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  #1    
Old April 2nd, 2016 (5:46 AM). Edited April 14th, 2016 by Colony.
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    Vale Institute of Magic



    OOC

    Monday, September 7th, 2015: The School Year Begins


    “Goooooood moooorniiiing, everyone!” thundered over the school intercoms. “This is your Student Body President of Awesome, Christian Miles. It’s 8:00 A.M. right now and a lovely 58° F outside. For our friends on the Isles who may be listening, don’t worry you night owls and early birds. On the Isles, it’s an eaaarly 4:00 A.M. and a brisk 45° F. Back here at Vale, it looks to be such a fine start to the day for all you early birds, but that’s not quite what we’re here for today.

    "No, it’s that time of year once again, when the new blood joins the ranks, and maybe loses some blood themselves. Yes, that’s right; it’s the new school year and with it comes a new cast of students trying to make their mark. As always, we here at Vale want to personally welcome all of you young, talented mages to what we’d like to consider one of the best magic institutes in the world.

    "Just like every year, all new students are expected to attend a presemester student assembly, which will begin in just about an hour from now in the auditorium. There will be a plethora of valuable information as to what your time at Vale will contain and we hope to see you there! But feel free to have fun and mingle with your fellow freshman until then. And until next time, this is your Student Body President of Awesome, signing off.” A loud click soon followed to signal the end of the broadcast.

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    Old April 3rd, 2016 (8:04 AM).
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    Julie Nguyen (Air)


    (Is This) The Real Life

    On her eleventh birthday, Julie had been one of many children who had secretly been disappointed that they'd never received a letter inviting them to attend Hogwarts. Deep, deep in her heart, she had held a tiny seedling of hope; one that had quickly withered with only a slight twinge of regret.

    Almost five years later she really did receive an invitation to a school of magic. Visions of spiralling castles and dark dungeons rose unbidden in Julie's mind, which then inevitably led her to a never-ending loop of hypothetical worries. What if a student fell down the thousands of steps one would need to ascend such a castle? What if someone got lost or fell into a trap or was eaten by trolls?

    Julie'd had several weeks to conjure up tragic scenarios in her mind, each more outlandish than the last. So when the first day of school finally arrived and she found herself on the front steps to the rest of her life, a map in her hands, her heart in her throat, and her stomach roiling, she was…

    ...underwhelmed.

    Nowhere to be seen were the soaring spires and ancient arches and otherwise ornate ornamentations of Julie's mind. In their place was an ordinary-looking, if large, rectangular building. It looked like the most innocuous high school ever conceived; really rather spectacularly dull. Julie scanned the area uncertainly and double-checked her map. Perhaps she had gotten the address or date wrong? There weren't a lot of people around, but then, she was over an hour early. Maybe she'd misunderstood something that had been written in her letter.

    Her body went numb. What if this was somehow all a prank? How could she have fallen for something as ridiculous as magic powers! She knew she'd been delusional this entire time. Oh, her parents would be heartbroken…

    Julie jumped when the intercom system began to blare an announcement. As much as it had startled her, the cheerful message from the student council president had her almost sinking to the floor in relief. This was Vale, and they were accepting new students, and yes, there was magic.

    Perhaps it wasn't a mansion straight out of a fairytale, but it was real. (Probably. She didn't think anyone would hijack a whole school just to play some sort of sick prank on her.) Julie had gotten her Hogwarts letter. Even better, she'd gotten a Hogwarts letter that included a ticket to every prestigious university her parents had ever dreamed of. She could make them proud.

    This was a place where she could start over and reinvent herself. Here, she wasn't crazy or some kind of freak. She didn't have every moment of her time planned out for weeks in advance. Maybe she could even be less of a stick-in-the-mud and make some friends. Anything was possible—she was in magic school.

    Taking a deep breath and another look at the map that she'd already memorised, Julie pushed open the front doors. It didn't take her long at all to find the auditorium, which she cautiously entered. She would rather be there an hour early than risk missing out on something. Huddling against a back corner, she started scratching at the rashes forming on her arms under her long sleeves and tried really hard not to puke or pass out. It was going to be a long wait.

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    Old April 3rd, 2016 (9:41 AM).
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      DonibgoDomingo Hernández



      Domingo walked out of the nurse’s office, still struggling to wrap his mind around all that had happened despite the thorough explanation the nurse had given him. Almost dying in the desert, getting picked up by some magical military school, inexplicably losing his hoodie and shirt… But surprisingly, the thing that was most unbelievable to him was that he’d finally made it. He was in the United States of America, the place he’d spent his whole life trying to reach.

      He looked through a nearby window, at the bright green grass and the clear blue sky. It wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen before, but even so he stayed there, staring in awe at the sight in front of him as if he were on a whole different planet. So this was the land of the free, the land of opportunity. See mami, papi? I made it, just like you wanted back then. If you could see me now… well, you’d still probably hate me, but maybe I can achieve something here that can make you proud. Make you finally accept me again.

      A wistful smile appeared on his face. After a few more minutes, Domingo exited his trance, adjusted the grey, short-sleeved shirt he’d been given in the nurse’s office, and continued towards the auditorium. If he was going to make something of himself here it wouldn’t do to be late on his first day. He was sure a school as nice as this, one that was rich enough to afford freaking helicopters, would have very high expectations for its students.

      Doubts began to make their way into his head as he walked. Could he really succeed here? He wasn’t smart at all, and while the nurse did mention combat this was still a school. Hell, he hadn’t been to school since he was 9, and here he was in a fancy American school full of white kids who probably studied every day.

      His thoughts began to stress him out and he clenched his fists in frustration. At that moment he passed by a pair of students in the hall who glanced at him before speeding up, shying just a bit closer to the wall. Domingo noticed and frowned. They probably saw all the tattoos and scars on his exposed arms and got scared. He sighed, lamenting the loss of his hoodie. Yet another thing for him to worry about. It would be a miracle if he was able to make any friends here.

      Finally, he turned a corner and saw the door to the auditorium further down the hall. He stopped, honestly a bit nervous. It hit him that this would be his life for the next few years, and so far he didn’t have much confidence in it going well. But he needed this if he wanted to be someone his parents could be proud of. Someone he himself could be proud of. Taking a deep breath and clenching his fists tighter, he mustered up the courage to walk forward. He’d already been through hell, after all. There was no way a school could be any worse.
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      Old April 3rd, 2016 (10:22 AM).
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        Fern is on an adventure! Called High School! Part One!

        Almost almost almost, you can do it MetalGreymon... there!

        Fern put her game system down with relief. Nothing like playing a game on hard mode to remind you that your hand-eye coordination was in top form! ... Relatively speaking. She saved her game and put it back in her bag, patting her cheeping Digivice. You have just been fed, Puku. Calm down. Fie zipped her bag and adjuted her hoodie, finally lifting her eyes to the world around her. Within seconds, her eyes grew big, almost popping in delight.

        "Wao!" she said, which would later require another exclamation point. For the normally reserved Fie, the fact that she was positively vibrating was a sign of good health. Or something. Sure, this place looked really ordinary, super ordinary considering it was a magic school. However, she had watched a lot of anime and played a lot of games up to this point. In times like this the most ordinary things proved extraordinary. Like her, both to her joy and chagrin.

        As she thought this, she paused, realizing what she had been doing in the middle of the campus. She turned bright red and made to shrink, even though it was too late now. This was only made worse by the cheerful announcement over the intercom. Fern made her eyes open to look at her map. She should probably head there. Maybe her embarrassing entrance wasn't as noticed as she thought it was.

        Nope, it probably was. She really pigeon-holed herself into these situations, didn't she?

        Fie patted her digivice again, this time for comfort, and started to walk.

        Then, she looked around more carefully. No one was paying attention to her after all. she sighed to herself. That was her magic again. She had had it for so long, well, magic of any kind, that it was hard not to be used to it. Except, well, there was that whole it failing her when she had needed it most, but that was all in the past now. She was going to learn how to control it and make it stronger. She could do this. She could!

        Having cheered herself up, Fern started to jog to the auditorium, back in view for all to see. She didn't teleport at all what do you mean?
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        Old April 3rd, 2016 (10:27 AM).
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        Arrival

        "That's alright, I'm fine! I love you, okay, goodbye! NoseriouslymomletmegoIgottagolookaroundtheschoolandstuff." A certain young geomancer could be heard complaining until his words became a gaggle of nonsense as he tried to fight off his mother, who was currently hugging him tight enough to almost crush his ribcage. Matters were not helped when a mister Daniel Marrick decided being left out is lame and turned the Iloveyougoodbye headlock into a family bear hug. It was another few more minutes of struggling, complaining, and assuring his parents that he would be fine, and he loved them, and he'd miss them, before Jack was finally set free. When he was he hustled off at a pace that was trying to get away as fast as possible without looking like he was running from something. As soon as his family was out of sight the boy breathed a deep sigh of relief and finally started to properly observe his surroundings.

        Nice place. Wonderful architecture, lots of nice plants, smells nice, and some really hot—wait, don't I know one of them?

