Character Name: Anyu
Time of Day: Late morning to early afternoon
Location: Auditorium of the main hall to the classroom to the practice fields
Interacting with: Everyone, in a sense
The rest of the morning leading up to the beginning of their class passed by like a whirlwind to Anyu as she tagged along with Marius’s group. Their first stop had been the quartermaster’s office so that anyone in their group that hadn’t already picked up their uniforms could do so as Tiana had suggested. The uniform itself was a relatively simple affair and consisted of a forest green robe that was trimmed with a lighter green cloth, sturdy brown trousers, a scarf of golden cloth and a pair of leather gloves for colder weather, a light gold shirt, a belt with a symbol of a tree spreading its branches in the dawn on the buckle, and a pair of sturdy black boots. In order to help students keep cool in the humid heat of Alsijan, most of the uniform was made using cotton.
Despite being told quite often that she and the other students needed to pick up their uniforms, Anyu found it hard to believe that the Guild would just provide them all with enough sets of clothing to last them a week. Though some of the other students might have felt that the uniforms were lacking in quality, they were leagues better than the ratty, oversized tunic Anyu had been wearing since being found by Ilya what felt like forever ago. She was also pleasantly surprised to find that the uniform fit her tiny frame rather well, with the only issue being that it was a little too long in the arms and torso. They had even remembered to leave a hole in the trousers for her tail to go through!
Once everyone in their group had changed into one of their uniforms, with the rest to be delivered to their dorm rooms later in the day, they made their way to the nearest dining hall in order. Considering it was still somewhat early on in the day, the dining hall was occupied by a good number of students who were also planning on breakfasting. Fortunately, there were still enough open seats that Anyu and the rest of Marius’s group were able to sit together once they had obtained their food. Seeing as how none of them really knew each other all that well, there wasn’t a ton of conversation that took place while they ate their respective meals, a turn of events for which Anyu was grateful.
After everyone in their group had finished eating, they proceeded to the auditorium of the main hall for the orientation of the new students and were able to get seats in the middle of the rows. New students, most of them from other houses, continued to trickle in and fill in the rows around them while they waited for the orientation to begin. Sitting there, Anyu took the opportunity to observe her surroundings. She could see almost immediately that the auditorium itself was quite spacious and was easily able to hold many time more students than were probably going to be attending the orientation. The space as a whole was dominated by the large stage in front of the rows of seating, which was an impression that was only enhanced by the fact that it was well illuminated by magical lights. Before Anyu could look around at much else, however, a tall woman wearing a dark blue robe that was chased with silver embroidery walked onto the stage and up to the podium of dark wood in the center.
”Good morning, everyone!” the lithe human woman standing behind the podium said, her warm tone cutting through the chatter of the students assembled before the stage she was on. Smiling, the woman pushed a lock of her strawberry blonde hair over her ear while she waited for the students to quiet themselves sufficiently. Once she was certain that she would be able to be heard without shouting, she continued. ”I believe that some of you may have already met me, but for those who haven’t had that opportunity, I am your Headmistress for the year, Maryn Bashan. While I am here mostly to give you a brief overview of the rules that the Guild feels should be stressed the most, I wanted to say a few words of encouragement first.”
”Some of you here may be feeling that your acceptance as a student was a mistake and that you aren’t talented or smart enough to become a fully-fledged mage,” the Headmistress continued, her bright green eyes sweeping across the students gathered before her periodically as if making sure that they were listening attentively. ”I want you to push those feelings aside. If you don’t, they’ll only get in your way and cause you to stumble. Instead, focus on the opportunity that you have been given to study here. The Mage’s Guild of Alsijan is one of the most prestigious magical organizations in the world with a rich history that stretches back centuries. Each of our teachers and mentors possesses a vast wealth of knowledge that they are eager and willing to share with you. Take advantage of that and continue pushing forwards.”
