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1 yr ago
Current Slight bit of depression setting in... I apologize if things are taking longer than usual. Just trying to assure the same level of quality in my posts to you guys.
1 yr ago
*Has the sudden urge to come back to the Guild*.... *Guild is down*.... WHYYYYYYYY?!?!?! *Literally the story of my life lol*
2 yrs ago
One of these days I will learn to not input my opinions where they are not wanted on social media.... TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY. >.<
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2 yrs ago
2 1/2 hours in and I'm already done with the new year. T.T
2 yrs ago
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Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Cassandra @Gisk, Princess Nox & company @Achronum, Mariette @MsMorningstar, and Lilie @Hero

The Red Hand

Save your fire for the Sinnenodel snake, Countess.” The mere mention of the family name sent a shiver down her spine, though be it fear or anger she could not tell.

Your baseless accusation doesn’t bother me. If you take issue with how the guard has handled something, you may file your complaint through the standard channels. My sister is even on campus to more easily attend your whims.” Princess Nox paused just long enough to wave away the guards that had been hovering in case their assistance was required.

If you have questions about my duties, you may ask them to Lord Salazar himself. Since your family has taken over the Eve’s intelligence network, he has an active hand in these deliberations. I have neither interest nor authorization to explain this to you.” Amaris maintained her gaze on the Princess as she continued to speak down to her, ignoring the mage’s words completely. The approach of another party gave Amaris a few moments to take in the information that had been provided, her mind racing through a thousand details every passing second.

Amaris was well aware that the intelligence detail had been moved to their responsibility. She had helped on a previous occasion translate a note in a rarer dialect to expedite the call to action. But that had been nearly a decade ago, who could tell what sort of cases he was deliberating on presently. Still, to knowingly set the Royal Guard of all groups down on her head without warning of any sort… it didn’t sit well with her no matter how she looked at it.

Her eyes drifted to the side as Nox exchanged words with a woman whose face she recognized. It was a second face from the house of Eve, although, unlike the representative from the orientation… she did happen to know this vampire’s name. Countess Mariette, an interesting personality to put it lightly. She hadn’t had the pleasure of witnessing her up close, having only interacted through nods of acknowledgment in passing. It would seem she might get her chance if Mariette were attending the academy as well.

But if she’s here, that means the other representative went home as well… That’s two, in one night. What strings are being pulled here? She allowed the ferocity in her eyes fade somewhat, the blue tinge returning to something that resembled a royal purple. If there were truly some game being played, Amaris was already behind the curve. She knew not the rules, nor the other players. Amaris had but one purpose in coming to the Academy, perhaps this would be an opportunity to find answers to her own questions. For that, however, she would need to recollect herself and plan proper.

Her eyes trailed off after the lighter haired mage, who took off at an impressive speed upon being ordered back to their dwelling. Mariette took this as her cue to exit the stage, but she got the feeling it would not be the last she would see of the Eve. Amaris’ attention was only recalled as Cassandra finally spoke up, a lot of the enthusiasm now replaced with a cautious tone of voice.

Countess, I think we should go inside. I’ll invite you in for some tea. Er, blood?” Amaris shifted to look back at Cassandra, taking in what she could about the mage. To be frank, Amaris was somewhat surprised at how quickly the young girl was to jump to her aid, despite the situation at hand. It was both admirable, but also incredibly stupid… And she had been the one to spark the confrontation. Reaching up to run her fingertips over the crest of her house, Amaris exhaled slowly. She would have to remember to set a better example moving forward.

You may go on ahead, I will be up shortly. I still have one more thing to discuss with the princess here.” She spoke calmly, almost warmly, as she directed Cassandra return to the safety of a shelter only she had the key to. Turning back to Nox, her demeanor had definitely changed, no longer aggressive in nature but no less direct than it had been.

My accusations might not be as baseless as assumed, perhaps just misdirected. I need to ensure the safe return of that book.

Well, it seems we have a misunderstanding on our hands then. I’ll forgo an official complaint, however, I no longer have any faith that my personal property will return to me undamaged. School supplies are easily replaced, but gifts from my father are less so. I would like to formally request that Getsuga not be moved from the residence, and that you appoint the head of your operation here to his care and protection until the situation has been resolved.” Amaris didn’t think the request sounded all that unreasonable, her concern surrounding the life form rather than the object he was passively guarding.

If it’s a paper trail you need, I can reach out first thing in the evening to file through the proper channels. However, may I ask that you consider the motion currently?

The young Marivaldi also considered asking for a copy of the call to arms that Nox had received, but thought better of it due to her request. She had the right to the information, or at least parts of it anyway. A request could be made for it at a later time once she had guaranteed the security of the book.
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Cassandra @Gisk and Princess Nox & company @Achronum

The Red Hand

Amaris could tell from a slight shift in the mage’s demeanour that a decision was being made in her head. While she couldn’t be sure, she assumed it was a sense of hesitation at being approached by another noble… something she thought strange when considering she was loitering around the cul-de-sac like she belonged. Perhaps her introductions to others had been less than kind, an unfortunate inevitability it seemed and a regrettable one at that.

I don’t think he’d mind anything, as he’s left. I, uh, don’t know where to, or what I should do in the meantime. So, I guess tea would be nice. I’m Cassandra. Cassandra Roth.” The words spoken were polite but informal striking the smallest of gleeful chords. This mage, Cassandra, was among the first to speak with her as if the two weren’t from completely different lifestyles. Even her own mage had taken a more formal tone with her, but then again, she had yet to spend enough time around her in order to learn if that was just how she was. Perhaps hearing Cassandra visiting might bring some relief to the atmosphere, help relax the golden haired mage into her new surroundings.

Still, there was something about the content of the sentence itself that stood out as being rather odd. Cassandra was currently unattended in every sense of the word. It was a rare opportunity for a representative from each noble household to attend the academy at the same time. While the Astorio house was somewhat known for its volatility and rash nature, it made little sense for the representative to bail with such little notice regardless of whether their attendance was compulsory or not. Repercussions would be severe for anyone who disobeyed the wishes of the head of any house, but particularly theirs. Departure must have been more pressing than the possible outcome. An alarming thought to be sure, but one Amaris was careful to keep hidden behind a calm smile.

Lips parting to respond, a not so distant sound consumed the young vampire’s attention. Sirens were probably one of the last things one would want to hear on grounds owned by the royals themselves. She spun around just in time to see several dark colored vehicles round the corner, barreling up the street to halt in front of one of the dorms. Her dorm. A fierce look overtook the calm expression she had been maintaining, a defensive step to the side was taken to shield Cassandra from any possible danger. Her gaze grew even more cold as the moments passed, the light violet of her irises giving way to the sharpest of blue.

Guards piled out of the cars and took up points around the house, directed like an orchestra by a vaguely familiar face. Lucan Bordeleaux, one of the royal’s finest fighters and wicked with a blade. There were few faster than his hand, and few dumb enough to even try. Whatever reason the guard had come crashing down on her home it had to have been serious… That, however, was not nearly enough to cushion the blow it was meant to deal. Heels clicking intentionally loud, Amaris’ fury only grew the more faces she took in.

Among the faces that turned at her approach, the guard that she had gotten into it with from before was among them. She could just about see his sneer behind the stoic professionalism he was attempting to show. The only thing that stilled her steps was the unmistakable presence of a royal figure among them. Amaris refused to flinch as Princess Nox made her approach, slamming her weapon down so that she could reveal her face and address the subjects of her operation. As she spoke, Lucan directed a group of guards to break down her door and rush inside, the menace from before too eager to be at the front of the pack.