        Off to the side was a redheaded young lady whose cold green eyes he recognized from some time ago. She and her father had come to Daniel for some work done on their equipment. Maybe she was going to use it here. Maybe she was more amicable now, too. It occurred to him that one of those things was significantly less likely. Nonchalantly walking by, she didn't seem to notice Jack in return, but she didn't much look like she had somewhere to be, either.

        "Hey there!" Jack called lightly, catching up and matching the girls pace as they approached the main building's front doors. "Your name's Shion, right? It's nice to see you again."

        He got her to stop. She heard a voice that knew her name. However, she didn't answer. She turned to look at him, simply examining his face as though looking through her memories. "Marrick. I remember you." She returned to her traversal of the grounds, and as Jack followed along she continued, "Nice seeing you again, Jack. Something you need from me?"

        Jack shrugged as he walked, smiling as pleasantly as ever. "Not particularly; just wanted to say hi, ask how you're doing. It's neat that we'll be going to the same school." He couldn't help noticing she seemed as cold and monotone as ever. She didn't even use his first name when she remembered him. Who does that?

        "Can't disagree, I guess." Wait, was that a compliment? Jack had seen a bit of Shion's magic when they first met, and wanted to know what she was really capable of. He wondered if maybe she was curious about him as well. Though it seemed like she could just be giving him filler answers until he went away.

        "I see." He muttered, unsure if there really was anything else to say. "I'll let you be on your way then, hope you have a good year." He was feeling like a nuisance, so he figured he'd give her whatever space she needed and leave her alone, and split off.

        While he turned away, though, she answered, "I hope we get to work together some time, Jack."

        It made him smile a little more as he'd gone for a particularly interesting patch of flowers he saw earlier. Well that's something at least. And he unconsciously began whistling a happy tune.
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        Old April 3rd, 2016 (10:50 AM). Edited May 17th, 2016 by Fen-kun.
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          Decked out in her nice outfit, a white button down shirt, a diamond-patterned sweater, some grey slacks and a beret, Iris Aldridge entered through the front doors to her new life as a student for such a prestigious institution that spoke to her talents. Prestige was not something that scared Iris; coming from a rigorous academic program at a public high school in northeast Minneapolis, she was quite used to challenge and lots of work, particularly as she shut off more social and recreational pleasures to pursue isolation for the sake of, in her mind, justifiably pursuing learning new things and working hard to better herself in a way she couldn’t find with more recreational means. She kept to herself, looking cold, distant and not interested in what was going on around her, like she belonged here perfectly well and was totally ready for the task of mastering her magic skills.

          As she was slightly startled by the announcer’s overly cheery voice, she realized that she might very well have to interact with people. Disheartened by the thought, ignoring the advice to hang around and meet new people, she sighed and went onward to the auditorium, straight ahead from where Iris was in the main foyer. Walking over to the auditorium, ignoring everyone else and visualizing all of what she was sure to be the opportunity of a lifetime, she noticed a tall Latino, decked out in tattoos and some really worn out jeans and gray shirt. She stiffened, scratching her head where her beret was and trying not to look intimidated and thrown off by the dude. As Iris approached the auditorium, she didn’t meet the young man’s eyes, trying her best to ignore him and waited for him to pass by her.
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          Old April 3rd, 2016 (2:10 PM). Edited April 12th, 2016 by Songbird.
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            Underneath one of the trees laid throughout the front of the schoolgrounds were twins Lauren and Lily Fera, relaxing in the glow of the warm September dawn before they had to go to the assembly. Laid next to Lily was a pair of shortswords, although Lauren didn't have his polearm on hand.

            While they enjoyed themselves, Lily watched Vale's portal stone out of the corner of her eye—a large black slab in front of the school like untouched marble, and its only connection to the Isles. Plenty of the students looked at it, but clearly didn't think enough of it to explore any further. In fact, more were interested in the twins toting weapons.

            As the twins finished their business of relaxing, however, one student came out of a brisk jog in front of the thing. A lightly chocolate-colored girl a little smaller than them. She was carefree at first, but it almost looked like she was possessed when she touched it. Energy surged from the stone, engulfing the poor sap girl's body and sending her off.

            "I win!" Lily laughed, to her brother's disappointment. Lauren really didn't think anyone would just use it so casually, much less so easily. Reaching into her purse, Lily retrieved a tube of rosy red lipstick, along with softer-shaded eye shadow and matching liner. "Pucker up, pretty boy."

            When the instruments of a lost bet were finally put away, thankfully very soon after they were revealed, the two took the portal stone to the Isles to grab the girl and bring her back.

            Meanwhile, Fern ended up in a moonlit sea of trees! She was quite used to the sight of trees, of course. But seeing this much green in one place was grounds for excitement. Especially for her. She was in her element of greenery and things cats loved to climb. Also, well, it smelled very much like magic. Or something. It had been a long ride to end up at this place however she did, give Fern a break. Besides, she's named after a plant.

            Wait. Wait. How did she get here? She needed to remember this so she could get back. She had probably touched a plot device... and for some reason it had called her to this area. And that was why she was here. She was supposed to be genre-savvy darn it, what was with this?

            She started climbing, completely disregarding the possibility of going back to the school.

            In the minutes it took for the twins to arrive, she was long gone, running and climbing and leaping around.

            "Your eyes can follow her, right?"

            "If she's using her magic at all, yeah." Lauren's right eye glowed gold, now accented by light red eye shadow, and through it he was able to see where Fern had run off to. Fading trails of magic vaguely in her shape.

            Lauren showed the way, and the pair went after her. Thankfully, it didn't take too long. No more than maybe five minutes to catch up.

            "Hey!" Lily shouted from a distance. Shining in moonlight through the leaves, the girl was sitting on a branch and blankly gazing into the forest. She was caught off guard when Lily called for her, barely catching herself when she fell back.

            Said girl took a couple of seconds to recover, flailing with her free arm and pulling herself back up on the tree branch. She turned around to see who had yelled, and looked down. Her eyes went wide. "Hi!" Fie said after a moment of surprise. "Who are you? Do you live here?"

            Honestly that probably wasn't the smartest question in the world, but it was a fair one. She had never been here before. For all she knew, people could live here. "By the way, where is here?" Oh Fern, darling, stop asking so many questions and enjoy the eye candy. Which she was, secretly. Sorry, Anne. These twins are so cuuuute!~ Fie shook her head at herself. Yes, yes they were. No need to ogle them, though. That was rude.

            Lily introduced herself first, pulled firmly off track. She took the liberty of introducing her brother, as well.

            "We're students at Vale," Lauren assured her, "like you. We're on the Liminal Isles, and five or so hours behind the school right now. If you were a regular human, you probably would've died as soon as you got here."

            "I see..." She blinked slowly, like a contented cat, and made to climb down."So this is where I ended up..." Fie racked her brain as she hit the ground. "I'm Fern," she greeted. "You can call me Fie though. Is this where we go to use our magic for stuff that's not classwork? Like dungeons and stuff?" She had played Fire Emblem; there were places like this everywhere.

            "That's about right," Lauren answered, his sister sitting by Fern and gazing into the forest as the latter was moments ago. "We need to get back to school, though. The assembly's going to start any time now, and all the new students need to be there."

            Fern looked slightly downtrodden. For all it was like a dungeon, it was very nice here. Less prying eyes. However, school was very important. "Okay," she agreed, looking at the very cute twins once more. "Lead the way. And thanks for finding me." She made to follow them back, watching them both curiously, and somehow at the same time as they walked ahead of her.
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            Old April 3rd, 2016 (5:11 PM). Edited April 3rd, 2016 by Fen-kun.
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              Walking towards the door to the auditorium, Domingo saw a skinny white girl in expensive-looking clothing approaching it from another direction. He didn’t pay her any mind at first, but then they happened to reach the door at the same time. She stepped back and looked away, clearly very uncomfortable. This irritated Domingo, worsening his already bad mood. He knew he didn’t exactly look like the nicest guy around, but come on! He decided he would try to do something nice, then maybe she would calm down. Domingo stepped back as well, leaving the way to the door free for her to pass through, and waited. After waiting for the stranger to pass through, Iris noticed that he stepped back, realizing that he was waiting for her to pass through. While still uncomfortable, she at least recognized this sign of kindness and stiffly walked past him, muttering, 'Thanks." She looked behind her, picking up the pace slightly so that she could be by herself, so that she wouldn't have to deal with more people than she absolutely had to.

              Domingo watched her pass quickly, muttering her thanks before rushing off. He sighed, partly in relief but mostly in exasperation. He was glad she at least offered thanks and didn’t make a scene or anything, but she could stand to be a bit more grateful. As she walked into the Auditorium, walked in after her. She definitely looked like she knew what she was doing, so he decided to follow her. Looking around, he noticed all of the seats were empty save for one, where an Asian girl was sitting. Trying to be friendly, he gave a wave and a smile in her direction before continuing to follow Iris. As Iris walked over to an empty seat a few rows down from where the Asian girl was sitting, jittery and itching herself, she looked behind her to notice that the boy from earlier was still following her. To make the message more clear she wanted nothing to do with him, Iris glared at him, turned back around and proceeded to sit down and search through her canvas backpack for a book to read.

