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9 mos 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.
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10 mos ago
*Has the sudden urge to come back to the Guild*.... *Guild is down*.... WHYYYYYYYY?!?!?! *Literally the story of my life lol*
2 likes
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. >.<
1 like
2 yrs ago
2 1/2 hours in and I'm already done with the new year. T.T
2 likes
2 yrs ago
....
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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




Orientation

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






Orientation

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.
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: Minfillia @Leslie Hall


Looking out across the sea of people, Amaris took note of some of the other personalities she would be spending the next few years with. The natural born vampires were the first to blend in, flocking together to gossip and network, quick to solidify alliances before the classes had even begun. Having been apart of upper society for as long as they had, their etiquette (while not always perfect) was refined and reflective of their status. She wouldn’t deny the benefits of such a move, but she had a personal belief that such binds were shallow and easily corrupted. One false move and the entire group could be turned against one another.

Mages were a far more interesting group to watch, coexisting with differences as plain as night and day even between one another. Some seemed uncertain of themselves, anxious about their newfound position and purpose within society. Amaris could understand their apprehension, after all, it couldn’t be easy to have one’s life affected in such major ways. Others, however, seemed right at home. Those she assumed to be acclimated to vampiric life prior to attending Noila academy, perhaps born to mages with family assignments. Their origins were inconsequential to Amaris, all she could hope for was that their studies would be fruitful and their partnerships beneficial.

She had to stifle a laugh as her eyes trailed after a particular child barreling through the crowd with the grace of an ox, only to topple as they reached the edges of the crowd. After a brief interaction with the person they had bumped into, it became clear to Amaris that it was another pair coming together for the first time. Attention shifted to the boy, a twinge of sadness staying her excitement. Clearly he was a vampire but he was nothing at all like her. He stuck out like a sore thumb, a quivering and almost sickly looking boy despite his physiology.

An Embraced. Amaris sighed internally, fighting the urge to shake her head. While Amaris herself had nothing against those that had once been human, the mere thought of what they had to go through in order to gain immortality was enough to make her ill. She couldn’t help but to wonder if he had asked for such a life or if it had been forced upon him due to forces outside his control. The young noble turned her eyes away as the two made their way back through the crowd and toward the tables of food. It was not up to her to feel pity, what right did she have to impose her sadness onto the boy? For all she knew, he was perfectly content with his situation or had long since come to terms with the changes at hand.

A shimmer of gold out of the corner of her eye pulled Amaris’ attention away from the partygoers, the vampire turning to greet the newcomer as she made her approach. She recognized the human immediately from the picture that had been provided, the beauty untarnished in the pale lighting. If there was one thing Amaris had to admit, there was something additionally enchanting about seeing Minfillia in person; a grace in movement that a still frame could not possibly capture. Though, if she had to gauge from the mage’s reaction, a similar realization had been reached by the young woman.

P-pardon my intrusion.” Minfillia was polite in her approach, careful to announce herself should she be interrupting a conversation of some kind. It was pretty obvious that Amaris had been standing on her own, but there was something to be said about the attention to etiquette and social standard. Amaris allowed a light smile to brighten her features, something soft and welcoming but not so overly friendly so as to give away the excitement bubbling up inside her.

You are Amaris Marivaldi, are you not?” Amaris was impressed with how quick the mage was to recover, having started off wide eyed and shaky of voice, Minfillia now presented herself with the poise and grace Amaris had come to expect only from her own kind. Her bow was a simple one but it was precise and spoke to practiced precision. It wasn’t a large leap to assume that this particular woman had grown up close to vampires. She showed no fear in the presence of what would be considered the world’s top predator, nor did she seem daunted by the chasm society dictated were between them. Mere moments after meeting and Amaris already found herself impressed with the human that stood before her.

My name is Minfillia von Reinhertz. From this night, I am at your service.” And there it was, the confirmation of classical training. Amaris had no doubts this woman had spent her entire life leading up to a moment like this, practicing her poise and mannerisms in a way that best served the situation at hand. It was not an easy thing to do and Amaris had witnessed many a pureblood struggle to show the decorum this human had mastered at such a young age.

