a hang on some footwork and practicing with the Starag has helped.”
Tapping his knee, he decided to ask, “And what of yours? I’ve noticed some improvement in muscle definition...looks like he’s on his way to Brawnsville.”
A smirk crossed his lips as he listened to Eris talk about his mage, “at least you won't have to worry about will power. I’m sure Varis can give you some tips on how to focus that vendetta to be constructive.”
he was aware of the friendship between Eris and Varis but wasn't entirely sure to what end that friendship went. “Yes he is doing well. Keeping up with his scheduled workouts and diet.”
Victor pondered about going into further detail for a moment, deciding that a little more about him wouldn't hurt.
“I require all my mages to have a good amount of strength and endurance. My job and by extension their job, is not easy. It's tiring, sometimes boring, and almost always uncomfortable.
” he took a moment to glance around again before continuing. “That and it helps with their stress relief, confidence on and off the field, and looks.”
The Astorio seemed to be pondering a question and how to phrase it. “Tell me your opinion on something and I don't mean to be rude. What movie would you recommend someone watch if they have never seen any of yours?”
Eris raised an eyebrow as he spoke. Who knew the Astorios cared about looks? Then again, from the stuff he's heard, there certainly are vampires who are interested in their mage's physical appearances intimately
. Maybe this Astorio was one of them. Well, he was succeeding if he was trying to make Flower Boy more presentable, but short of chucking out the entire closet, he wasn't sure how far he would get.
At the next question, he sat up a little, fingers tapping his knee. "Probably The Blood War. It's still my most successful film to date,"
Eris admitted, flicking some hair out of his eyes. "If you don't mind the bastardization of Landar Starag's tale and inaccurate information with some entertainment magic, it's a pleasant watch,"
He said fondly, letting out a sigh. "The war scenes were some of my favorites."“Thank you, I haven't seen a film in quite a long time. Maybe I'll have Salem get something like that going for one of his rest days.”
pausing again for a moment looking down at their mages he smirked with an absolutely wicked idea. “If you would like, I can have Salem get Max after schools done for the day and put him through some of his exercises. I'm sure he would hate it.”
the count couldn't help but snicker at the very idea of seeing that one go through them. “We don't do any hands on combatives unless we are in the arena. All we do is a lot of strength training and some defensive tactics. Mostly just for learning forms.”“You can try, but…”
Eris trailed off, already acutely aware of how much he hated sparring with Sunny as it was. “I can’t guarantee he’ll go along. He isn’t a big fan of any of the mages in his group.”
Flower Boy and whoever the other one was were the only mages Alderman interacted with because he had to, though if there were others, Eris had no idea.
Instead, he decided to turn it around. “You’re awfully interested in mages, aren’t you?”
The blond asked, eyeing Victor warily. “My interest is training, that's what I was told to do before I came here. My father, Vincent Astorio, doesn't believe that anyone here can properly fight.”
not technically a lie but not the entire truth either. “That and since I can't physically encourage them here, seeing them suffer even a little by this makes my night. You have to enjoy the little things sometimes.”
The count couldn't help but smile remembering Salem's first few days with the workout schedule. “But in that case, I'll have Salem invite Max but I won't make him if you're not worried about it.”
That was a lot of effort all things considered. Eris’ expression remained neutral as he looked back down to the pair, closing his eyes for a moment. It wasn’t that the count had nothing to offer, but it was awfully kind for an Astorio to just offer something for nothing in return. When he opened his eyes, he stared at Victor long and hard, as if trying to read his face. He straightened up as he crossed his arms.“I suppose we take what we can get,”
Eris said dryly, unconvinced. “Do as you please. I’ll assume you expect little in return considering who we’re talking about.”“I hope you don't take my suggestion without payment as an insult, i do believe i could get something out of it from you. It's just I don't believe that I will get anything out of this for a while. With that being said, if he does happen to save your ass at some point and if someone asks where he learned to fight. Perhaps you might say he learned it from a certain Astorio.”
Victor let that last part sink in for a moment seeing that the class time was running out. “I do not wish to be a headhunter forever.”
at least this time he wasn't lying. Perhaps working as an instructor like that would give him more things to do with the occasional head hunter job would at least change up his routine. “I hope you have a good evening Eris, I'll let you know what i thought of the movie.”
The blonde's lips tightened in a straight line, looking completely unamused by the statement. Really now, the count was either psychic or arrogant. Eris was not
in the business of owning anyone anything, if Alderman decided to go along with whatever the hell the Astorio count offered, that would be squarely on his own shoulders. Eris wasn't stupid enough to owe any Astorio anything, and even if it was trivial, he wasn't going to let his guard down for anything. He let out a polite laugh, standing from his seat and casting a wary eye over the count."You do that and whatever else you want. Good evening,
" He said, promptly taking his leave of the conversation.
Watching the other vampire slowly become annoyed at his antics with a smile on his face. Victor couldn't wait to see just how much of this gets back to varis. This also helped him realize that being completely blunt with his suggestions probably wasn't the best way to go about the whole favor thing. Still so much to learn.