              Domingo followed Iris without a thought until she suddenly turned to glare at him. He stopped in his tracks, eyes wide at the gesture. This definitely did not improve his mood. Was this going to be how everyone here treated him? No, he wasn’t going to let that happen. At this point he didn’t care about making friends, he just didn’t want to deal with people being assholes to him.

              “Hey,” he called to her in his deep, booming voice. It was the sort of voice he’d been forced to develop to command any respect in the past, but it wasn’t exactly the best for his new setting. He didn’t care about being tactful right now, though. “What’s your problem, huh? The hell did I ever do to you?”

              Just as Iris was pining to reread a book about politics, fumbling through the bag to find "Politics 101 in the US", she was startled by a booming voice belonging to the scary looking kid from earlier. Now a bit pissed because the kid wouldn't leave her alone, she sighed and turned back around to face him, eyes locked into a cold glare and a hardened face. In her trademark soft voice, she replied, ice in her voice, "Now, now, no need to shout. I have ears, y'know. You don't have to be a pain in the ass and a loudmouth. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some reading to do." Not waiting for the angry Latino's response, she pulled out her book and flipped the page to where she left off last night.

              "Joder..." Domingo groaned, his Spanish slipping out. This was not a good move on Iris’ part and only served to further anger the boy. This time Domingo walked up to Iris, grabbed the book out of her hands, and got right in her face. He spoke, this time his voice like a low growl. “I asked you a question.”

              Trying to maintain an air of dignity, Iris backed up as best as she could, to try and get some space between them, but to no avail. With the same cold, but wavering gaze, Iris began trembling a little, more out of fear than anger, but looked at the guy directly in the eyes, showing an intense gaze that Domingo adopted for the sake of getting an answer to his question. With a more sharp, but soft voice, Iris replied, "Look, "buddy", I just want to be left alone, alright? I'm not here to start something-" She sighed, softening her tone slightly and added, "Please, just go away. I don't have a problem, I just want to be left alone." She crossed her arms, clearly wishing to maintain her cool in the face of being confronted like this.

              “You- “ Domingo was ready to lash out when she started talking, but when she softened her tone he noticed something. He’d seen this before. She was probably scared. He was mad at her for avoiding him, but he realized he wouldn’t want to be around someone who got in his face the way he was in hers. He wondered if he should back off a bit.

              But then again, that didn’t account for her attitude before he came after her. And she was still an asshole to him after he just asked a question! But he didn’t want to scare her too badly either, especially when that other girl was there and when more people would be coming. But…

              “Nggggh!” Domingo threw the book in his hand to the side with with an angry grunt, the thick book slamming hard against a wall. He looked like he was going to walk away, but stopped mid-step. That little tantrum helped him calm down just enough for him to realize throwing her things wouldn’t win him any points. With another sigh, he turned around and stomped over to where the book had fallen. He picked it up and headed back, dropping it on Iris’ lap as he passed her and continued to the complete other side of the auditorium where he dropped into his new seat with a humph.

              Stressed out by Domingo's anger, but at least feeling slightly assuaged that he returned the book after throwing it against the wall, she took a deep breath and kept her emotions at bay. She hated feeling stressed out and scared like that; it reminded her too much of her feelings of inadequacy. To derail this train of thought, she flipped to where she left off, going over the early days of political parties in the United States and other such things. This was the way that Iris felt at ease, reading and soaking up information like a sponge, not dealing with the complicated and hard to please beast that was social interaction.

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                #9    
              Old April 3rd, 2016 (6:46 PM). Edited April 4th, 2016 by DLMuerte.
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                Nychta DeMuere

                Nychta’s eyes were first awakened by bells on his alarm clock. Classic. Then came him rolling off of his bed, still in pajamas and wrapped in blankets, smacking the alarm clock before remembering, like every morning, that there was a small switch in the back and it wasn’t a matter of how hard you had smacked it but whether or not you had flicked the switch. Thus, obviously and with no doubt, 3 AM Nychta was the dullest Nychta would be the entire day. Hopefully, any and all roommates would not have to witness 3 AM Nychta, but even 3 AM Nychta doubted the possibility and instead opted for him “getting his act together as soon as possible.”


                As if.

                He shimmied his way out of layers and layers of blanket and onto hardwood floor. Groggily, he got up and flicked two switches-- turning off the alarm clock, and then turning on the lights. His eyes met this action with disdain, but the rest of his body lurched towards the bathroom. From there it was to breakfast, where Oscar patted him on the back and said that his father had gone on ahead and that if he didn’t catch up quick, he wouldn’t make it to “school.” And then he kind of chuckled quietly while Nychta scarfed a croissant and carried his coffee. And then he waved as Nychta left, until Nychta in fact didn’t leave and kind of stood there. Then they hugged, semi-awkwardly. Then Oscar reached down into his pocket, and gave Nychta a book. Nychta had seen the book enough times to know what it was, and, wordlessly, it felt like there was a passing down of the torch. A more or less questionably legal torch, certainly, but a torch nonetheless.




                For once, Remington was driving the car. There was a sort of solemn pride about him; he was extremely proud that he was about to allow his son to get some of the best education in the country, but he was disappointed in leaving him with people he didn’t know. Oscar had made no mention of what kind of people the staff were besides “willing to help their students achieve,” and Remmy had nodded along with it. Of course he would! These were the best and brightest, apparently. But now he wasn’t so sure, and a slight amount of hesitation found its way working up his stomach. What was his kid going to be doing? Did he have to warn him about the dangers of life-- drugs, women, junk food and broccoli? He tried his best to smile and wave at pedestrians upon entering the town. A few seemed to sort of recognize him-- a sort of stare, in attempt to answer the question which loomed in their minds-- “have I seen this guy before?” But it didn’t bother anyone enough.

                Nychta, on the other hand, had his face burrowed in a book until they arrived near the town-- and then he began to glance outside, finding the town seemingly normal, but endearing. He tried to keep down names and places within his head, but they all became muddled and ultimately he was smiling slightly, just watching the town pass for the half a minute left until they found themselves in front of the school. And then came both of them getting out of the car and the unexpected hug from his father-- a normally more reserved man-- caused Nychta to almost drop his soda. Then his father let go and he smiled, and he said he’d be waiting for him during... fall break? Winter break? If or when he broke out of the school? (This was followed by a semi-serious “don’t you dare break out of the school”) Whenever. And then Nychta nodded and Remmy kind of shuffled over back into the car and kinda sat there for a few moments as his son walked away. He had a meeting at twelve. He could wait for a few moments.

                Gracing the younger DeMuere’s ears when he arrived at the campus was an announcement which everyone else had already talked about, and in response he continued on his merry way. The first part of being in this new school was the library, and that’s where he planned to go. Except this was a new place, and he doubted there would be signs everywhere... but that was all the more time for exploration.
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                  #10    
                Old April 3rd, 2016 (10:12 PM).
                Sweet Dreams's Avatar
                Sweet Dreams Sweet Dreams is offline
                are made of these~
                 
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                Julie Nguyen (Air)


                Fly On the Wall

                Julie was starting to wish she'd brought her new phone with her rather than sending it through with her luggage. Her parents had hastily purchased it for her once they'd decided to send her to Vale. While its functionalities were relatively basic, there would still have been some puzzle games or something for her to play. She'd been terrified that she would lose it, however, and had felt it best at the time to keep it somewhere safe.

                It didn't take very long before two others walked through the door, though there was some weird tense vibe around them. One was a girl with long blonde hair, but the one that caught Julie's attention was a really tall (to Julie, at least) man who looked like the epitome of a stereotypical thug you might see on television. Bald, tattooed, scarred, rather Latino-looking… He was the type of person her parents would cross the street to avoid. Every warning her parents had given her about thievery and violence and drugs rose to the forefront of her mind, almost against her will.

                Julie had always believed that her parents' impressions of, well, most people was quite racist. It wasn't something she wanted to think of or inflict on other people, especially since it wasn't something that she could have avoided throughout her life either. But… well, that didn't necessarily mean that there weren't any violent, drug-dealing thieves that were Latino.

                She couldn't quite contain a squeak of surprise when the probably-a-dangerous-thug smiled directly at her and waved. He had noticed her. Oh good lord, she would have to make sure to lock her door and keep track of her possessions… just in case. Which she would have anyway, but now there was a sense of urgency to it.

                “Hey,” the probable thug suddenly yelled from across the auditorium. Julie jumped almost a foot in the air, staring at him with wide eyes in newfound fright.”What's your problem, huh? The hell did I ever do to you?”

                He was addressing the girl who'd sat down a few rows away, though Julie didn't know why. Trying her best to shrink back into her seat, she flinched when the girl replied in truly acerbic tones and riled him up further. He strode over, snatched the book that the girl had been holding, and really aggressively got in her face.