You will be Countess Marivaldi’s mage. The Astorio whelp turned left with his tail between his legs shortly after orientation.” The words were directed at Cassandra, whom Amaris had put herself between. Simple directions, no, order was more accurate. But the information was lacking and without explanation for such a sudden change in action. Clearly, it was either unimportant, or a need-to-know basis. Still, it was the least of Amaris’ current worries.

By the authority of the Royal Guard invested by Queen Noila and the Moonlight Council, your belongings, including your mage and hers, have been seized as possible threats to the Council. Once your belongings have been cleared by the Royal Guard, they will be returned to you and you may return to your lodgings along with your new mage. You and your mage are required to return to the Astorio dormitory at once.” The tone left little wiggle room to the actions that could be taken henceforth. Under normal circumstances she might have complied without hesitation, but too many things just weren’t adding up. Could it really have been a coincidence that someone of the guard would pick a fight with her just prior to invading her home?

I don’t think he knew at that time, but his presence now could be a determining factor in how this all plays out. If it comes down to it, I might need to strike at him first before he can use my previous outburst against me. The guard was not the only problem either… If Nox was insistent on thorough examination, not even the snake tank would be able to hide the book she had stored within. Truth be told, she had absolutely no idea what information the book held. It was written in a language unfamiliar to her and had been among a few items her father had left behind specifically for her upon his passing. Even the current Lord Salazar knew not of what she had been given, as she had been careful to keep everything under wraps. It wouldn’t do to have a piece of it given directly to the royal house, especially when it seemed so much information was already being shrouded.

With all due respect Queen’s kin, I demand an explanation.” Amaris spoke with a measured tone, addressing the princess not by her name but in a manner that acknowledged her position all the same. Eyes shifting to the space behind Nox, Amaris watched as Minfilia was thrown from the house and slammed into the side of one of the vans before finally being shuffled into the vehicle itself. The faintest scent of blood reached Amaris, most likely wafting from a cut caused by the rough handling. She was beginning to regret having not eaten at first opportunity.

Turning her eyes back to Nox, Amaris took advantage of the momentary silence to push her luck.

Should I be warning Lord Salazar to watch his back with the very Council he is sworn to serve and protect? You have made your position on how our family is run very clear despite your own situation. Perhaps you were not satisfied with the results of your investigation after my father’s death, but that does not entitle you to take advantage of the situation to continue your blatant harassment. Don’t you think it was a little inappropriate to send one of your drones to pick a fight with me just before raiding my home? This treatment is absolutely unacceptable!” A couple of the guards shifted behind Nox, gripping their weapons tighter as Amaris’ voice raised in volume. Never once did she move from her spot, knowing full well that her tone would be deemed a threat if paired with a sudden movement of any kind.
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Cassandra @Gisk

She repeated the pattern for a couple of hours, switching it up sometimes to replace the books in the incorrect sections just to watch them take off to replace themselves. Had it not been for one of the librarian’s tapping her shoulder, it was likely that she would have continued until sunrise. Amaris was somewhat surprised that anyone would approach her at all, turning around more so out of curiosity than anything else. For a moment she wondered if she was about to hear it from the head librarian about misplacing so many books, but when she turned around, the face looking back up at her looked more nervous than angry.

I’m sorry to disturb you Countess, the head librarian sent me to let you know that we have been asked to close the building down early. Our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience.” As the book she had been holding had been pulled from a shelf directly in front of her, Amaris shifted its neighbors aside so that she could replace the title properly.

No worries, I should probably be off anyhow. Though, if you don’t mind my asking before I go, what’s the occasion?

Unfortunately, I don’t have an official answer to that question. All we were told is that a curfew is being put into effect this evening. This is usually done when the administration is holding special events such as the welcome and pairing ceremony you attended upon arrival. But if you don’t mind my saying so, the current rumor is that an unexpected guest is on their way in as we speak. All students are being asked to return to their dormitories for the remainder of the night. Is there anything I can help you with before you go?” While the information received was rather vague, it was surprisingly telling. She could always count on a librarian to pick out the important details. Shaking her head dismissively, Amaris smiled at the messenger.

No, you’ve been very helpful. Thank you.” Bowing their head, the librarian turned away and walked down in the opposite direction to alert a nearby table of the news. Fully satisfied with her little excursion, Amaris made for the door that she entered through and began her walk back to the noble’s dorms. Despite the fact that the buses were still running to take the straggler students back, Amaris opted to walk the path home instead. As she walked, she couldn’t help but let her mind wander back to the librarian’s words about a possible visitor.

For a curfew to be put into effect so suddenly, the visitor would have to be someone of significance. Otherwise, there would be little need for anything other than a few extra bodyguards… perhaps it’s an inspection from one of the house heads? No, I’m sure the Lord would have sent word ahead if he knew one of the others were to be snooping around. Perhaps a member of the royal family is here to visit the Princess? Theories rushed through Amaris’ mind as she walked along, drowning out most of the scenery around her.

A shiver ran down her spine as a pair of eyes fell upon her, the sensation suddenly putting the young woman on alert. It wasn’t so much a feeling of hostility, but she could not mistake the feeling of malcontent as the muted sound of footsteps approached her.

You there, halt!” Amaris slowed her pace until she came to a complete a few steps ahead, taking a deep breath through her nose before turning about to face the voice that attempted to command her. With as sharp a gaze as she could muster, Amaris turned around fully so that the crest hanging around her neck was in full view.

The sight she was met with was a great deal more intimidating than she was originally anticipating. It had been a good while since she had last laid eyes on a member or the royal guard… or at least one donned in their official armor. Standing before her was a single guard in obsidian plated armor, so dark in color that the path lighting seemed to bend toward the figure. Threads of gold were laced about the outfit somehow seeming less like decoration and more like definition the longer she took the image in. He was armed to the teeth, carrying not one but two blades of different styles at his side. While she was certain he had other, perhaps much smaller weapons concealed on his person, she doubted he would need any of them… especially against her. Still, despite the wariness she felt, the man’s presence all but confirmed her earlier train of thought.

I understand you have quite the important task to do here, but your tone is out of place with me. What threat do you see in a first year student sent from one of the noble houses? Do we not both serve her majesty, the Queen?” Amaris’ eye contact was strong, her posture bold, and her voice sharp as she addressed the guard. Even at her stature she bore little actual authority over a member of the Royal Guard, still, it didn’t stop her from pushing what few buttons she could. The payoff in this case was rather slight, Amaris taking victory in the information gleaned from the faintest of falters in the man’s eyes. She had guessed correctly.

Students have been ordered back to their dorms immediately. Unless you have received specific instructions otherwise, even you are not exempt from these commands.” The guard barked as he maintained an equally strong grimace in the young woman’s direction. It was clear that he was far from joking on the matter, not that Amaris expected anything else from the man. Still, she wasn’t about to take his continued tone without a little push back.

And where exactly do you think it was I was heading before you barked at me like a dog?” Shifting in his stance, the man’s growing irritation was beginning to show. There was a certain level of respect each party was accustomed to receiving as well as expected to give one another in return. The circumstances, while technically in the guard’s favor, had been turned to favor the young woman staring the man down. Her words rang true, as he alone had the authority as well as the physical prowess to dispose of her right then and there if she posed a definite threat to any member of the royal house. Yet all she showed him was the same level of arrogance that he had come to expect from her kind. The slightest hint of a smirk tugged at the corner of his lips as he opened his mouth to respond, confident that he had found a counter to silence the brat. Unfortunately, she had beaten him to the punch. Snapping her hand up to silence him she maintained a cold stare as she carried on.