Sensing the girl was finished with her introductions Amaris nodded her head back in acceptance of Minfillia’s courtesy, the same soft smile lightening her eyes to a sparkling lavender.

Minfillia von Reinhertz you may be, but at my service you are not. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” The last thing Amaris needed, or even wanted for that matter, was a servant. Noila academy was one of the few places a mage and a vampire could be considered the same. Both she and Minfillia were students with studies and jobs of their own; co-enhabitors, not master and servant. There was still a long way to go before they could be considered anything close to friends, but Amaris wanted to be clear that there was nothing but friendliness to be found in their partnership… or rather she hoped.

Please, allow me to introduce myself properly.” Without stooping her posture, Amaris gently lifted Minfillia’s hand in her own.

I am Countess Amaris of the house Marivaldi, daughter of the late Lord Ralmevik. I am looking forward to working alongside you in these coming years.” Her words flowed from her lips as naturally as the air flowed, a light and airy sound that spoke to the pride of family lineage rather than the arrogance of status. Having concluded her sentence, she lightly kissed the back of Minfillia’s hand before freeing the appendage back to the control of its owner.

Your surname, I believed I recognized it. If I am not mistaken, your family has been rather influential in our society. The current lord of my house has spoken highly of Viktor’s accomplishments… Ah, but I’m sure the last thing you want to talk about is someone else’s work. How about you tell me a bit about yourself on the walk over to the dorms, unless you have some unfinished business to attend to first?” Amaris was in no particular hurry and was fully prepared to operate at Minfillia’s preferred speed for the night. Her attention to the response was stolen, however, by a familiar voice from somewhere behind her.

She turned her body just enough so that she could see without turning her back to her conversation partner, her smile dwindling to a straight-faced scowl. The lightness of lavender gave way to the harsh cold of amethyst and her posture became slightly more rigid, unnoticeable to the untrained eye but a clear sign of discomfort to those who knew how to read her body language.

Count Varis. The name, even unspoken, left a sour taste in her mouth. She had only met him on a couple of occasions but it had been enough for her to begin actively avoiding him. Amaris despised the way he carried himself, nose high as if he was better than the rest of the world. The relationship between his family and the rest of the noble houses had been strained at best, their love for heated debate the source of many a conflict between the families. Their intellectual might was something to be admired but their application is what made them difficult to work with. It wasn’t just the antagonistic behaviors that irritated her, however, as they were just as easily ignored as engaged. Her aggravation was directed at the treatment of their mages, varied but almost always poorly. Even now she had to bite her tongue from lashing out as she watched the interaction between him and the mage assigned to him.

Had the blatant disrespect gone on any longer, Amaris might not have been able to hold herself back, her visage slowly darkening the longer her eyes bore into the side of Varis’ head. But after what seemed like an eternity the mage, who carried a decorated sword upon his side, was allowed back on his feet. Just like Minfillia, the mage appeared to have been tutored in some way prior to enrollment, but there were some major differences between them. She couldn’t be sure without further investigation, but Amaris was fairly certain she knew who the young man was.

As Varis and the mage departed from the scene, Amaris filed the information away to look into at a later date. She had more important things to attend to than stirring up trouble on the first night at the academy, turning her full attention back to Minfillia with a strained smile.

Shall we?
Joryldin Nailo and Dakota Brookes

Interacting with: Each other


Dakota dragged Joryldin off into the crowd, nearly tearing the sleeve from his jacket with how quickly she started. He could tell that the photo wasn’t nearly a good enough indication of just how much energy she had. This was a girl full of vigor, in total defiance to the grim world around her. It gave him a bit of hope..

Woah, slow down! You’re gonna bowl over half the party at this rate!” He laughed a little, amused by the mental image of Dakota plowing over vampire and mage alike.