                Panic froze Julie to her spot. She should run and get a teacher or something, but she didn't know where any of them might be. Things looked like they were going to get ugly, and if anything happened the girl didn't look like she would stand a chance. Despite how much she wanted to help calm or put a stop to the situation, however, her muscles were paralysed with fear.

                Just as quickly as the confrontation started, however, it seemed to somehow resolve itself. The probable-thug threw the girl's book in a fit of anger, but seemed to grudgingly go and pick it up again for her before stomping over to the other side of the room and plopping himself down.

                Julie didn't dare move in fear of drawing attention to herself, forcing herself to look down at the floor in the hopes that she wouldn't somehow engage either of the other students' wraths. Her hands grasped each other tightly, knuckles going white in an effort to ignore the familiar itches.

                Was this the kind of people she should expect to be here? She really hoped not.

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                  #11    
                Old April 4th, 2016 (11:22 PM).
                Sephear's Avatar
                Sephear Sephear is offline
                Believe in the you that believes in cheese
                 
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                Social Complexity

                Vale really did have some nice gardens. But they were also just gardens, which means boring by themselves. Jack couldn't bring himself to spend more than a good ten minutes looking at the different flowers, smelling them, feeling a few petals before he had to do something more active. But what? There was nobody particularly interesting walking around right then. Maybe he should try to find someone? Go ask a teacher about clubs? Build something? Maybe a small scale figurine of Bojangles? Maybe an army of small metal soldiers led by the Bojangles figurine? Then make an opposing army and give them all pseudo-life at once and watch as they fight to the death.

                On second thought maybe he better just go to the assembly early so his obsessive fantasizing didn't lead to him being late. He made it to the auditorium ahead of most people as far as he could tell. At the very least he didn't really pass more than a few people on his way there. Sure enough, he only saw three other people inside already when he entered - just in time to see some big scary hombre slam some girl's book and yell. Jack's hand reflexively started to reach out, but before he could really even think about intervening the large muscly gentleman was already handing the girl's book back to her and apologizing apparently, so no need. Now he needed somewhere to sit. If he just sat by himself when there were already people he'd look like a weirdo...but he didn't exactly want to sit next to the people who seemed to have already gotten in an altercation. There was one other person there though, a meek looking Asian girl staring at the Donibgo big hispanic fella with wide, terrified doe eyes.

                Well, that was an easy decision, she looked so out of place and nervous he instantly felt the need to reassure her in some way. But he didn't want to bother her or scare her worse either. In the end he simply strolled up to her with a relaxed smile and a slight wave, then sat down next to her and said the ancient words that have sparked so many deep and meaningful conversations throughout the sordid history of the world and the human race. "Hi!"
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                  #12    
                Old April 5th, 2016 (1:30 AM).
                Sweet Dreams's Avatar
                Sweet Dreams Sweet Dreams is offline
                are made of these~
                 
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                Buds Bloom
                Jack Marrick and Julie Nguyen

                Julie's head snapped back up like a deer in headlights when she noticed someone approaching her. Thankfully it wasn't the probable-thug, but rather an affable looking guy who was also intimidatingly tall (to Julie; it would be safe to say that almost anyone could be intimidatingly tall to Julie). She was so startled by his sudden approach that she couldn't even make herself react to the wave that the man sent her way, or the his friendly smile.

                "Hi!" He said, and she was at once impressed and freaked out by how natural he sounded even though they were complete strangers. Maybe he was a serial killer. She saw on a news program once that psychopaths were very charismatic.

                "...Hi!" She echoed him unthinkingly, just a little too loudly to be appropriate. There was some renewed panic in her eyes, and she suddenly knew without a doubt that she was going to make a fool of herself if she conversed with this stranger. Maybe it would actually be better if he was a psycho.

                Jack almost felt like he could read the internal monologue written in the girl's eyes by the way they immediately widened, and then darted back and forth after she answered him. He kept thinking she was going to say something else, then got nothing until he finally broke the silence. "So, this place seems pretty cool so far. Sorry if I'm bothering you or anything, but I didn't want to sit by myself. And, well...I didn't really want to sit with those other two just now either..." The slight English accent his mother all but forced on him came out at the concerns brought on by the confrontation that happened back when he first walked in. "I'm Jack, might I have the pleasure of your name?" He asked, holding out his hand to shake hers.

                Julie reached out to shake his hand before she could even think twice. For one thing, it would be rude to just ignore him. Plus, he was being so... nice. "Uh... I'm Julie," she responded, mentally slapping herself for the awkward pause. It was like she didn't know her own name. Julie really, really did not know how to meet new people, but it did relax her a little bit to know that she wasn't the only one that felt uncomfortable with what had happened earlier. Her eyes darted towards the probable-thug and she started rubbing her arms nervously. "And, uh, I guess I don't really want to sit by myself either right now," said Julie, giving Jack a weak smile.

                "Well then I suppose it's a good thing I'm here." Jack said, smiling a bit wider. "Nobody should have to sit by themselves on their first day...although I guess it is the day when it would make the most sense. Still, it'd be awfully lonely. Regardless, it's nice to meet you Julie. What brings you to Vale if I may ask? And what kind of magic do you do?" He was glad she seemed to be loosening up a bit. He was worried at first that she'd clam up completely when he spoke to her.

                Thankfully, Julie managed to stop herself from blurting out that she was rather used to sitting alone. That would have been entirely too pathetic to tell someone, especially someone as friendly and charming and almost definitely popular as him. That all fled her mind the moment that Jack mentioned magic, however, and Julie's expression lit up. Oh, of course! This was Magic School! That meant this guy had to be able to do magic as well!

                ...Wait. "Kind of magic"? There were different kinds?

                "Well," Julie said slowly, picking at her jeans, "I'm here because graduating from Vale is basically a free ticket to the best universities in the country. Probably scholarships too, if I do well enough." She frowned and looked down, not quite able to hide the embarrassed flush on her face when she had to tell him, "I don't really know what you mean about kinds of magic, though." It was an admission she hated. She knew that it meant there was a lot about magic that others already knew and she would have to catch up on. All that hard work she'd poured into her studies and activities didn't mean squat, because here she would constantly be behind.

                Jack blinked a few times at her in shocked silence before he answered. She didn't know there were different types of magic? Had she never read any sort of fantasy book? Was her only magical knowledge from Harry Potter? After a short delay he did manage to unlock his jaw and answer. "You know, what do you DO with your magic, what are your spells like? For instance, I do things like this." After finishing his ominous explanation Jack reached into his pocket, then held out his hand, palm-open in front of Julie. In his hand was a small lump of very plain steel. However, moments after he showed her the boring little rock, it began to move. It shook for a second and then, seemingly all at once bent and folded and became a little metal soldier, with a spartan helmet and a hoplite's shield and spear. Then, with no warning, before Julie could spend too much time in awe, it began to dance like a goofball out of a cartoon.

                It was unexpected enough to draw a laugh out of Julie for the first time that day. "That's amazing!" she gushed, staring at the miniature soldier in fascination. It didn't take long for her the furrows in her eyebrow to come back, however. "I... I can't do anything like that." She bit her lip. Suddenly she was aware of how trite and unpolished her own abilities were and was hesitant to show them. But... well, that would be unfair. "Sometimes I can make people around me sleepy, or make things sound louder or quieter. Stuff like that, I guess," she mumbled. She'd demonstrate her most visually impressive ability, the bursts of air she could do, but the only things around were chairs and she didn't want to damage property or cause a scene.

                "That's really cool!" Jack blurted out, almost echoing Julie's response. "Now I know who to call if I ever get a bad case of insomnia and need a lullaby." He couldn't resist a tiny chuckle at the thought of it. "You'd be great for difusing arguments too, just tell whoever's fighting to shut up and take a nap."

                Julie stared at him, a small glow of pleasure planting itself in her heart. This guy who could make living metal statues in seconds thought that she was cool. With a shy smile, Julie said, "I guess I could try to help if that situation ever arose." She could be helpful!

                "Could you tell me more about the different kinds of magic?" Julie asked. It probably seemed pretty abrupt, which Julie realised, and she tried to backtrack a little. "I mean, if you wanted to. I just... I'd like to know, I guess. But you don't have to," she finished, unsure.

                What a nice smile she had when she was happy, certainly a good change from terrified stiffness. "Well, I'm not exactly an expert, I am still in school and all." Jack said with a wink. "But as far as I know it basically amounts to natural elements mostly. Y'know, Earth, Fire, Air, Water and I think they can be developed into other things. Like this." With that a tiny little sapling grew out of the little metal spartan's head, lifting his eensy teensy helmet into the air. The soldier flailed his arms and tried to grab the helmet, but however he moved the plant bobbed out of his reach like a cat toy.

                Julie giggled a little into her hand. "How do you develop it? Do you have to learn water and earth to get plants or something?" That seemed logical to her. It sounded like she could work with air. And not very well at that, her mind added. No matter that Jack had said it was cool before, he was so nice he probably would have said she was cool if her power had been the ability to fall out of her seat a lot.