Now, if it’s my safety you are so worried about, perhaps you should have led with that… or at least a more respectful tone. With such an important visitor present who knows what sort of unsavory folk are skulking in the dark? Try not to get mistaken for one of them while you make your rounds harassing other students.” Amaris forced a puff out through her nose before she spun on her toes and began walking in the direction she had been walking previously. She could all but feel the fiery daggers the guard was staring into her back as she increased the distance between the feuding pair. It seemed however he was not quite ready to give up the ‘battle’.

Little ingrate, get back here now.” He growled, closing the distance she had widened with a fair amount of ease. Wrapping his hand tightly around her slender arm, he squeezed uncomfortably tight and yanked backward to throw the girl just barely off balance. The motion caused Amaris to falter in her steps as her momentum was thrown off. Her recovery was quick but it was undeniable who held the upper hand in the situation. She fought the small sensation of panic that filled her stomach as she stared up at the man, wondering for a brief moment if she had made a mistake after all.

Before he had a chance to say anything else on the matter, a second patrolman emerged from outside the paved path to join them in the lit street. Unlike the guard she was already exchanging words with, the newcomer was far less armed and nowhere near as armored. If Amaris had to venture a guess as to what force he belonged to, she would have pegged him for the campus’ own security.

Sir, there is another matter that requires your attention.” The academy guard’s eyes shifted between the pair curiously, as if attempting to size up the situation and gauge whether his direct intervention was necessary. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction, Amaris shook her arm free and put a few paces between her and the guard to collect herself. The royal guard paused a moment, weighing his options between finishing what he had started and complying with something that was likely of greater importance. Choosing the latter, the armored soldier of a man stalked off to follow the lead the security guard that had interrupted him.

Note to self: don’t pick attitude with the men in black. She thought to herself as she rolled her eyes, returning to her trek home.


Upon entering the cul-de-sac that connected each of the noble dorms, Amaris was quick to take note of a figure standing off alone in the dark. For a brief moment she wondered if the brute from earlier had taken note of her crest so that he could return and give her more trouble away from the campus security. However, as she neared the figure, she realized the stature was far too small to belong to the man from before. Curious as to who was just wandering about the dorms, Amaris bypassed her own house to approach the figure.

While she did not recognize the face, she was fairly certain that the girl standing before her had to have been paired with one of the other nobles with how nonchalantly she loitered around the monitored area. Perhaps her partner was unaware of the sudden curfew or had failed to properly relay the information? Whatever the reason, she didn’t think it wise for the mage to be standing about on her own. Amaris had seen first hand just how grouchy of a mood the guards were in for this particular outing.

I take it you are one of my new neighbors? I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure of a proper introduction just yet. Would your partner mind if I invited you in for a cup of tea and a conversation? Seems the teachers want us in doors this evening, in fact the guards are rather insistent on it.” Amaris motioned in the direction of her own dorm building with a sweep of her hand, indicating an open invitation should the mage be interested in accepting. There was a sense of urgency to her voice, however, that requested a swift response from the mage regardless of the decision.
Dakota Brookes

The bell signaling the end of the lunch period rang a few minutes after Dakota had left the cafeteria, bringing with it throngs of students returning to whatever classes or activities they had to be at. Dakota did their best to stay out of everyone’s way, finding a quiet corner to take up and watch the crowds walk by. Even now, conversations were still going strong. The topics were as varied as the people, some talking about trips they had taken over the break, others about assignments they had already been given from teachers whose names alone sounded ominous.

Posted around the campus were signs indicating what direction people were heading in, including some near buses that were marked as transportation back to the dorms or into town. For whatever reason, Dakota couldn’t find much pull in either option. For a moment it looked as if a familiar face had climbed aboard one of the buses but due to the distance it was too difficult to tell so the thought was dismissed. Turning away from the crowd, the mage picked a direction and began walking in it with little regard to the destination. They passed by smaller groups chatting away or practicing their crafts, some just showing off while others were trying to help teach. Dakota wasn’t sure what had changed in the last little bit, but a heavy sigh worked its way up and forced its way out as the mage trekked along.

The chosen path had taken the young mage past the building known as the Arena, a rustle in their back pocket a reminder of the application they had picked up back at the orientation. Without an affinity to master, Dakota wondered if there was any point in turning it in to use the space alongside the other competitive mages. The faces of the rest of the group came to mind as Dakota stared at the paper in their hands, a perfect opportunity to try again with the whole ‘bonding experience’. The arena was also bound to have more than just sparring included in its perks, perhaps there would be solo workout opportunities as well. Spotting a forgotten pen on the ground beside the pathway, Dakota snagged it up and used it to fill out the application before stuffing the pen in a pocket and heading straight for the building.

It didn’t take long for Dakota to run into someone who the application could be handed off to, and a question asked about training facilities. The mage was pointed toward one of several off shooting facilities for the building which, upon entry, looked quite similar to a run-of-the-mill gym. The assumption was that this part of the facility was designed around independent workout geared towards the more physical aspect rather than a magical one. For the time being it seemed rather empty, a fact that relieved the mage as it would allow some time to work off some of the nerves that had built up.

Normally, Dakota would have opted to change into something more suited to working out. Knowing Noila Academy, it was always possible that extra clothes would be provided in the case that someone did not bring their own... however, Dakota did not feel the need to go through the effort of trying to track any down. Setting any personal belongings aside, Dakota unbuttoned the soft yellow fabric and carefully set it with the other items. Despite initial assumptions, the youth was not just some lanky kid with a fast metabolism. Hidden underneath the shirt was a fairly toned torso that hinted at years of athletics and physical activities.

Looks like the sports bra was a good choice for today.” Dakota mused to themselves as they fished an mp3 and some headphones from the pile of things and took up a position before a suspended punching bag.

Closing their eyes, Dakota took a few measured breaths as the music began playing in their ears. There was something about the chimes paired with the drums of the first song that had a way of motivating the young mage. It helped to focus the mind in what could be best described as a workout ritual. It was often a couple of minutes before Dakota would begin to actually move outside of some swaying to the voices enriching the track. However, when the mage did finally decide to strike, it was a sight to behold.

As the playlist hit the 5:40 mark, Dakota’s eyes slowly slid open with a renewed vigilance and fiery determination. Completely focused on the bag before them, an ululation in the fourth song served as the trigger sound. From the outside it would have seemed out of nowhere as Dakota slammed their fists into the equipment with a fair amount of power. One after the other fell upon the punching bag as the mage seemed to dance around structure, occasionally ducking and dodging invisible return blows from the shadow opponent. As the trigger song ended and the next piece began, the blows lessened and the music took a slower, more dramatic turn.

Extending a hand out to still the agitated equipment, Dakota took the moment to steady their breathing, waiting for a turn in the pacing to resume the exercise. A swell in the tone prompted the mage back into action, though the feel of the movement was very different from before. Every blow was measured, fewer and farther between to focus more on hand placement than blindly striking the object. This method went on for a couple of hours as Dakota’s style and pacing changed depending on that of the music heard only by their ears. If anyone entered during that time they were paid no mind, as all sense of the world outside of their imaginary battle was completely lost.

By the end of the playlist, Dakota’s skin was dripping with sweat and their breathing was ragged. It had been quite some time since they had gotten so lost in the exercise, realizing a second playlist had played to completion before they reached a stopping place. Walking away from the punching bag, Dakota sunk to the floor beside their things and pulled the earbuds from their ears. Putting the mp3 player away, Dakota drew forth the phone half expecting to see a missed message or something. Despite the late hour, the mage was somewhat disheartened not to see a single message reaching out.