I think the snack table’s this way. Here,” Joryldin pulled ahead of her and began expertly weaving the two of them through the maze of bodies. Aside from the distracting scent of blood and indulgence, it was little different than navigating a busy city street.

Dakota slowed the pace as Joryldin shifted from unexpected passenger to line leader, shifting smoothly through the crowds as if it were the most natural thing in the world for him. Being from a more rural area, Dakota was used to open spaces… seemed they had a while to go yet before they had mastered the art of crowd maneuvering. Trailing behind their new partner, Dakota couldn’t help but smile softly while he wasn’t looking. Something about his mood had shifted, lightened somewhat since the initial moment they met.

If Dakota hadn’t known better, the expression he wore in the brief moment during their collision looked as if all he wanted to do was crawl into a corner and cry. Now, however, he was taking the lead on some adventure fueled by the greed of a rumbling stomach. A thought suddenly occurred to Dakota as they neared the snack table, the mage stopping dead in their tracks, gripping the sleeve they held onto tighter.

Wait… You can’t eat regular food can you? I’d feel bad if it was just me eating, we should find you something too. They have to have something around here, right?

The vampire’s tone turned somber at the question, a grim expression all he could muster with his response.

Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.” Joryldin had his fill, but the miasma of debauchery still hung over his senses, and it called to him. A conflicted frown set itself in his features as his eyes returned to a melancholy grey. He didn’t dare overindulge, that would be just as bad as going hungry.

Dakota scowled in a way that only an older sibling could. Eyes squinting, the mage sidestepped around the vampire so that they were now standing face to face. Bending forward just enough so that he could not avoid the stern gaze Dakota was making, the youth shot a frustrated puff of air through their nose.

I have two younger siblings. Devious little twins that learned to get away with everything. And do you know who they learned it from? Me. You can’t bullshit a bullshitter my friend. Now, are you gonna be honest or am I going to have to pull out my secret weapon?” It wasn’t really a weapon to speak of, but Dakota had to learn quickly how to keep the ankle biters at bay. Caring for the twins had led to the development of one of the most efficient knuckle sandwiches the world had ever known. While unconventional, and most likely socially unacceptable to use against a vampire… Dakota wasn’t really one to care.

Hey, w-what’s this about? I told you, it’s fine.” In the brief moment their eyes aligned, Dakota was struck with an overwhelming wave of emotion. The entire weight of the struggle Joryldin had been experiencing during the night flowed between the two partners, yet Dakota found themselves unable to look away. Joryldin immediately realized what was happening, and clapped a hand over his eyes.

Oh my god, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to-” He descended into unintelligible rambling, bashful pink light leaking out from the cracks between his fingers.

Dakota inhaled sharply as the eye contact was broken, almost as if they had spent the entire time holding their breath. There was something familiar about the oppressive aura that covered them both, something that spoke to a darker past. Shaking the fogginess from their head, Dakota stepped forward and laid a gentle hand on the top of Joryldin’s head.

No, I’m sorry. I didn’t know… Why didn’t you say something, you’re miserable here. We don’t have to stay.

Yeah, but you were so excited… Who am I to drag you away from an awesome time?” Dakota couldn’t help but to laugh at his response, a proper deep gut laugh that left them bent over with cramps.

I think we’re both a little too considerate for our own goods. We’re gonna get along just fine.” Righting their posture, Dakota swiped the tears from the corner of their eyes before flashing a mischievous grin.

How about this, a happy medium? Do you want to see why I was so late?

He didn’t like that smile on her face, it was the sort that meant trouble was on the horizon. It wasn’t as if he particularly minded a little rule breaking, after all, he was no saint himself. But since finding a home with someone so ridiculously kind, he had found himself making attempts to not be the cause of said trouble… Nevertheless, it seemed trouble always had a way of finding him wherever he went.

Hmm… Alright, I’ll bite. What’s up?” After a moment or two, the accidental pun dawned on him, and Joryldin covered his face. “Did I seriously just say that?