                "No clue at all." Jack huffed, suddenly disappointed in his own ignorance. "One day I just sort of felt like I knew exactly what all the plants outside were feeling, so I took an interest in them and before long realized I could shape them much like I do the earth and its minerals."

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                  #13    
                Old April 6th, 2016 (5:51 PM).
                Grif of Hearts's Avatar
                Grif of Hearts Grif of Hearts is offline
                Que sera sera~
                   
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                  Spoiler:
                  Colly: Now, where to begin?
                  Grif: Zane and Violett find their way towards the bedroo- imeanwat
                  Colly: O_O That escalated quickly...
                  Grif: I feel like if that did happen neither of them would beat around the bush and they'd just get to it.
                  Colly: Probably. No feelings, just the fun. So, should I start, or would you rather have Violett walk up on him practicing? Just slightly different starting PoVs. Also, we should leave this dialogue in the post. For lulz.
                  Grif: I think some set up of Zane practicing would be a good idea. And yes, leave the text in. It is vitally important to this post.
                  Colly: Kk, brb, then I'll start writing up the set up stuff, and why he's shooting self-made planks of hardlight.
                  Grif: Okey doke. I'll toy with some Morgan ideas in the meantime, and decide exactly how I want Violett to interrupt him.
                  Colly: Pay no heed to my wordiness.


                  Violett Fürst-Shaw & Zane Emerson



                  So far this whole experience felt surreal to Zane. It had been but a few months since he had explained to his family that their baby boy had somehow lost his prodigal ice magic only to have it replaced with some rare, exotic light magic. Even weirder still is that it did not take very long for Zane to receive his letter to Vale. No, it seemed like it was all a bit too fake and preplanned, but then again, he was Zane Emerson. Who else would deserve such a magnificent turn of events? Nobody, clearly. But, he was here now.

                  Zane had arrived the night prior to today thanks to his family having some connections to the staff, all so he wouldn’t have to rush through the nonsense of dealing with the morning commute. It seemed like a grand gesture, but it really was just one extra night without a roomie. And since Zane had already unpacked his gear and what not, he had nothing to do for the hour following that incessant announcement. Naturally, Zane would have been content to listen to music or play games up until the designated time, but he had a bit of an upper hand about what was going to happen later that day. Yes, he knew it would pay off to practice some of his magic before the fun things awaiting him began.

                  Accordingly, Zane plodded off to one of the fields behind the school. It was a rather trifling affair actually going to the fields. Zane was always encountering some wandering, bewildered student who clearly had no idea how to handle the situation they were presented with. It was as if these people had no class. He wondered if they had ever dealt with anything of import in their pitiful lives. The conclusion that he kept arriving to was that they obviously had not. Still, his concern was only a mild one, and once he had arrived to his destination, Zane had already washed his mind of the rabble.

                  Now that his mind was on the target at hand, Zane was focused. Things changed whenever Zane dealt with magic. They stopped being so casual and shifted into a much more serious light. To begin, he crafted about a dozen or so panels of hardlight. And using a similar technique as the one used in Luminous Domain, Zane strew the area around him with the now levitating constructs. From there, he made sure to randomize their movements as to make his next job harder. Zane’s goal would be to simply shoot the targets out of the sky, but managing both his aim and the panels would be enough strain to make things at least a little challenging. Or not. He was a very good shot, after all.

                  And so Zane progressed through his trial of target shooting. Each panel darted back and forth, blurring slightly as they moved in any which direction they so pleased. The field itself rather unremarkable and looked like it hadn’t been prepped for any particular sport lately. Zane pondered if it was perhaps a field dedicated for magic practice. It wouldn’t be that odd considering it was a school for magic. With attention back to the panels, his shooting continued. Almost effortlessly, Zane took down each target. Even though the panels were moving quickly, he wasn’t particularly fazed. Then again, this was a rather routine practice that he’d often do to get in the mood for shooting that day. There was always something kinda off about shooting a bullet-like object out of the tip of your finger.

                  Still, Zane wasn’t quite satisfied with one round of target practice, so he constructed a new set of panels, only this time it was closer to eighteen. You know, for the challenge. As he lined up the panels to begin, he took care to make sure they maintained their unusual movements. But before he could take aim, something unexpected happened. The panels seemed to shimmer for a moment, their colour changing from a clear, glass-like white until they took on a soft orange glow.

                  And then each exploded into their own roaring ball of fire.

                  Zane heard the softest, feminine chuckle as the last remnants of the barriers fizzled and died, overwhelmed by the eruption of magic. Through the smoke and cinders which fell gently to the ground, singing the short cut grass beneath Zane's feet, he saw the form of a woman garbed in black as she approached him. Her lips, glossed a violet purple, curled into a slow, playful smile as she looked him up and down, and he could feel her eyes on him, examining every inch of his form. His stance, the way he dressed, the way he looked back at her, and he was sure she had been judging his previous performance with magic.

                  She brought a finger up to rest on her lower lip as in thought, but stayed silent until Zane opened his own mouth to speak, at which point she interupted. "Light magic?" she asked, although she hardly gave Zane enough time to respond. Her accent was immediately apparent, playfully dancing across her surprisingly soft, albeit kittenish voice. "Impressive. I've never seen it in person before. Granted, I expected it to be a little more of a match against some simple fire magic, but I suppose I can't have everything I want, can I?"

                  Zane merely smirked at the girl’s attempt to rile him up. She was definitely a beautiful one, but he knew the type; the type of girl always wanting to exert their will on the opposite sex to help prove her own worth. He’d at least play along for a bit. Immediately, he conjured a restricted version of his Blade Storm, limiting the spell to only a single blade. The sword was intricate for its hardlight origin, and rather impractical. But there it was, levitating in between the two mages, the point of the weapon only inches away from the girl’s face. “Those panels weren’t exactly made for durability, but something tells me you’d find my sword plenty hard enough.”

                  That was just enough to illicit a chuckle from the woman, who brought her hand further upwards to brush a lock of silky, black hair from her face. She continued to watch his every move intently as she had done long before she had finally approached, and felt for the hilt on her belt without looking to it. Zane's own eyes wandered down to her hips, or perhaps they had lingered there already, and watched as her hand coiled gently around a small, metal cylinder. She drew it from its latch on her belt and held it upwards.

                  “Oh, I’m very sure it will be. I’m just a little more worried about your stamina. I know what pretty boys are like; all talk but nothing more. You like to make a big show about it and I’m sure you have a few tricks you like to pull, but when it comes down to it--”

                  The woman snapped her hand to the side and drew her thumb across a switch on the hilt she held. From the end of the hilt spilled shards of metal lined with small runes that glowed a gentle orange, held together by a single, silvery string. She brought her hand forward and then back, snapping the metal whip with a loud crack, only for the metal shards to seal, bound by the same orange glow that radiated from the runes. The whip stood firm, now a slender straight sword which the woman brought up to attention, matching Zane’s own sword. “-I’m just not convinced you can keep it up.”

                  “Wow, aren’t you one of little faith? Believe me, I’m no stranger to long workouts,” He paused for a few moments, looking over her deep emerald eyes. They playfully stared back at him, questioning his next move, hoping not to be disappointed. Zane flashed the rest of his swords into existence, making for a total of four blades. “I have plenty of practice with my tools. And my hands are free to do whatever they need to. But hey, why make this all talk, when I can demonstrate?”

                  "Oh, please, go ahead, if you're sure that you can last long enough." Her own sword began to glisten and glow, further runes along its edge igniting with her own magical power. She winked, her playful smile turning devilish, and her relaxed pose turning into an aggressive one, taking a side stance and holding her empty hand behind her back. "I'll have you know I'm very good with my hands, but unless you keep a level head then you'll miss out on the opportunity to experience everything else I have to offer. I don't need to use my hands for us to have a little fun, but they certainly help."

                  “Well then, I guess we should work up a sweat, shouldn’t we?” As Zane said the line, he took a couple of steps back and prepared his stance. Instead of his swords standing at attention, ready to slash, Zane’s handiwork was more prodding, points aimed inquisitively towards the girl with the violet lips. “Do you have any particular rules you’d like to follow, such as how many points scored result in a win? I would like to suggest no ranged magic, though, because it's no fun if we can't take a physical approach.”

                  "Somebody's forward. If you wanted a chance to get that physical then all you had to do was ask, sweetheart." The deliberate, aggressive motions of Zane's blades were met with her own sword which she aimed purposefully as his chest, and she took a single step forward to close the gap ever so slightly. "Alright, no ranged magic, but let's not play coy here. If you really want to impress me then put those other swords away and let's keep this fight close and personal. I want it to be intimate, and I'm only interested in your one sword."

                  “I suppose I can restrain myself,” with the words just barely having escaped Zane’s lips, three of the four blades dissipated into nothingness. “We wouldn’t want to over stimulate such a delicate flower as you with the rough experience of me coming at you from all sides.” Instead of giving her time to react to his most recent jab, Zane blinked behind her, sword and all, using Vector Shift. In an instant, he turned around, lips only inches from her ear. “I do love the thrill of anonymous interaction, but how intimate can I be without the name of such a lovely creature?”