Leaning back against the wall, Dakota set to regulating their breathing before getting up to dress. The bruised knuckles were apparent as the youth buttoned up their shirt, a few even scraped open as a result of the excessive use on the bag. It was not at all unusual to the mage so no thought was put into it as Dakota sought out something to wipe the bag down with for hygiene sake. Once everything was back as it should be, Dakota collected the belongings they had with them and began heading back to the dorms.

Normally Dakota would not have had any problem walking back, but this time they thought it better to take the bus as they had already worked out beyond what was probably recommended for the day. The ride was fairly short and completely uneventful outside of picking up a straggler or two along the way. Before long Dakota was fishing out the dorm key and letting themselves inside the building. Looking around, Dakota could tell that Joryldin had been back at some point but it didn’t appear as if he was there any longer. A drawn out sigh filled the space as the mage made their way back to their room and hopped into the shower.

Cool water felt nice against feverish skin, the daily grime washing away as the mage worked out any lingering soreness from the muscles. When Dakota emerged, they changed into athletic shorts and a loose fitting tank, wrapping the towel around their shoulders so that hair that had been pinned up all day could be freed. Peeking into the shared space, Dakota sensed that for the time being, they were still alone. Unsure of whether to be relieved or disappointed, Dakota set to putting on a movie only to doze off on the couch nearly twenty minutes into it.

Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Varis, Ailsalia @Achronum, Arianna @Crusader Lord, and Minfillia @Leslie Hall

Conflict precipitates change. Grief paralyzes it.” Amaris had to keep from rolling her eyes at the man standing beside her, an internal groan trapped behind a soundproof wall of pure determination.

Though I am glad the actions of Lord Marivaldi find themselves in your good graces. My cynicism, a flaw I’ll admit, found his origins and his recent promotion curiously connected but he is neither a pureblood nor a Sinnenodel so I’m sure mischievous machinations are not his intent.” Her violet eyes were nearly approaching a shade of blue with how cold her stare had become, a twitch in a single finger the only other sign at her overflowing irritation.

Conflict without necessity is counter productive and a waste of valuable resources, wouldn’t you say? I’d rather find myself standing in place than moving further from my goals, but I suppose that’s all a matter of personal preference.” Throwing Varis a sideward glance, she warned him with a look to watch the ice he tread on.

Your cynicism does not find solitude among your flaws, Count, if you think we would not properly vet our leaders. I can assure you the situation has been handled and put to rest with the approval of the royal house. You had best watch your tongue, Varis. His origins aside, he is still the head of a noble house whereas you are not… A little respect is due.” The noblewoman thought to end the conversation and walk away from the man, having little patience left to deal with his antics for much longer. She, however, sensed the intentions of another before an appearance was made… a move that piqued Amaris’ interests enough to stay her feet.

Well, well, well. If it isn’t little Varis.” Amaris had to keep from laughing aloud, a small twinkle of amusement returning to her eyes as the woman spoke. Never before had she heard someone talk to another noble, let alone Varis, with such familiarity. It was crass and filled with teasing tones, an unspoken challenge that clearly irked the usually stoic trickster. She watched as Varis tensed and his eyes darkened with displeasure, the woman taking no note of these things to continue teasing the nobleman. He attempted to maintain his composure, and was almost successful at it as well, but the longer the two spent near one another… and the memories spoken of… the more on edge he seemed to become. Or that was until something in his demeanour changed. Amaris felt her stomach drop as his faked smile shifted into a predatory sneer, the words slipping from his lips like poison down a blade.

I have found most of my childish habits have thankfully stayed in my childhood, much like your parents in yours. Now, was there something you wanted or did you come just to interrupt me?” While she was more than familiar with how cold-hearted the Sinnenodels could be, his words were spoken with pure malice. Amaris could not deny the nerve it struck within herself either, a half-step taken forward in protest as he taunted his own relation. Somehow, the cousin was able to maintain a better grip on her composure and slapped back at the menace with a retort of her own.

Turning to the other two in the group, the woman introduced herself as Ailsalia Margaux. The relation to Varis was revealed to be through the mother, so it came as little surprise that Varis and the rest of the family had trampled down the branch. Then again, she had never known the Sinnenodel’s to be kind to one another anyhow.

As quick as Ailsalia had appeared Varis made his escape, though not before throwing one last dagger in his wake. Amaris awaited patiently as Aisalia processed her emotions internally before returning fully composed back to the two noblewomen. She couldn’t help but wonder what it was in the last exchange that had dug so deep but she knew the look better than to pry… it was, after all, none of her business. It was a possibility she could befriend the cousin, hesitant to do so due to the familiar relation, but an advantageous opportunity all the same. Amaris would have to think on it some more before she committed either way. In the meantime, Amaris smiled in response to Ailsalia’s statement, nodding her head only slightly in greeting.

Can’t say I envy the time you’ve spent around him over the years, pardon my surprise you have any sanity left.” She chuckled a bit to lighten the weight that had settled over the air, the act unsuccessful from lightening her eyes from the bluish hue.

I can however commend you. I don’t believe I’ve seen anyone short of the Lady herself make Varis forget his manners so. I’m Amaris, Countess of the house of Marivaldi. I’ve had the misfortune of dealing with your cousin on many occasions, but I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you until today. Are you perhaps an incoming first year with the rest of us?” As Amaris finished speaking, she felt a light vibration from the clutch she was holding in her hands. Fishing the cellphone she had tucked inside before leaving the house, she flipped on the screen to display a text message sent from a number she did not recognize. A small smile tugged at the corner of her lips as she realized the message was a confirmation from her mage partner to join her for lunch, which if she was correct… was now.

Ah, you’ll have to excuse me. There are a couple of matters I still need to go over with my mage partner so I best be going. I hope to see you later Countess.” Amaris smiled with a curtsey, the same she had in greeting, in the direction of the Eve representative before turning her eyes back to Ailsalia.

As for you, anyone who can make Varis squirm like that is more than welcome in my circles. You’re welcome around for a chat any time m’dear.” With a nod of her head in Ailsalia’s direction and short wave to the pair, Amaris made for the exit and took off down the corridor. By this time there were already plenty of other students on their way toward the cafeteria making it very easy for Amaris to walk with purpose. She did think it amusing, however, the bubble of space that seemed to form around her as she walked along. There were those that expected as such, hence why the nobles had their own housing and seating arrangements in auditoriums… but Amaris was far from the type. In fact, she rather enjoyed the looks of surprise as unsuspecting students ventured too close without receiving any sort of response from her.


Upon entering the cafeteria, Amaris stepped aside from the door so that she could take in the room. Various smells hit her senses at once causing her a moment’s falter, her eyes dulling somewhat in their azure state. It would take her a few minutes to adjust and filter the competing scents, however, her hesitation allowed her a moment to properly survey the room to observe the groupings.

From what she could tell, there was no structure or division in the room. Mages and vampires from all years were mixed up together in one messy mass, mages eating away or studying between classes while the vampires socialized and awaited for their own meals to become available. Whilst she was scanning the room before her, a ruckus nearby caught her attention, pulling her eyes from the masses. Barging into the cafeteria came an energetic female mage guiding a group of first years on what must have been some kind of impromptu tour. She recognized the woman as belonging to the royal house, one of the Princess’ personal guard if she remembered correctly.

Amaris hid a smile by turning back to the room, her eyes finally falling upon a table with a single occupant. She watched as another student approached and exchanged brief words before turning away and seeking other seating arrangements, a curious look over taking her features as she observed. Seemed she and her partner might have a few things in common yet depending on her reason for such solitude. Pushing away from the wall, Amaris made her approach through the crowd to Minfillia’s lonely table.