There is absolutely no point in having pointy teeth if you aren’t allowed to make a dumb joke about it. Own that shit. Now, come on.” Looping their arm around his, Dakota snagged a small plate of unidentified snacks from the table before dragging Joryldin off to a less populated corner of the courtyard.

Looking around cautiously, Dakota placed their food aside carefully and pulled the small drone out of their jacket pocket. Holding it out between the two, Dakota inspected the machine to be sure the fall from earlier hadn’t damaged any of the important parts. Her partner patiently observed, not making a peep.

Finding everything to be intact, Dakota slipped the controls from their other pocket and flicked the switch to life, the small drone whirling to life in the palm of their hand. Gently tossing it upward, the drone dipped a foot before correcting itself, ready to be directed by the device in Dakota’s hands. Reaching into the smaller breast pocket of the jacket, Dakota produced the earpiece they had been wearing earlier, adjusting it to preference on the left ear.

It’s got a little ways to go before its complete, still a few features I want to add but I think it’s turning out alright so far. I want to get it to the point where it doesn’t necessarily need direct supervision or manual direction. Hence the earpiece… So far it can only tell me where it is though, but I’ll get it eventually.

You made this yourself? That’s awesome!” Joryldin’s eyes shifted back to an excited gold, and he paced around the little floating machine, inspecting its construction.

How’d you pull it off? I don’t think I recognize any of those parts.

You like? The main body was just your average helicopter toy I got for christmas when I was younger. I never liked how limited you were with those though. So I started taking apart older toys and dead cell phones to use their parts… This is version nuuuumbeeeer…. six! Yeah, this is the sixth version, and so far, my favorite. It’s a lot more responsive than the original and capable of flying farther from its remote, both height and distance. Eventually I’m going to install a camera and an auto pilot feature so I can mess with people from a safe distance.

Joryldin stifled a laugh, pressing his knuckles up against his teeth to keep quiet.

Oh geez, I see why you wanted to keep it a secret. You’re gonna drive people crazy with this thing, aren’t you?!”

That’s the plan.” Dakota responded with a grin, laughing a bit as they set to powering the device down. Once the piece had been properly tucked away, Dakota turned back to Joryldin.

So what now? Did you want to take a look around the grounds or something?

Joryldin took a look at his watch, and his eyes slowly drifted to a muted crimson. With a sorrow filled sigh, he gave Dakota an apologetic look and said,

The sun’s gonna be up in a little while, so I’ve got to go. I’ll meet you inside I guess.” The boy turned to make his way toward the dorms, not able to get very far before Dakota was at his side. Haphazardly stuffing food into their face, the mage walked silently beside the vampire as a silent protest to him wandering off on his own.
Dakota Brookes

Interacting with: Joryldin @Jade Blades


G-good to meet you too, Dakota! And here I was s-starting to think that you didn't show up!” Dakota flashed a sheepish grin, scratching at the back of their skull in an apologetic display.

Yeah, I kind of got a little distracted so I ended up being a bit late. But hey, I’m here now, and that’s what counts.” The statement had a finality to it, a decisiveness that could only be decided by the person saying it. It spoke to a disregard to the opinion of those around them, caring little for whether they thought tardiness was some social sin or not. In the case of the young looking vampire standing less than a foot away, it seemed the arrival was a source of relief for the boy.

His eyes lit up despite the heaviness behind them, a smile contrasting the depressive cloud that clung to his aura. Dakota might not have known Joryldin’s full story, but such a reaction was enough to kick the older sibling mode into high gear. For as much care as they put into the twins back home, what was a little more for someone who needed it.

We can get set up in our dorm and chat later. For now, what do you want to do first? The party’s still going strong.” Dakota was quick to pick up a few mannerisms right out of the gate. The way Joryldin spoke, the words he chose to use, were far from the overly sophisticated patterns Dakota had come to expect from vampire kind. A small feeling pulled at their gut, whispering a single thought in the back of their mind.

You used to be human… didn’t you?