                  He had expected a flinch, but the woman barely reacted, as cool, calm, and collected as she had been when she had first approached him. "Oh, sweetheart, if you think you think I'm delicate-" She thrust her arm backwards, striking Zane in the stomach with her elbow with only a playful amount of force, and snapped her arm backwards as she turned on her heel so that the flat of her blade met Zane's side. The blade segmented, transforming into a whip and coiling its way around Zane's body as if it had a life of its own. The woman turned to face him fully and pulled Zane's bound form close until he pressed against her, and she could lean in as closely as he had only moments ago done to her, her soft lips brushing against his ear and her free hand finding purchase on his waist.

                  "-then you are sorely mistaken. My name is Violett, but as far as you're concerned? I'm your worst, or perhaps best, nightmare~".

                  Although the couple of strikes didn’t particularly faze Zane, they definitely alerted him to the sheer speed that this girl Violett possessed. He knew if things were to go well for him, he might actually have to take her seriously. “Well Violett, I suppose fair to mention that my name is Zane. And if you’re my nightmare, then I guess that makes me a rather lucid dreamer. Let’s see if we can confront some fears.” Zane winked at last part before once blinking out his captivity, the whip falling slack where he had once stood. He wanted to start things off slowly, but something clawed at his being to not give her a chance push her advantage.

                  Dashing in, Zane presented an odd attack. His sword did not follow directly behind or in front of him; instead, it darted off to the side, making a weird, semicircle before meeting him only about foot away from Violett. His hope was to confuse her into error, either she would guard the blade or she would defend her would-be tackler.

                  To his surprise she moved into the arc swing, and Zane saw the slightest hint of gold in her otherwise emerald eyes. She lashed out with her whip which found purchase on the blade, wrapped around it tightly, and with one smooth motion she engulfed the whip in flames. Violett pulled at the weapon hilt forcefully and the whip clenched and tightened, and Zane's sword shattered into a thousand pieces. As she pulled tightly the whip came across in a wide sweep, leveled at Zane's chest, the searing hot metal biting at his clothes and skin, a few small cinders flitting from the edges of its blade.

                  As the whip tore through the breast of Zane’s shirt, he faded out of existence. With only a fraction of a second to react to the blow, his goal was to alter his position into one more profitable. Instead of blinking behind Violett, as one would expect, he decided to approach her from the sky. He reappeared about fifteen feet, directly above her, both of his feet aiming for purchase on the young girl’s poised countenance. “Don’t think you’ve won just because you’ve disarmed me. Now, it’s time for me to show you how wonderful the rest of my body can be-”

                  He felt the tightness of metal digging into his leg as the whip bound it tightly, and Violett brought her up then down in a single, violent motion, and Zane felt his body dragged towards the ground at a frightening speed. He slammed into the grass-covered ground with enough force to wind him, and he felt the sharp heel of a boot press against his chest, the curvaceous form of Violett looming over him. The tight pressure around his leg vanished, and the tip of her straight sword soon pressed playfully against the exposed skin of his collar, catching the skin just so and drawing a tiny bit of blood.

                  "While I can't deny the appeal of seeing you breathless and on your back, I can't help but feel this isn't quite what you meant by wonderful. Then again, nor did I see expect to see you like this so soon. At least buy me dinner first."

                  “Ah, I guess you caught me. I might’ve gone a bit too quick, but don’t you fret one bit, I have at least one more trick to hopefully satisfy your…” Zane paused for a few moments, mostly to draw Violett’s attention to their now apparent stalemate. What were merely a few fragments of sword moments ago were now reconstructed and blade caressing the side of Violett’s neck. “-hunger. However, if this won’t do, I suppose dinner wouldn’t be that bad. But first, give me one moment. I feel a little weird when the girl’s on top.”

                  As he had done many a time in the fight, Zane blinked away from his location with Vector Shift. Zane reappeared only a few feet away. No longer was Violett’s whip sword clawing at his neck, which allowed him to effortlessly return to his feet. “Fantastic fight, really. I will admit your appearance does betray your ability. How rare is it for a girl with an appearance like you to have the swordsmanship to keep up with someone as myself? Color me impressed.”

                  Although quite easily restrained by Zane's trick, which Violett was not exactly caught off guard by, she just smiled and let it happen, flicking her wrist to snap Flüsterte Asche back into its slender grip, and then fastening it back to her waist. "I'm glad I could impress. You're not too bad yourself for a light mage, and it was certainly a good first taste of what that kind of power can offer."

                  Zane was hesitant to remove his weapon from Violett’s neck, but chose to show her some level of respect for their duel and had the blade dissipate back to whence it came. She turned around slowly to face him, her eyelashes fluttering playfully as they so often did, and Zane saw more clearly the arcane, golden glisten in her eyes, and as she brought a hand up to rest gently against his collar he felt just how searingly hot her skin felt against his, almost painfully so. He resisted the urge to wince and she smiled as the spark in her eyes faded, and very slowly the heat of her skin began to fade until she was cool to the touch.

                  The corner of her violet lips curled into a smirk and she leaned in an inch closer. "How about it, then? Dinner, this weekend?" she asked. "Maybe we can find out if you really are more than a pretty face?"

                  “This weekend? Sounds good, but I’m not quite sure how we can beat today’s events. I guess we’ll just have to be-"

                  "Creative,” Violett interrupted, a coy smile on her lips.

                  To that, a quick wink flashed across Zane’s face. “Clearly you have something in mind. So…” Almost as if willed by the gods, Zane’s phone interrupted him, signifying that the assembly’s start was rapidly approaching. “I guess we’ll have to continue this conversation some other time, unless of course you’d like to join me on my way to the assembly.”

                  Violett pressed her lips against Zane's cheek in a brief, gentle kiss, leaving the slightest smudge of purple lipstick against his skin. "I wouldn't complain of the company," she replied softly, finally releasing Zane from her grasp and turning back towards the main complex of Vale. She walked onwards, a playful, effortless sway to her hips, knowing quite well that Zane would be watching.

                  Watching was not the only thing Zane did. “Then let’s go.” He quickened his pace to catch up to his temptress, though not enough to seem hurried. In the same motion Zane reached Violett, another quarrel caught Zane’s eye, and the sound of cracking stone caught his ear. A girl and a boy were on one of the fields, a few bystanders on the sidelines. “I guess we weren’t the only ones who wanted a morning session to start the day off. They even have a crowd.”

                  "I'm almost disappointed that we didn't," his raven-haired companion mused.
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                  Old April 6th, 2016 (5:52 PM).
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                    A much shorter post than the one above.

                    "Shion, right? I heard about you from your sister." One of the upperclassmen interrupted her after she'd met with the school counselor. A blond pretty boy a few inches taller than her, a bit of visible muscle, and unnaturally violet eyes. Whatever. Not something that concerned her.

                    "What do you want?" she replied with an apathetic stare.

                    "She told me you were powerful, but I didn't think you were better looking, too. Everybody just calls me Indigo, but Indy works, if you like. I wanted to test your magic. Honestly, a lot of us do. The giant white platforms out back? They're made specifically for training, and they're great for settling things with each other or having some fun."

                    His compliments were crass, but Shion liked the idea. Duels weren't uncommon between students at Vale, according to her sister, although inherent differences in skill were easily made clear whenever they happened.

                    "Feel free to strike first," Shion courteously offered, taking up a position about twenty feet away after he'd led her to the back of the main building where a large off-white platform lay, segmented to the size of football fields. Other students occupied pieces of it for their own training, so Shion and Indigo took an empty lot.

                    "And don't hold back." A bit of a blow to Indigo's sense of chivalry, it seemed, but one he accepted. Shion was confident. More so than him. Maybe he was actually losing his nerve. But he asked for it.

                    In a pathetically basic manner, Indigo ran straight for her, grinding one hand into the opposite arm. At least he was a fast runner, but clearly he didn't put much work into dexterity. When he got up close, he threw a right hook with flames pulsing from the limb. He missed. Shion wasn't in sight; he had to follow through, and dove forward. From directly above where he was less than a second ago, Shion's foot dropped to the platform with a quaking crash. Cracks were left, but whatever the material was made of, it repaired itself in seconds. When it finished, Indigo recovered and swept the hair out of his face. From what he could see, it was like she wasn't even using her magic. The only indicator was a barely visible airflow around her arms and legs.

                    He started laughing. Arms raised he exclaimed, "C'mon, Kavanagh. That was just a taste. I want to see what kind of power that slender beauty of yours really packs, so come at m—!"

                    This was a girl who practiced her magic primarily to fight giant monsters, and probably much longer than this guy had. It was to be expected that a human-sized opponent wouldn't stand a chance. Even if a mage could live through just about anything, the fight would be over as soon as she landed a single hit, right? Well, it was.