The Headmistress paused and nodded to the group of attendants at the back of the room before continuing. As she spoke, the people from the back of the room dispersed and began traveling down the aisles and handing out stacks of books for the students to pass along the rows they were seated in. ”With that said, we’ll now move on and go over some of the more important rules that you’ll have to abide by while you’re a student here. To avoid taking up too much of your time, we aren’t going to go over every rule in detail. Those will be covered by the handbooks that are being passed out to everyone right now. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that ignorance of the rules is no excuse for not following them! Make sure that you read the handbook and understand the rules of the Guild if you want to avoid disciplinary action.”
Anyu listened attentively as the Headmistress proceeded to discuss some of the rules that she had been alluding to throughout the presentation, like the ban on using magic in the dormitories, so that she wouldn’t accidentally break any of them. As it was, she was probably going to have to ask one of the other students to tell her the less important rules because of the fact that she couldn’t read a word of the book that they had been provided with. Hopefully, Anyu wouldn’t end up breaking any of the more obscure rules in her ignorance and getting into trouble.
True to her word, the Headmistress didn’t spend all that much time going over the rules that they were expected to follow as students. ”I want to thank you all for your time. I know that this kind of stuff isn’t very interesting, even if it is important,” she said as she wrapped up. ”From here, everyone will split up into their respective Houses and go to their first lesson with their House mentor. Attendants at the back are holding up placards with the House symbols on them. Go and find the one that matches your House so they can take you to the appropriate classroom. Thanks again and have a great time this year!”
Even before the Headmistress had finished speaking, some of the other students in the auditorium were beginning to stand up and start making their way to the back of the room where the attendants were standing. Though the chaos meant that things probably took longer than they really should have, everyone eventually made it to the attendant that was holding the symbol of the House before being lead to the classroom where they would have their first lecture as students of the Guild.
As it turned out, House Meadowmist’s class was on the second floor in a spacious classroom that had a wonderful view of the dormitories they had come from. The classroom itself was probably rather typical for organizations like the Mage’s Guild at the time, consisting of a number of desks arranged in rows for the students to sit and take notes at and a large board of black glass that had been imbued so that it glowed wherever the teacher wrote on it with a similarly enchanted stylus. Of course, there was also a wooden podium at the front of the room for the teacher to lay their notes and other belongings down while they taught.
Their teacher was already sitting in the room on one of the desks and consulting his notes when the attendant directed them through the door. The mentor of House Meadowmist was a Wood Elf man with short, curly dark brown hair and a clean-shaven face. Though he, like most everyone, towered over her, Anyu could tell that he was a little on the shorter side compared to some of the other elves that she had met so far. Upon seeing them enter, he rose to his feet gracefully and gave them a large smile. ”Ah, there you all are,” he said jovially, gesturing for them to all take a seat. ”Hopefully that whole orientation business wasn’t too boring for you. Marwyn is usually pretty good as keeping those things moving, but it can feel like they drag on for an eternity.”
Once everyone was seated, the man continued. ”Hello everyone. My name is Denolin Elmrock, but feel free to call me Den. I’m sure you’ve already introduced yourselves and gotten to know each other a bit, so we’ll just move onto the lecture,” Den said as he moved to the board and grabbed the slim stylus. He wrote “The Basics of Magic” at the top of the leftmost part of the board before he spoke again. ”I’m going to apologize in advance if this is a review for any of you here, but just bear with me. Not everyone has had the same prior education in how to use magic. Don’t worry though, after lunch you’ll be attending a more hands-on class where you’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities so that we can see how far along you are.
“Though it may seem mysterious and strange, the act of using magic is really just the manipulation of the energy that makes up our world. This energy is called mana. There are a number of theories dealing with the nature of mana and magic in general, but we don’t really have the time to get into any details at the moment. Currently, we understand mana to be an external energy that can be manipulated by mages at the cost of some of their own energy. This is why mages feel fatigued after using a lot of magic, either all at once or over a longer period of time. Of course, all it takes to replenish this energy is getting some rest, so don’t worry too much if you overdo it here and there during your studies.