The thought was pushed away as it was none of Dakota’s business, if Joryldin wanted to share then he would. If there came a time where the information became important, there was no force that could keep Dakota from learning what they needed to know… But now was not one of those times. Instead, the mage’s nose drifted higher into the air, sniffing in short incriments.

I don’t know, but something smells delicious and I am starved. Suppose it wouldn’t be a good party without some decent food, let’s go find some.” Dakota’s excitement shifted once again, moving away from their partner to pull them back in the direction of the crowd. It was difficult to say what it was exactly that Dakota smelled, but it was enough to get their mouth watering like a Pavlovian dog.
Dakota Brookes

Interacting with: Joryldin @Jade Blades


Standing off alone in the night’s crisp air was a young figure, neck craned up to stare at something in the inky darkness. The youth seemed out of place in their surroundings, goofing off outside despite being dressed to the nines. It was clear that this person was expected at an event of some sort, gauging from the suit they were wearing, but it didn’t seem like they were in any particular hurry. A dress jacket had been haphazardly draped over the back of a nearby bench, all but forgotten by its owner as they continued to focus on the sky.

Dakota’s eyes narrowed to a strained squint as they made a few adjustment with a device in their hands. At first glance it might have seemed like a run of the mill RC helicopter remote, but a closer inspection would have revealed tampering of the design. After a few moments of fiddling, a small green LED lit up near the top of the device, static buzzing in an earpiece that was placed on the left ear. A triumphant grin lit up Dakota’s face as specs were read off in an electronic voice in their ear, listing off height and geological location before tapering off into even tones.

Seems like my range of motion has been increased, but the rest can’t quite keep up with the distance yet. I’ll have to see if I can fix that…” The words weren’t really meant for anyone, simply observations rattled off to the empty universe. It was a habit they had picked up after spending days on end around machine projects instead of people. Keeping eyes on the skies, Dakota locked onto a small drone buzzing around above the area. There were a few smaller lights on the device but they weren’t nearly bright enough for what Dakota needed, another note for modification made to the silent night.

Too preoccupied with the drone, Dakota failed to notice that the start time for the party had come and gone. There was just so much to do still; more tests to run, notes to be made… Dakota could feel the excited twitching of their fingertips, the sensation that drove them to tinker with their toys. Driving the drone back down with their left hand, Dakota extended their right arm out so the device had somewhere soft to land. A quick flick of the pinky shut the controller off, the small lights blinking out one by one as the drone came to a complete stop in the palm of their hand.

Not too bad. Still a lot of adjustments to make, but I think we’re making good progress.

Well that’s good, but aren’t you forgetting about something deary?” Dakota spun around to face the voice, locking eyes on an amused looking elder woman. Eyes widening, Dakota flipped their right wrist around to face them, staring at the tiny lines ticking along the watchface.

Oh crap!” Dakota blurted out, taking off down the street with electronics in hand. They made it a few yards away before halting and turning back, zipping by and snagging the suit jacket before running off once again; the elder woman watching all the while.

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late…” The youth stuffed the electronics into whatever pockets they would fit into, slipping the jacket on as they ran toward the main event. By the time they made it to the guards, the lights had dimmed and a voice could be heard addressing the group of students. Red faced and very out of breath, Dakota wheezed their way through an introduction and ‘inspection’, pulling their hair back into a clip but keeping most of the front loose. Accepting an envelope from the dissatisfied looking guards, Dakota straightened their bowtie and shrugged off the jitters before setting a swift walking pace toward the festivities.

By the time Dakota arrived, the woman on display was already saying something about a growing society and the peace they had created. It didn’t seem like they had missed anything important just yet, allowing Dakota a moment to sit back and catch their breath. Looking around the darkened courtyard, it was almost as if their tardiness had gone completely unnoticed. Each and every person around them seemed entranced by the presenter. There was something familiar about the woman, something right on the tip of their tongue...