                    Shion was just too quick, and in the instant her leg connected with his torso Indigo could hear his ribcage snapping. A sound he'd heard a couple times over the last year, but this one hurt him emotionally more than physically. Before he was launched along the stony field, he managed to use the little friction of their contact to create an explosion in bullet time levels of heightened awareness. It only kicked him further, grinding him against the material until he rolled off onto the soft grass, but he at least managed to do something to the girl he blindly challenged.

                    Sadly, sitting back up with a groan and clutching his side, he'd only managed to bruise her, one of her jean legs tattered and burnt from the shin down.

                    "Can you stand?" she asked him, offering a hand.

                    "Heh. You're even stronger than she said you'd be."

                    "Of course I am. I have to keep her on her toes, after all. You clearly can't." A bit of an arrogant smirk brushed her face as she helped Indigo reach his feet. One of the latter's friends, recovering from laughing at his failure, came by with a teacher to lift him to the infirmary.

                    "Stick to fighting monsters," Indigo's friends snickered. "Girls aren't your thing."

                    Shion sighed to herself as she looked at her jeans, hoping that others at Vale would be a little bit less... incompetent. Seeing someone she knew earlier gave her a bit more confidence.

                    She checked the time on her phone. There wouldn't have been enough time to change with how picky she was. Unfortunate, but at least it wasn't unbearable for the time being. Her jeans were a little burnt, is all. Shion ignored the other students who were watching, heading for the auditorium instead of her room.

                    When she made it in, some of the seats were taken, and there were still plenty more to fill, but there was an empty seat next to Jack. To the other side of him was a small black-haired girl with whom he was speaking. He was carrying a small dancing doll in his hands, too. Demonstrating his powers, she guessed, since there wasn't much else to do with that in public. She wanted to see, too, even if she wouldn't say it. Shion silently took the empty chair for herself, joining them only a little after Jack grew a plant out of his little figurine's head.

                    "Cute."
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                    Old April 7th, 2016 (10:44 AM).
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                    Lucifer-san Lucifer-san is offline
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                    [CENTER]
                    Episode 001: Just the beginning
                    Michael Graves
                    This was the place he was to spend his remaining school years at, it looked like any other ordinary fancy school but there was something that set it apart from others. It was apparently also a school for those with magical abilities and that was the main reason that he was here. He was rather gifted for someone who practiced magic, at least that’s what his teacher told him back then, but he didn’t really have any way to improve his skills currently as his teacher had…passed on so this would be a good opportunity for him. Standing there in the middle of the walkway leading up to the school building was him, the guy who had the black hair in a ponytail or to be more descriptive the guy in the dark blue jeans, white shirt, black jacket and kick-ass custom designed running sneakers. His name is Michael and as you can by now tell he’s pretty darn awesome, ya know.

                    “Hmm…so this is the place, I have to say it’s rather impressive.” Looking around Michael took in the sights of the students that were walking around and quickly judging them. Most of them were rather subpar but it was a given that there would be some people that wouldn’t meet his standards, they were rather high after all. Scratching his head he let out a small sigh and decided that first on his agenda would be to get himself aware with the rest of the building as he had only really explored the dorms and the city that surrounded the school when he first decided to come here. It would be tedious but maybe someone would spark his interest as he explored, taking his time he made his way around the campus. He wasn't too worried about not making it too the auditorium in time, he was excellent with time management.

                    Walking around the campus his eyes scanned the surroundings once, twice, three times and committed them to memory as he strolled around. He wasn’t in too much of a rush as he wanted to make sure he had paths memorized in case he needed to get somewhere fast and efficiently, not that he would let anyone know that he had to do such a thing to be aware of his surroundings. As he walked around he often looked at the other students and a few had looked back but they usually averted their eyes after seeing his, maybe they were a little nervous he thought to himself his stare wasn’t that intense right? He had to try and tone himself down a bit, he thought. Making friends would be hard if he kept being his magnificent self, he'd still be magnificent just...less so.

                    As he traveled around he reached into his bag and took out a water bottle, taking a sip to stay hydrated. Putting the water back into his bag he thought about what he had seen so far and suffice to say he liked what he had seen. The campus overall was just as grandiose as him, fitting for a place that was to train mages to become badasses essentially. Now that he was here, the place could only become more magnificent. It'd be more interesting though if he could run into someone interesting, however.

                    “Now where to next…” He murmured aloud to himself looking down at the map that was on his phone and decided to pick a place at random to go. It'd be more interesting than walking around when there was no one interesting to talk to, he was promised something worthy of his attention. Perhaps, he should make his way to the auditorium now rather than later.
                    </b>
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                      #16    
                    Old April 9th, 2016 (6:27 PM).
                    Nakuzami's Avatar
                    Nakuzami Nakuzami is online now
                     
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                    The First Steps
                    Vance Fintan Adair



                    As they listened to the announcement that rang forth over the school's intercom system, Vance placed his hand on Alma's head and mussed up her auburn hair a bit. "Ready to go to Hogwarts?"

                    "Oh, shut up and start walking already." The shorter girl pushed his hand aside with a bright giggle.

                    The two had been friends for practically their entire lives, and now they had arrived at the next stage in their lives together. The Vale Institute of Magic was something they'd been well aware of growing up, having been raised in a small village of mages. For Vance, it might not have exactly been his dream to attend the school, but he was no less excited to be there. As he looked around now, his excitement only grew.

                    Everywhere there were students arriving at Vale, many of them stepping into the world of magic for the very first time. Vance had no idea what that might feel like, but in an odd way, he envied those students. To have grown up in a world as seemingly mundane as theirs, only to discover the magic that truly flowed through it just as they were entering the years of their lives where the magical wonder of childhood dissipated—that must have been truly magical.

                    As Alma began walking towards the school's main building, Vance fell into stride next to her. The announcement had stated that all new students were to attend an assembly in the auditorium, and so to the auditorium they went.

                    They arrived just as some sort of confrontation seemed to be coming to an end. A boy—darker-skinned, shaved head, a plethora of tattoos and scars—snatched a book away from a much smaller girl and threw it against the wall. Vance scowled as the boy turned to walk away from the girl, but Alma held out an arm in front of him, making sure that he didn't take any steps toward the conflict. The boy throwing the tantrum may have been fairly large compared to an average person, but he was still dwarfed by Vance, and Vance had never been shy in terms of action.

                    The boy stopped before he'd taken more than a step, turned and retrieved the book he'd thrown, and tossed it back onto the girl's lap as he walked over to the other side of the auditorium, still visibly irritated. Alma dropped her arm.

                    Vance continued frowning as the two went and found their own seats in the auditorium.

                    "If he's already breaking down before the first event has even started, he won't last long here without a fair reflection on himself first," Alma commented, helping to air the grievances that she knew Vance would leave unspoken. He simply gave a curt huff in response as he sat back in his chair.

                    "If you want, we do still have some time before the assembly starts," she continued.

                    Vance did want to do some exploring, but he also felt that he should see whatever this introduction was first.

                    He glanced around the room. Maybe he could at least introduce himself to a few people first. Well, more likely that Alma would do the introductions, but still, it was a thought.
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                      #17    
                    Old April 11th, 2016 (2:23 AM).
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                      Morgan Wynne


                      Morgan’s first day at Vale was very, very different from Violett’s. He stood at the entrance to Vale’s main complex, the doors wide open and awaiting his approach. His body shook with worry as he peered down into the hallway, watching as men and women ranging from new students and older students to the school's professors themselves made their way down the long passage towards the auditorium for their first lecture of the academic year. Some looked as nervous as Morgan certainly was, holding their things close and keeping to themselves as best they could, but most were too caught up in the whirlwind of new experiences and emotions to care that they were bumbling about like fools. They were at a school for magic after all, and it was ever so easy to get caught up in the moment.

                      His breathing was slow and deep, deliberate and forced, all in an attempt to keep his vision from spinning and to keep himself on two feet. He stood there, legs unsteady and arms trembling, a small selection of books clutched tightly to his chest as if his life depended on it. Morgan had never coped well with strangers, but this was almost too much for him to bear. He wanted so desperately to be strong and brave, and take on the strange, complex beast that was Vale by the horns like Diana most certainly would, but he knew that he would never be able to hold a candle to her.

                      Morgan let out a long, exhausted sigh as he thought of her. Diana. An image of the young woman formed in his mind as clear as crystal. He saw long, auburn hair that fell all the way down to her slim waist, a pair of glistening, golden eyes that could be fierce and fiery one moment, then warm and comforting the next. So much like a flame in more ways than one, he thought, his mind wandering back quite fondly to the time they had spent together. He had known her for over a year before finally arriving at Vale academy and it had been her that had taught him how to use his magic. Morgan could hardly imagine what his life would be like if she had not arrived in his life when she had. His mind stumbled even further back than before, as awkwardly and clumsily as Morgan usually was. Diana had not just taught him how to control his magic, but she had also taught him that there was potential in it. Morgan’s first experience with magic had shaken him, but it had been Diana that had rescued him from his own doubts and fears, and taught him that it was something to embrace, not shun. She had tried to teach him to approach people in the same way, but those lessons had only half stuck.