How was your orientation?” She asked as she took a seat at the table. Glancing over at the notebook on the table, Amaris quickly scanned the neatly penned names within before following Minfillia’s intermittent gaze to a nearby table. She recognized a few of the faces as having been with the touring group, fellow classmates that included the mage paired with the Count Varis. Next to a couple of the names was a word associated with magic affinities, useful information to have for sure.

A light mage from their personal stock? That’s more than just a status symbol… Amaris thought to herself, choosing to keep her thoughts silent on the matter for the time being. It was common knowledge that the noble houses would ‘trade’ their mages around to maintain functional bloodlines, something the royals could not circumvent. Still, to choose someone so rash to hand a power so important to, didn’t seem like a sound decision in the slightest. Perhaps it was a test? Or a plan of greater design? There was no way for her to know such things so early on, she only hoped it was something simple after all.

Diligent notes, although I might suggest developing a code for yourself if you’re going to be observing your peers so closely.” She offered light-heartedly, her eyes slowly shifting into more purple hues. Sitting back in her chair, Amaris crossed her one leg over her knee and rested her arm on the tabletop. If Minfillia had an interest in gathering intel, it could go a long way into understanding the reason behind certain pairings. She would have to remember to nab as many of the family names to add to the notes later on.

Sugarcoating is just going to end up wasting both of our times, so I guess I’ll just get to it now that you’ve had a chance to get settled in. I’m pretty easy going as it goes, as I’m sure you’ve already noted. I don’t have many rules and for all intents and purposes you are free to operate as you please.” In terms of rules, Amaris didn’t really consider whether she had any at all. If anything, they would be centered mostly around maintaining a clean and comfortable home environment but that was about it. At least, until she thought about the many student interactions they would likely be forced into over the next few years.

I would like you to note the position you now find yourself in being paired with a noble as opposed to your run-of-the-mill pureblood. There are quite a few perks to having the power of a noble house behind your will, but there is many a responsibility as well. Your actions from here on out will reflect not only on yourself and I, but on the rest of my house as well.” Despite coming from a family with close ties to the vampiric society, Amaris still needed to make sure that Minfillia understood the difference between the vampires she was used to operating around and the family she now represented. The Marivaldi name, despite its mystique and strange habits, was still a powerful tool if applied in the right places. It was available for Minfillia’s use but Amaris thought it better to let the mage figure that out on her own. It would be interesting to see how crafty the woman could get with right tools.

It would seem that this year there is a representative from each of the noble houses in attendance, one of which I can assure you is not nearly as lax as I am. The others I am not as familiar with so I do caution you to watch your step. Just remember that while they are your seniors, it is my word that ranks above theirs when it comes to you. Your success is a top priority for me over the next few years, I will not tolerate attempts to sabotage that.” Amaris closed her eyes and exhaled slowly, her nerves finally unfurling a bit from her early interaction with Varis. Upon reopening, they had returned to their natural violet color, much more relaxed than they had been when she arrived.

That does include me as well, though. It has been my understanding that our feeding, or rather the expectations surrounding them, can be rather stressful on the mages. Stress that can be a distraction and a hindrance to your education… so I would like to give you a say in the matter. Personally, I prefer consuming from a glass, I feel it bears a little more dignity for the supplier than consuming from the source. Each has their pros and cons, however, so I will not argue if you take preference with one over the other.” Amaris could assume that most mages would think the same as her, but the truth was… she had absolutely no way of knowing that. To some, the feeling of being bitten and consumed from had a calming effect something akin to a high even. It was faster than other methods which meant both parties could go about the rest of their nights with little interference. And overall, it was ‘traditional’ in a sense, though she opted to call it old fashioned.

The alternative was similar to how regular humans ran their blood donations, drawing the blood from the arm using medical equipment instead. It was a cleaner method, but it could be time consuming on the short end; a practice best used if drawing to store so that the partner could feed when they pleased and the mage supply on their own time. Pulling out her phone, Amaris glanced at the time before putting it away and handing the invitation that had been placed in their mailbox over to Minfillia.

Lunch is almost over, so I’ll let you think over your options. I would like you to attend the ‘party’ the count is hosting tonight, might be a good opportunity for you to observe and network with the other houses’ mages. There’s still one more thing I would like to check out before I call it a night, so I will meet you at the house before it’s time to head over. Think things over and you can let me know your final answer then, ok?
Dakota Brookes

Interacting with: Lilie @Hero, Salem @Trainerblue192, and Aaron @Obscene Symphony

Dakota hadn’t meant to step on any toes when making an entrance. What should have been a pat on the back and a confidence booster somehow ended up lessening the confidence of someone else. Almost immediately after speaking, Dakota could feel a sense of dejection emanating from the dark haired mage who had been speaking to the group before Dakota had barged in. Before he had a moment to speak, however, the mage who had the light show before returned to the group to address Dakota’s comment.

Looks like you’ll get your wish,” He said with a pat of his hand on the sword at his side.

Lilie and I are sparring later today. We’ve both had ten years of training, so I think it’s going to be a good show.” Dakota flashed an impressed smile, nodding their head in agreement with the statement.

Certainly sounds like it. I’m looking forward to sitting in.” They laughed a little, eyes turning back to the other male in the gathering as he spoke up.

I… umm, I don’t have any combat training. Not in the sense you all speak of at least. I can’t wield weapons, nor throw a punch, or roundhouse kick or anything… I’m just a medic…” The mage’s voice trailed off as he spoke, eyes falling to the ground to inspect something unseen to the rest of the group.

But I’ve had many mages work with me at my clinic, so I’ve learned of ways to utilize other magics both for medical purposes as well as some combative strategies… from uh… the stories they’ve told me. All of my patients are humans and a few are brought to me by mages who have had to combat a feral or two away from the slums…” Dakota couldn’t help but feel impressed the more the other guy spoke about his previous experience with magic. If they were being honest, Dakota had never put much thought into what other mage’s lives would be like outside of school. To hear that this particular mage was not already familiar with their affinity, but able to use it for an actual job… That was something to be proud of.

Stuffing their hands into their pockets, Dakota sat back and listened with great interest as the other mage, whose name they still had not picked up on, praised Lilie’s affinity. Assumedly, the affinities had been mentioned earlier in the conversation before Dakota had arrived, so the newcomer had to work extra hard to pick up on the context clues. All they could discern was the woman in question had some sort of versatile affinity capable of quite a many things depending on training and application. While it sounded like a great opportunity, Dakota was unsure as to whether that was something they hoped for or not. Having a unique specialty was always a dream, but it also could limit in the long run…

It wouldn’t happen to be Lunch yet would it?” The darker haired one asked, the question punctuated with a suspiciously timed bell.

Looks like it,” The swordsman’s voice betrayed the same amusement Dakota felt, presumably, about the ringing bell.

Shall we?” Dakota nodded their head, skipping quickly over to the booth to snag a sign up sheet before returning to the group. The goal was to fill it out and submit it later, after all, this group was too good a learning opportunity to pass up. Upon their return from the table, Dakota could hear the swordsman addressing the dark haired mage about his self-inflicted disappointment. The young mage couldn’t help but to agree, despite having zero experience with magic themselves. It was like any skill, everyone was good at something… even if it wasn’t the same something.

Blondie’s right y’know. I grew up in a non-magic community so all of this stuff is new to me. I don’t even have an affinity!” Dakota let loose a hearty laugh, a mostly genuine sound to cover the slight disappointment they felt about their own situation.