A hand slipped around Dakota’s mouth before they were able to blurt out the name of the princess, the sound muted by the cupped appendage. Standing behind the excitable youth was a tall figure dressed similarly to them, eyes locked on the princess as if what they were doing hadn’t taken a single shred of focus. Inhaling deeply through their nose, Dakota tapped the hand lightly to signal that they were now in control of themselves, the grip releasing their face before stepping away.

Dakota was still finding it difficult to sit still, ears tuning in to the rest of the welcome speech while their eyes roamed the crowds around them. Having grown up in a non-magical household, Dakota had never really been heavily exposed to vampires. Obviously they had known about them growing up, it was difficult not to, but regular humans and vampires had very little reason to interact per the treaty that protected them. On occasion, schools would bring in Mages as guest speakers to talk about the importance of various things… Dakota had never really paid much attention to what they were actually saying, mind always wandering off on random tangents.

Here, however, every other figure was a vampire… A real, sharp toothed, blood sucking vampire. The thought shot an instinctive shiver down the youth’s spine, though not so much out of fear as it was anticipation. One couldn’t help but to wonder at whether or not being fed from actually hurt. Interviews with paired mages were usually toned, skewed in the vampire’s favor. It was theorized that different people had different tolerances to the bite of a vampire, dependent on bonds and personal threshold for pain. Dakota wasn’t sure how much of the data had been meddled with, and personally couldn’t wait to gather information of their own.
Shaking their head to clear the jumbled thoughts away, the mage felt a subtle shift in energy coming from the long forgotten envelope in their hand. Upon receiving the paper, Dakota had tried to peel the seal from the paper but had been met with resistance beyond immediate comprehension. Now, however, it seemed as if the contents within were attempting to escape their confinements. The envelope had been torn open before the princess had taken her leave.

Inside was photograph and a letter containing several important details. The most important to Dakota was the address of where all of their belongings had been sent to. Going so long without certain tools had begun eating away at their patience, the anxiety building up within them over the short amount of time. Alongside the housing information was also a name, presumably belonging to the photograph that had been attached.

Joryldin? What the hell kind of name is that?” Dakota mused aloud, stumbling through the name of the one that was to be their partner. The name interested them less than the picture however, something about the image capturing the attention of the mage. There was something about him that was rather cute, in a dark sullen sort of a way. His hair was the dark grey of impending storm clouds, his expression giving him the appearance of staring longingly at something far in the distance. It was an expression that tugged at a deep corner of the youth’s heart.

Could have been worse I guess… Now, where is he? I need to go make sure my stuff all made it in one piece.” The ambient noise raised in volume now that the presentation was over, the voices of students returning to conversations they had been in the middle of previously mixing with those belonging to newfound partners. Already the pairs were forming leaving Dakota on their own near the back of the crowd. Glancing around the now enlightened space, Dakota caught sight of someone who looked slightly familiar.

It had only been a brief moment, but it had been a flash of grey just like the kid in the photograph. A long shot for sure, but it didn’t hurt to follow it just in case. The ever shifting crowd delayed the mage’s approach, throwing them off course several times in their attempt to track down the vampire they were charged with keeping alive. Using a small burst of stored up energy, Dakota made a final push to force their way through the crowd in what was hopefully the right direction. Unfortunately for Dakota, the coast had not been as clear as was previously assumed. Upon escaping the masses, Dakota ended up running head first into another body.

The impact sent Dakota reeling, the young mage tripping over their own feet in an attempt to balance. Managing to avoid a total wipeout, Dakota caught themselves on their hands and knees, just relieved they hadn’t fallen in a way that jeopardize the electronics in their pocket. After a moment, as if just remembering where they were, Dakota’s eyes snapped up to meet the person they had run into trying to escape.

I am so sorry, I didn’t see you… Oh hey! You’re Joryldin aren’t you? I’m Dakota!” Scrambling to their feet, Dakota lunged in and wrapped their arms around the pale boy in an uninvited embrace.