“Now, while all magic is performed by manipulating mana, the way that one manipulates mana is very, very important. As it turns out, certain magics can only be performed by manipulating mana in particular ways. This is why acts of magic are divided into the various categories that we call Schools of Magic. As an example, to use magic from the School of Evocation, a mage must use mana to manipulate the various elemental energies that help form the foundation of the world, but using magic from the School of Illusion requires shaping mana to create fake images and sensations that trick or mislead others. These are two very different effects, but can both be said to just be the product of manipulating mana.
“And of course, much like some people have a natural talent for swordsmanship or painting, so too does every mage have a natural talent, or affinity, for using one or two of the Schools of Magic. Of course, every mage can learn how to use magic from every School if they’re dedicated enough. It’s just that a mage with an affinity for a specific School will always be better at using it than a mage without an affinity for that School. As such, most mages choose to focus on developing their abilities with the Schools that they do have an affinity for. It’s also worth noting that mages with only one affinity usually find themselves exceptionally talented in that School of Magic.
“As a sort of supplement to the Schools of Magic, we also have what we call the Magecrafts. These are skills related to the creation of magical items that don’t really rely on a particular way of manipulating mana, which is why they aren’t classified as Schools. It also makes them more or less open for everyone to learn regardless of their particular affinities. Of course, you’ll still have people that are more talented than others in that craft, but that’s just the way life is. During your time here, you’ll have the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to engage in the Magecrafts if you’re so inclined.”
Just as Den finished speaking, the ornate clock hanging above the doorway chimed softly as the longer hand ticked along so that it was pointing at the top of the clock with the shorter hand. Tsking slightly, Den continued once the clock had finished making noise. ”I suppose that’s my sign to stop here for the day. We’ll cover the different Schools and Magecrafts in more specific detail next time,” he said as he made a note of how far he had gotten in his notes. ”Go ahead and enjoy your lunch. But remember that you have to be on the practice field in an hour for the diagnostic class.”
From there, the group made their way to the dining hall for lunch, finding a table that they could all sit at easily enough after getting their meals. Having never attended a class in her life, Anyu was a little overwhelmed by how much information she had just received in what was a little under an hour of time. ”There’s no way that I’m going to remember all of that,” she lamented to herself. She also hadn’t been able to understand any of what he wrote on the board either due to her illiteracy. Hopefully he hadn’t written anything on the board that he hadn’t also said in his lecture.
Lunch for Anyu passed in relative solitude, even though she stayed with the group that Marius had gathered back at the common room. With the lunch rush going on, there was just a lot of background noise that made it hard to hear what the people around her were saying. Anyu still did her best to respond whenever she thought someone was addressing her, though she wasn’t sure if they could hear her over the din. She wasn’t a very loud person after all, and she didn’t really feel comfortable raising her voice even if it was just so that people could hear her.
Eventually, however, lunch was over and the group was on their way to the practice fields that Den had told them about. The fields were not terribly large, seeing as how they were in the middle of the city and all, but they were easily large enough for the students to spread out and show off their magic without interfering with one another. Though the Meadowmist students arrived a little earlier than the specified time, Den and several of the other teachers were already there and were talking amongst themselves in a lighthearted manner.
”Okay guys! Come over this way,” Den called out whenever he noticed the Meadowmist students arriving, signalling for them to follow him to an area of the field. ”We’re going to go ahead and do this one at a time, so go ahead and line up behind that white line on the grass. The order you line up in doesn’t matter to me in the least, so do it however you want. When it’s your turn, go to the square over there and state your name. Then the proctor will ask you a few questions about your affinity and what you’re comfortable trying with your magic before giving you the go ahead to show off. This is purely a diagnostic test, so don’t worry about making mistakes or anything like that. Just do your best. Ok? Then let’s get started! First in line, you’re up!”