You couldn’t call what I do combat… scrappy maybe, but not combat. I know just enough to get myself out of trouble when I need to. You, on the other hand, sound like you have a pretty solid sense of not only your own abilities but other people’s as well. That’s gotta count for something, don’t you think?
Dakota Brookes


Interacting with: Lilie @Hero and Salem @Trainerblue192 || Mentioned: Maxwell @Scribe of Thoth and Aaron @Obscene Symphony

Dakota had run ahead of Joryldin, a satisfied smile overtaking the ‘morning’ fatigue as the mage shuffled in with the rest of the crowd. First day jitters picked at the youth’s stomach, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overtake the sheer excitement they felt. Turning their neck this way and that, Dakota took in a very different atmosphere than that which had been set at the party. They were the same faces, sure… but everything seemed so relaxed and natural feeling. Already, groups were beginning to form and friendships made. Dakota hoped they would be able to find at least one or two decent students they would be able to call friends.

After a little bit of walking with the flow of traffic, the crowd began to filter as staff members yanked mages off to the side. Ushered in the direction with the other mages, Dakota’s awe became ever more apparent as the first years shuffled past gatherings of upperclassmen. There was lots of excitement in the air, not just from the new students but the returning ones as well. Some sat in circles and studied, others began showing off (though for whom was debatable), but everyone… everyone buzzed with an energy that Dakota could not describe. A large grin was all the mage could do not to dash off and begin interrogating every person they came into contact with.

Taking a seat inside the auditorium, Dakota let their eyes wander the room to take in some of the faces they would be studying alongside for the next few years. Fingertips twitched as the excitement overflowed, the urge to pick things apart and to learn beginning to get the better of the curious youth. Thankfully, the speaker took to the podium at the front of the stage allowing Dakota something to channel focus to. The man speaking was definitely advanced in years, his speech slow and deliberate as if he had to force the air from his lungs to form the words. His sentences were interrupted and followed by small bouts of coughing, and he looked as if he could fall over at any time.

The mage couldn’t help but to wonder how old exactly the man was, if his body just didn’t cope well or if through some use of magic he was able to extend the length of his life past it’s due date. Such thoughts were interrupted as the set of doors everyone had passed through previously flew open. The sound it made was loud, startling many of the student body into turning to see who had made such an entrance. A beautiful woman walked down the center of the aisle with little care to the scene she had just made, the scent of flowers following in her wake. Her face seemed familiar and it took Dakota a moment to place it, however after a moment, the mage recalled seeing the newcomer’s face at the party the night before. It had just been in passing, but this was one of the people standing near the Princess when Dakota had caught the last couple lines of the speech.

Using a bit of her own magic, the woman climbed the stage to whisper something in the old man’s ear causing him to nod his head and retreat from the stage… in style. Dakota could feel the question hanging in the air, many students all wondering what she could have possibly said for the headmaster to leave in such a manner; but such questions were not to be answered. Instead, the woman took to the edge of the stage and sat while introducing herself in the man’s stead. Sariel continued on to assure the group that their concerns and fears were not without validation but they had nothing to worry about. It was very light and motivational to say the least, and Dakota found themselves even more anxious to get up and start the year off.

Once Sariel had finished explaining everything that had needed explaining, the student body was dismissed to mingle and ask questions. Tables and upperclassmen had been brought in to provide any information the new students would need to start things off right. Dakota thought about heading straight back to start asking questions but suddenly didn’t know what questions to ask. Glancing at the back, it seemed there were several stations that were erected to answer questions about affinities, reminding Dakota of their own lacking. Turning to head up to the front, Dakota nestled in with the smaller crowd that gathered around Sariel, hoping to ask for some advice on what to do.

Before getting a chance, however, another student pushed to the front and spoke without so much as introducing himself. His question was not all that unlike Dakota’s, but the tone behind it put the youth off for some reason. The attitude was unnecessary, not to mention the clear division he put between himself and his peers… Dakota made a mental note to take care in attempting to befriend such a character.

That’s a shame… Would have been nice to know someone else without an affinity. At least I know I’m not on my own. Dakota thought to themselves, taking a step back from the group so as not to ask a duplicate question. The advice given was simple enough, just a matter of trial and error until a result was produced so try anything and everything. If there was something Dakota was good at, it was messing around. Hopefully, the affinity would make itself known sooner rather than later.

Satisfied with the response, Dakota began walking toward the back of the room passing the various groups that had already begun forming. There was one in particular that drew their eye, something marked Arena Guild that had a decent number of people surrounding it. One of those mages ended up showing off a little bit of his own magic, earning him several bouts of praise from those he was talking to and pulling in a few more. Intrigued, Dakota moved closer, catching a small bit of conversation from a girl talking about combat to another student.

...But combat on the other hand… I believe I can hold my own quite well.” Taking the opportunity to invite themselves into the conversation, Dakota slipped forward beside the beauty with a small wave and a huge grin.

With confidence like that, I’d pay good money to see you take on some of the guys here. Show ‘em who’s boss.” Dakota laughed and winked, relaxing their posture to reign in some of the excess energy.

I’m Dakota by the way. Sorry if I’m interrupting, heard something about a fight and it peaked my interest. What are you guys talking about anyway?” The smile turned apologetic as the mage shifted their gaze between the other occupants of the conversation.
Amaris Marivaldi


Interacting with: Varis @Achronum and Arianna @Crusader Lord

The closer Amaris got to the main part of campus, the larger the crowd grew. She maintained a slight distance between her and the others, choosing to observe them from the outside for as long as space would allow her. Eventually, however, she found herself being corralled in with the rest of the group. At some point, the teachers began filtering the crowd, pulling mages one way while directing the vampires in another.

As if it were nothing short of natural, the vampire students began sorting themselves with the purebloods at the front of the pack and the Embraced students following at some distance behind. She felt bad for the smaller grouping, having taken note of the close eye the staff were keeping on them. It couldn’t be helped though, being so new to the lifestyle could be a big shock and not everyone had the ability to cope with the transformation. She liked to think it was just as much for their benefit as it was everyone else.

Following behind the headmaster, the new students walked through the campus surrounded by various upperclassman. It was a little difficult not to feel like they were being put on display and paraded around, especially with the nobles mixed in with the front of the crowd. At one point, the headmaster halted the group’s procession to reprimand an upperclassman whose behavior reflected rather poorly on his character. The student’s surname, Sputnik as she gathered, was not one she recognized personally… though it was clear that it was very well known by the staff of the school.

She maintained an unimpressed expression as the student’s eyes scanned the crowd, winking at several students and grinning at others. Eventually his eyes fell on Amaris with a gaze that she could describe as borderline predatory before they drifted onward to another student in a similar manner. Before the man could cause any real problems, however, another upperclassman snuck up behind him and knocked him over the head. The sound of jaded lecture floated after the students as they marched away, the headmaster shooting them warnings to keep their distance from the so-called trouble maker.

Don’t have to tell me twice. Amaris fought a shiver from running down her spine, the memory of his gaze enough to creep her out.

After a few more minutes of walking, the crowd was directed inside of the building known as Mockingbird Hall. The bulk of the students took seats wherever they could find them, most sticking together in their self created cliques like they had on the walk over. On the other hand, much like their dorm accomodations, the four noble students were led to chairs up front and separate from the rest of the crowd. As if the separate seating was not enough of an indicator, each of the seats were marked with the crest of each of the families. It felt like a bit much, but there was little use in arguing with it. Vampires had a way about them when it came to status quo, she doubted anyone other than perhaps the Embraced would think anything of their treatment.