Nice to meet you at last. I was worried you had wandered off without me.
Amaris Marivaldi

Interacting with: No one in particular


The rhythmic clicking of heels filled the night air, echoing melodically off the stone walls shifting by. It wasn’t the sound of fragile dressiness but rather strength and confidence; a gait of purpose behind every audible step. Not so far behind trailed another two sets of subtle shuffling, a quick but muted sound as they followed the one that set their pace. A slow inhale of swelling air was released as an audible sigh as the young woman closed her eyes and spun around. The sudden motion caused the hem of the raven haired woman’s jackets to sway, bouncing gracefully around her ankles before settling back into place. Crystal violet eyes fell upon the two men that shadowed her every move, shifting calmly between the pair as they ceased moving as well.

While I appreciate your… vigilance… your presence is not needed here.” The woman spoke calmly and respectfully, choosing each word with precision and care. She knew the men that escorted her were only doing their jobs, but she was no fledgling and quite capable of defending herself if the need arose. Considering the event she was attending, not to mention the types of people who would also be attending, there was little need for concern. The men exchanged glances between one another before turning back to their charge, the one bowing his head dutifully before speaking.

Yes, m’lady. But we are here as instructed by his lordship Salazar-” The man fell silent as she raised her arm, holding her palm out to signify that she had heard enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not ungrateful for your efforts. The two of you have done an amazing job in making sure my trip has occurred according to plan, but look around. We are at the heart of Noila territory. Everything here belongs to the royal family and I’m sure they thoroughly vet each person allowed to work and live around the academy.” Gesturing to the buildings around the small group, the woman smiled reassuringly at the men who shuffled with uncertainty under her gaze.

This is no ordinary school orientation. Each and every person, mage or vampire, have been hand selected for attendance. The staff know exactly what sorts of people are going to be here, and I doubt they would allow their reputation to be sullied by an attack on their students. Besides, I hear the princess herself tends to make an appearance… There couldn’t be anywhere safer.” She stated confidently, glancing between the two men once again. They seemed slightly more at ease to the eye, but she could still sense their hesitance. Hiding a mischievous smile behind her eyes, the woman sighed again and held her arms up in a suspended shrug.

That is unless you doubt the Royal’s ability to hire competent security for their events?

No! I-I mean, no… Of course we do not doubt the royal house. If you are certain you have no further need of us, m’lady, we will take our leave.” She felt a little bad for messing with her guards in such a manner but her words were not untrue. Noila Academy was ranked among the most fortified locations in all the country. The woman had to admit, though, that she had not spoken the full truth.

The biggest reason for sending the men off had more to do with appearances than anything else. While there were likely to be others from noble houses in attendance, there were likely to be more guests from lower classes. Noila was famous for the opportunities it granted, an illusion of perfect equality regardless of status. She didn’t want to come across as being above anyone else, especially not as a first impression to the person she was to be paired with for the entirety of the curriculum.