The speech that ensued was among the most boring she had ever sat through. She struggled to maintain focus, only catching bits and pieces of the lengthy introduction. It was a little disappointing to not hear the academy taking an official stance on the treatment of mages. Amaris had been hoping for something more positive but was unsurprised by the neutral take on the situation. Following the PSA on mage handling, the headmaster went into details on the classes they were to be attending as well as the opportunity to join activities before finally dismissing the student body to mingle about the hall.

Amaris stood from her seat as the staff made their way from the stage and dispersed, the Countess turning just in time to see Varis making his approach. With a bow and a smile, the Count greeted her with all the proper etiquette but none of the sincerity.

It is a pleasure, Countess. We haven’t had the opportunity to meet in recent decades. How are you and Lord Marivaldi doing? Last I heard you were still rather at odds with the man.” Amaris had to hold back a scoff at his attempts to rile her up. Returning the smile, Amaris lowered her posture into the straight-backed curtsey she was accustomed to giving those she matched in status.

Count Varis, a pleasure indeed. I can’t say that I know what you’re talking about though. The Lord Marivaldi and I have been on excellent terms. You must have mistaken the grief for conflict, an easy mistake when you are only familiar with one.” Her smile was light but her violet eyes were ice cold, daggers hidden behind every syllable she spoke.

Nearby movement caught Amaris’ attention, the noble attendee from the house of Eve if the Countess had been paying attention. She knew little about the light haired vampire aside from her name, Arianna Eve, Countess to the once esteemed house of Eve. With the instability among the house rising, the Marivaldi household had taken up a few of the Eve responsibilities, so Amaris had become somewhat familiar with the family… or what was left of it rather. She hadn’t spent nearly enough time in their presence to gain a real opinion of their ideals, but she knew better than to trust a family who could crush their own just to rise in rank. Amaris figured that was another part of why she disliked the Sinnenodel’s so much but that was a thought for another time.

Arianna winked at Amaris on her way by, a move that caught the Marivaldi child by slight surprise. She was sure not to let it show in her expression, but her eyes shifted in color slightly betraying a moment of her embarrassment before she was able to recover them. The Countess watched out of the corner of her eye as Arianna approached the tables to ask a few questions before pulling back once again to allow other students a turn. Locking eyes with the pair, Arianna made her way over to where Amaris and Varis were standing. Appearing every bit as regal as Amaris would expect from someone of their status, Arianna shone as proof that even the most unfortunate of circumstances could produce a fine jewel.

Well well well, it seems a pair of certain someones are associating away from the more common crowd right now~ Fufufu~ And how would each the two of you be doing this fine night? Doing weII, I would hope.” She said as she made her approach, Amaris turning her body to give Arianna the same curtsey she had given Varis just a bit before.

Just a bit of catching up, you know how it is.” Amaris chuckled lightly, though the sound was a bit more strained to the trained ear.

Oh, and I was just about to ask the Count here if our mage partners were included in the invitations found in our mailboxes. Although, I am rather interested to hear if you will be attending Miss Eve? It can be rather difficult to have a proper chat with so many… prying eyes.
Dakota Brookes

Interacting with: Joryldin @Jade Blades

Dakota’s head cocked to the side at the moment of silence that followed the question, wondering if Joryldin had forgotten something back in his room. Shifting to take a step forward, the mage hesitated as the sound of a hand touching the knob filled the quiet space. Maintaining their position, Dakota took in the sight of their vampire partner with a touch of confusion. The most elite school in the country, perhaps the entire world, and here he stood wearing tattered jeans and the same oversized hoodie from the morning before. Still, who was Dakota to judge? It wasn’t as if they had gone out of their way to dress up for orientation either.

The mage quick to notice that Joryldin had taken extra precautions to cover his eyes, using not only his tousled hair but the hood of the jacket as well. A brief moment of regret twinged at Dakota, feeling partially responsible for the extra caution the vampire was taking to hide his face from the world. There was another feeling that quickly overpowered the first, however, Dakota’s heart falling to the gut as he finally spoke.

Good mo- I mean, evening… How’d you sleep? Those beds really are something else aren’t they?” While it was a question, it was far from a request for help in any form or fashion. A diversion, and a poor one at that. Deciding to play along for a little while, Dakota raised an eyebrow and shrugged.

...Yeah I guess? A bed’s a bed, anywhere comfortable I can lay my head down works well enough for me.” Slipping a moderately sized smartphone from the pocket of their pants, Dakota checked the time and nodded in the direction of the larger living space.

We’re gonna have to leave soon if we want to make it on time. Just gotta grab something small from the fridge. Did you need anything before we head out?” The offer was designed to give Jorlydin a second chance at asking for whatever it was he hinted at needing help with. There couldn’t be much that vampire would need help from a human with, so Dakota had an inkling as to what he was asking for but with so many variables it was difficult to discern even for the crafty youth.
Dakota Brookes

Interacting with: Joryldin @Jade Blades

Having opted to walk to the dorms, the pair walked down the enlightened path for a silent and very long ten minutes. While somewhat athletic, and fairly healthy, Dakota would have much preferred to take the bus that had been seen rolling by a few minutes prior. A quick note was made to learn the schedules later if they were going to be a regular thing on such a larger campus. Still, if Jorlydin was really having such a difficult time adjusting, it wouldn’t have sat right to abandon him on something so simple as a walk.

At last the pair made their way toward a row of apartments, large clusters of living spaces lining the road like some kind of gated community. The majority of the other students were shuffled along the same direction as they had been, a few exceptions routed in a completely different direction toward what Dakota assumed to be special living accomodations. What set those few students apart, the young mage couldn’t tell, but the thoughts were only present a few moments before other details took the spotlight.

Before they were allowed entrance into the housing units, the students were shuffled through a gate dotted with security guards. As expected, their ever watchful eyes scanned the scores of people for any signs of trouble that might arise. Dakota assumed they were keeping eyes out for weapons of any sort, or faces that didn’t seem like they belonged in the crowd, but as Joryldin and Dakota passed through a shiver ran down Dakota’s spine. A pair of eyes fell upon the back of the mage’s head, lingering for a few moments longer than what made them comfortable before the sensation was lifted. Dakota fought the urge to turn around and stare back at the guards, demanding to know what it was that they did, instead forcing their focus forward at the housing units they were now quickly approaching.

Dakota slowed their pace, allowing Jorlydin to take the lead at this point. Standing back a few feet, the young mage watched the vampire open a mailbox that had their names engraved on a plaque. Inside was an envelope, which he swiftly produced a key and approached the door. Breath held in anticipation, Dakota had to fight a small squee of excitement as the key turned in the lock, door swinging open so that the pair could enter.

Wow… I don’t think I’ve ever seen an apartment this nice.” Dakota had to agree. The Brookes weren’t from a low class family by any means. They always had food on the table, they took regular vacations, and the house that they lived in was rather nice as well. There was, however, something completely different about the space the pair were entering from Dakota’s old house. Somehow, it just felt fancier. Almost as if they were entering some hotel suite at an expensive retreat.

No kidding.

Stepping after Jorlydin, Dakota gently shut the door behind the pair and made to enter the space after their partner. As quick as they entered, lights around the space began to turn on, leaving the mage temporarily blinded as their eyes adjusted to the sudden change in lighting. Blinking the spots away, Dakota chuckled and made their way slowly toward the kitchen space to thrown away the disposable plate they had been eating from. Somewhere behind the youth, the fridge could be heard opening and closing before a gust of air took off into another direction.