It was a long trip and I’m sure you two are tired. Try to relax on your way home, and safe travels.” She bid the men a farewell before she turned back around and made her way to where the rest of the guests had gathered to.

~~~


Upon reaching the main entrance to the festivities, a sharply dressed woman halted her progress and asked for her invitation while her partner stared her down. Glancing back at the male she was quick to note the subtle shifting of his lips as he looked her over head to toe. If she had to guess, he was most likely using a spell of some sort in order to detect threatening weapons, or perhaps a lie detection magic. Turning her full attention back to the female security guard, the woman handed over her invitation without fuss.

This is the orientation party for Noila Academy, correct? My name is Amaris Marivaldi, I will be attending this year.” She stated, her posture held high as was customary for her when attending official events. After a quick glance between each other, and a nod from the man standing off to the side, the guards ushered her through the gate toward the rest of the group. On her way by, Amaris was handed an envelope that seemed to be sealed using magic.

Inspecting the seal curiously, she could faintly make out the runes that bound it, laughing to herself with amusement as she tucked the note away. Even if she managed to open the envelope before the allotted time, Amaris doubted that she would find anything written inside. After all, it wouldn’t be a good show without a little over-the-top theatrics.

Amaris took a quick opportunity to look over her outfit, smoothing out any imperfections so as to make the best first impression possible. She had opted for an intentionally messy updo, relaxed hair pinned back to keep it up off her neck. Two free strands had been allowed to fall on either side of her face, curled ever so slightly to give it a bounce with every step. For her clothes, Amaris had been reluctant to go all out but knew that she had to at least put some effort into looking her part. She wore a plain white blouse underneath a dark red corset vest with tight, black leather pants, and heeled knee-high boots that laced up the front. For the most part, her ensemble was elegant in its simplicity, but what really tied it all together was her coat. It was a full length piece that hugged her figure until about her hips, where it flared out and draped like a skirt. Its sleeves were short and puffed to give the top more dimension and bore a stiff collar that stood on its own with little aid.

She slipped a pendant from her pocket and draped it around her neck, a thin silver chain attached to an oval crest bearing her family’s sigil. Corrections made, Amaris took a deep breath and assumed her posture before entering the scene. Expertly plucking a crystal wine glass from a passing tray, the young woman carried the viscous fluid more for show than her own benefit. She wasn’t one to partake in blood tasting unless necessary, but she had to admit that she’d been feeling rather drained following her journey. She sipped at it slowly, almost immediately feeling the revitalizing effects.

While she had yet to develop a particular craving to blood, Amaris did find herself wishing the glass contained something a little sweeter. Fruitier tones had a tendency to sit better with her, but the traces of coconut in her current drink was enough to placate her thirst. Slowly, but methodically, Amaris wandered the courtyard, milling about to watch and listen to those around her. On occasion she would insert herself into a conversation, introduce herself or show recognition for another. It was all apart of the political game that her kind played… a game no one played better than the nobles.

Between the mood set by the lights and the quality service, the Marivaldi child was no less than impressed. On the surface, everything appeared to be running smoothly and without fault. WIth so many moving parts, details were easy to overlook and forget, but everyone involved had worked their routine out to perfection. A truly impressive feat for a school event.

Movement out of the corner of her eye caught her attention, eyes sliding across the space to settle on two men taking positions by the main fountain. She caught him speaking into a piece on his wrist, no doubt another security guard for the event. Until now, the guards had remained toward the outskirts, causing her to wonder what brought them in. Nothing had seemed particularly out of place…

Ah, I thought as much.

Amaris made her way in closer to the fountain, maintaining a respectful distance but ensuring a good view for what was to come. A few moments later the lights had been dimmed making a spotlight out of the natural moonlight. Stepping up before the crowd was a woman of mesmerizing beauty. Her poise, the grace the filled even the tiniest of motions… Everything about the woman standing before her screamed regal. Amaris had been very young when she had met Princess Ryner, but even now she was just as entranced as she had been as a child. There was just something about her that Amaris just couldn’t look away. Had she a beating heart, it would have skipped.

Maintaining her grip on her glass, Amaris pulled her right arm in closer to her chest while tucking the left one behind her back. It was a posture her father had taught her as a subtle way to salute those of higher standing than herself whilst keeping her position above those who were not as high as she.

She was a little sad to not be able to spend more time in the presence of the princess, but the feeling was quickly replaced by excitement as she fished the envelope back out. Amaris finished her glass and placed it on another passing tray with care so as not to tip the balance so that she could use the freed hand to slip the envelope open. There were no remnants of the magical seal left, having been completely lifted at the princess’ command, which made opening the piece easy. Unfolding the enclosed letter, Amaris gingerly took the photo of the girl that was to be her partner between her index finger and her thumb.

Even from a photograph, Amaris could tell her partner was a beauty. Golden hair and crystal blue eyes were a striking combination, a vast contrast to Amaris’ own black and violet.

Minfillia.” She spoke softly, testing the name out on her tongue. It flowed naturally, a good sign in her mind. Amaris tucked the photo back into the envelope along with the address to their new home, turning her eyes to the crowd around her.



@Leslie Hall
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