Wandering about the main living space, Dakota’s eyes were drawn first to the flat screen which had already been switched on. There were a couple of gaming consoles the mage had packed that would easily fit if organized right, though it seemed that somebody else had the same idea by the looks of a Nintendo Switch already in place. A small smile curled the corner of Dakota’s lips at the sight. The pair might end up getting along better than Dakota originally anticipated.

Eventually Dakota’s eyes fell upon the casually dressed vampire, large sweatpants and a hoodie a clear indication that he was already trying to make himself as comfortable as possible in the situation.

I’ll take the room on the left since it’s smaller. I don’t have much.” The boy said, walking over and opening the curtains to the unit’s only glass portal to the outside world. Just on the other side of the sliding doors was a furnished patio and backyard, artificial lights shining softly across the landscape.

I’m gonna head to bed… You enjoy the sunrise, ok?” Before Dakota could say anything more, Jorlydin had already disappeared to the room he had claimed as his own. The mage heaved a sigh, eyes lingering down the hallway for a few moments after the vampire had taken his leave. From the short time they had spent together, Dakota had learned quite a lot about the boy they were partnered with. Whatever happened in his past was business to be delved into at a much later time; first they had to work on building some sort of trust between them.

At first glance, Jorlydin looked like the reserved, independant type but Dakota knew better. It wasn’t so much independence out of choice as it was out of necessity, a learned habit born from mistrust and seen often in kids that had been abused. The mage wondered if they would ever know the specifics but knew better than to push for such information. It was clear, gauging from the incident back at the welcoming party, that Jorlydin had little trust for others and even less so for himself. It wouldn’t be easy, but Dakota wouldn’t feel right leaving him to suffer in silence when it was all so obvious.

Another sigh, Dakota shook their head and slapped the palms of their hands against the sides of their face. With Jorlydin now in bed, Dakota had the entirety of the space to explore alone. The space was beyond impressive to the human, wide eyes taking in every detail that they could possibly manage. Before long, Dakota had found their way back to the bedrooms, making their way quietly so as not to disturb Jorlydin. With the size of everything, not to mention the sheer quality of building materials used, Dakota doubted there was any risk of being a nuisance… but they thought it better to be safe rather than sorry.

Dakota’s jaw dropped as they entered the room, eyes widening with renewed excitement as they entered the space. Any previous hesitations at Jorlydin’s request for the ‘smaller’ room were quickly dashed as it was made clear just what sizing scale they were talking about. The room was easily the size of the Dakota’s parent’s master bedroom. It even had a private bathroom attached, something the mage was looking forward to after years of sharing with their younger siblings. Looking around the room, Dakota noticed that their belongings had already been loaded up into the room, something immediately nagging at the back of their mind.

When they had arrived, both occupants belongings had already been delivered to the apartment. As they had not been out in the living room when they entered, it could only be assumed that the suitcases had already been shuffled into the rooms to await unpackings.

The rooms had already been decided… The thought was a short but important one, something dawning on the mage as they pieced things together. Either someone had predicted that Jorlydin would want the smaller room, or the vampire had gone through the trouble of moving all of Dakota’s belongings just so that he could give them the larger living space. Another mental note was made.

After spending a little time getting used to the new surroundings and unpacking some of their belongings, Dakota made for the kitchen and rummaged around the cupboards. Picking a dark mug from the cabinet, Dakota set to brewing some tea before opening the sliding glass door and exiting into the crisp morning air. The sun had just begun its daily ascension above the horizon, the sky streaked with pastel colors growing more intense with every passing moment. Dakota wasn’t used to being outside at sunrise, usually held up in some makeshift workshop or completely lost in the action of a video game. It was strangely nice to be able to witness the start of day, especially when sunlight was to be a scarcity for them moving forward.

Taking a seat in one of the patio chairs Dakota sipped at the scalding tea, too impatient to wait for it to cool any further. Off in the distance voices could still be heard, no doubt fellow mages that chose to stay up to watch the sunrise or had yet to adjust to the new sleeping schedules required of their new lifestyle.

It was probably about ten before Dakota felt their eyelids growing heavy, the mage stretching as they finally stood from the chair. Switching off all the lights their house was in control of, Dakota retreated back inside and set the mug in the sink to be washed later. Returning to the sliding doors, Dakota pulled the curtains closed in case Joryldin had some sleep walking habit he had not made anyone aware of. Just before making the trek back to the bedrooms, the envelope that had been in the mailbox caught the mage’s attention. In the excitement of discovery, the paper had all but been forgotten by Dakota, the secondary key still inside.

Picking up the letter, Dakota scanned its contents for anything that stood out as being important for the pair. The mage thought it strange at first that the pairs would be separated for their orientations, after all they were all new to the school, but the more thought was put into it the more it began to make sense. Despite the things both parties would have to learn together, there was more than likely twice as much that did not apply to the partnerships and thus would have no need for the other to cover. Taking note of the start time, Dakota planned out the morning to fit the most amount of sleep while still allowing a moment for food. Schedule folded neatly, the mage placed it gently back down on the table before walking away.

Looking around at their personal belongings, Dakota realized that only a fraction of their belongs had actually been unpacked and placed. With a shrug of their shoulders, the mage decided the task could be done at a later time and dressed for bed. Shutting off all the lights, Dakota crawled into the large bed and passed out.


If the mage dreamed, there was no memory upon awakening. Glancing at the clock, Dakota groaned to see the time hadn’t even reached seven yet, the mage turning over and zoning out for a while until the distant sound of a running shower broke the trance. Rolling out of bed, Dakota shuffled sluggishly toward the bathroom and spent nearly a whole minute just staring at the reflection in the mirror.

Having taken it down to sleep, the brown locks stood out in several directions giving the appearance that a brush had not touched them in at least a month. A large yawn broke the silence of the room, followed by the sound of running water from the sink. Hair pulled back, Dakota splashed the cool water into their face before setting to brushing their teeth. The idea of a shower ran through the mage’s head, but Dakota knew the warm water would just end up too relaxing; an embrace threatening to pull its occupant back into the depth of slumber.

Shutting off the water, Dakota made their way back into the main part of the room to change. Clothes were among the few things the mage had gotten around to unpacking before sunrise, shortly after the most important of the electronics, and before the school supplies that had been packed on Dakota’s behalf. While the clothes from the party had been nice, it was far too stuffy for the youth’s tastes.

It’s just orientation… Shouldn’t be too bad, right?” With a sigh, Dakota pulled a soft yellow button down shirt from the wardrobe. Eyes shifting downward, the mage debated a few things over in their head before reaching back into a different door to produce a sports bra. All the days to come, Dakota was far too lazy on this particular one to deal with a proper binder. Tops in place, Dakota retrieved a pair of brown pants and squeezed into them before snagging a jacket from the nearby closet.

A soft buzz from the bed drew the mage’s attention, the small blue light indicating a text message had been sent to her device.

At this time? Who in the blazing fu- Pressing the power button, the light from the phone’s screen illuminated the immediate area and half blinded the unprepared Dakota. The number that appeared on the screen was not one the mage recognized, unsaved to any name, but the words speaking of familiarity.

-Is it safe to come out yet? I’m all packed for the day but I kinda need your help with something before we head out… Despite being unsure of when Joryldin had acquired said phone number, Dakota shrugged and exited their own room, crossing to knock on Joryldin’s.

Don’t worry, I closed the curtains before I went to bed in case you needed something while I was sleeping. You can come out now.” Flinging the jacket over their right shoulder, Dakota stepped back and awaited for the vampire to make his appearance.

How can I help?” They followed up, sincerely pleased that Jorlydin would already be trusting enough to ask for assistance despite his gloomy disposition.
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