                      For how fondly Morgan thought of Diana, one might easily be mistaken that his fondness was something more than that. He loved her, most definitely, but she was more of a sister to him than anything. She was a guardian, a teacher, and a friend first and foremost, and if Morgan knew where she was he would probably be clinging to her arm as tightly as he possibly could right this very moment. All the while he headed down the school hallway, so consumed by his thoughts as he walked, he hardly noticed as he stumbled straight into another student. He looked up, wide eyed at the far larger student and his group of friends beside him, who in turn all looked down at him in surprise.

                      Morgan’s books that he had held so tightly fell to the floor, and he quickly bent over to pick them up, pulling them ever tighter to his chest.

                      "Hey, are you okay?" asked the student, a welcoming smile across his face. "Do you need some help with-"

                      Morgan was gone before he could even finish speaking. The emerald eyed boy was small and slight, and vanished into the crowd in an instant. He had not just hidden, he had ran as far as his small legs would carry him. He ran, and ran, and ran, further into the building where the crowds were even thicker. He bumped and stumbled into every person he passed, and could almost feel the walls closing in around him as there was less an less room to move freely. Morgan's breaths quickly became short and sharp, and he felt extremely light headed. How could there be so many people? Morgan slipped to the right into a quieter corridor just out of sight, and with some much needed room to breathe he slumped against the wall, eyes closed, and sighed. Really, Morgan? He was just trying to help. Did you really have to-"

                      Close footsteps made Morgan audibly yelp, and be buried his face in his hands. Come on, Morgan, keep it together. They're all just as new as you. You can do this." His eyes slowly wandered towards the wall opposite to him, and through tear-blurred eyes he saw the sign that rested above the door. "Library," he muttered under his breath, and a very small smile appeared on his lips. If there was anywhere that had any chance of calming him down it was there. He knew that the meeting in the auditorium was soon, but he wondered if he even had the potential to stand among so many other more experienced students. Very slowly Morgan pushed himself up and away from the wall and, ever so tentatively, stepped towards the library doors without a word.


                      Nychta DeMuere


                      Another student had checked the time, however, and it was that student’s voice that called out to a small, slender young woman that he spied taking steps towards the library. Softly curling brown hair fell loosely from her head, and she had the largest, silvery green eyes he had ever seen. A new student much like himself, no doubt, judging by the way she looked lost and clueless. “Hey, uh,” the student said semi-excitedly. “Have you got a minute? My name’s Nychta, and I’m a first year, and I probably need to get to the auditorium soon-ish, but I came to check out the library-- which is usually one of the better parts of a school. You seem like you’ve been around-- do you mind if I ask you some questions?” Nychta wasn't really sure how he'd made the latter distinction, especially judging by how lost and confused she looked, but he hoped it'd be somewhat correct, considering she was standing outside of the school library-- atypical at best, but that wouldn't stop Nychta from 'attempting contact.'

                      "W-what? I'm a, uh--" was all the young woman could let out, stumbling over her words in surprise, clearly never expecting to be approached so suddenly. Her lips trembled as Nychta continued to speak and he quickly stopped for fear of terrifying the poor woman. Bunching up the loose sleeves of her oversized sweater in her fists she brought them to her face and dabbed her reddening eyes gently, wiping away the first forming tears. One long, deep breath, in and out, drew from her lips, although her voice still trembled with every word. "I- I'm sorry, I... I don't really know anything about- I don't know anything about the school, I'm sorry, I can't help you."

                      “O-oh…” He spoke in a bit of a softer tone, sensing just how terrified the poor woman must be. “It’s fine, though. But…” Now that he was already here, it would at least be better for him to know at least one other person in the school, right? Even if they were by no means the most... resilient girl, or the kind of kid he expected at the school. Actually, what was this girl doing at the school? He tried to reassure her with a smile. “Can I at least get your name? You seem to be interested in the library, and I think it’d be better to know someone else at the school than, well, no one at all.”

                      "I- I'm Morgan," she replied, taking another slow, deep breath as she tried to stay calm. "Morgan Wynne." There was a long, drawn out pause as Morgan stood there in silence, her vision slowly falling down to the floor, as if unsure of exactly what to say. Eventually something came to her. "What is... what's your name?"

                      Nychta had already said his name, but, so be it. He could accept a few slip ups from someone so shaken. "Nychta.”

                      Morgan immediately blushed. "No. No, sorry, you already said that. I'm sorry, I- Sorry."

                      Nychta took a short pause, just making sure that Morgan had finished rambling. "No, no, it's alright." He’d expected the girl to be able to answer his questions about the school, but if she couldn’t-- or didn’t want to-- then there was no reason to keep talking, right? Still, though, he warily pressed on. “Hey, have you read anything good recently?” He smiled sheepishly.

                      "...Read anything?" Morgan hesitantly replied, glancing down to the books she held and then back to Nychta.

                      “Yeah. I’m almost done with the last book I've read-- er, this book--” he realized he had been absentmindedly holding the book in his hand the entire time-- “and I need something new to read. You were heading to the library, right? And you have all those books, I thought you might have some suggestions.”

                      "Y-yeah, I do. I just finished this one this morning." Morgan fumbled through the books she had held tightly, nearly dropping them in the process, before pulling out an old looking, leather-bound tome in green. "It's a little niche but I had a lot of fun reading it. Maybe you will too."

                      She hesitantly handed the book to Nychta, his hands still shaking a little as he did. The book was an odd collection of obscure fairytales from various cultures translated into English. A strange offering indeed but not necessarily and unwelcome one, and Nychta extended his hand slowly to take it. It might make a nice change of taste, he thought, and took hold of the book. Morgan dropped all the other books she held in the process, loosely pinned notes flying in all directions, and with bright red cheeks Morgan quickly bent over to scramble them back up again. "Sorry, I-" She held her tongue.

                      Nychta gently put the newly acquired green book on the ground-- upon his own-- and then quickly and systematically helped Morgan pick up her books and papers. She was clumsy, duly noted. “Don’t worry about it, it’s no big deal.” Upon getting them all together, he held them in hands for just a moment before handing them in to Morgan, who looked up to face Nychta and bumped straight into him. Morgan yelped and immediately dropped her books again, her hand moving to cover his hurt eye. Nychta recoiled a bit from the bump and rubbed his forehead for a moment ("Ow."), before taking a moment to look over at Morgan. "Hey, are you okay? ...Are you hurt?"

                      "I'm fine, I-" Morgan visibly held her tongue a second time, as if desperate to try and keep herself from rambling. She nursed her sore eye for a moment before removing her hand, revealing to Nychta that there was in fact a small, blue bruise starting to form over her left eye, before she bent over to pick up her books for the third time in as many minutes. "It's fine, really, I promise. I'm- I'm sorry for getting in the way, I- I'm sorry."

                      "Hey, it's alright. I mean, you didn't full on headbutt me or anything, so..." He trailed off as he looked at her face, and hesitated for a moment. "Huh. That won't do," he murmured, examining the bruise on Morgan's face a little more closely. As soon as he said that, water began to quickly appear from above his left shoulder, forming a sphere and turning it into ice in an instant which he caught in his palm. Morgan hesitated, but as Nychta brought the sphere up to the small girl's face and held it very gently against the bruise. "This should help keep down the swelling," he said.

                      Morgan was originally hesitant, but as she realised his intent he saw her tense shoulders lax, and brought her hands up to cup the ice against her bruise, still shielding her hands with the (slightly tear-stained) sleeves of her sweater. She sighed as she held it against her eye and wiped away a small trickle of water from her cheek, which Nychta hoped was from the small ball of ice and not another tear. Morgan's soft smile helped to settle his fears, and he smiled back in turn.

                      "There," Nychta said, smiling slightly. "That should do it. I can't keep it frozen forever, but at least there shouldn't be quite as noticeable a bruise. Sorry, that was really my fault."

                      "T-thank you," Morgan replied, her smile growing ever so slightly wider.

                      This time Nychta picked his own books back up along with a couple of Morgan's that she had yet to latch onto. Ideas quickly cropped up in his head. This young girl was fragile but they had clearly bonded, even if only a little. “Wait, so.. You’re letting me borrow this book?” Morgan nodded as she finally stood up proper, now holding her things impossibly tightly for fear they might escape her again, so Nychta continued. “Then… can I get your number? I don’t know if we’ll see each other often, and if you’re new to the school too, then… well, I don’t want to just finish the book and not be able to get it back to you.” As many connections as you can, his father had once said. As many as you can.

                      "My number? For what? Like... for a date-" Morgan almost bit her tongue that time to stop herself from talking, her cheeks turning an incredible shade of crimson. Nychta spent a moment wondering what had gotten her so flustered, but it very quickly became apparent. It was clear she was not used to being approached by anyone, and asking her for her phone number had obviously been interpreted as an attempt to flirt. Morgan was not unattractive, in a waifish, fragile sort of way, but his intentions had been entirely innocent. He debated clarifying as he visibly saw Morgan performing the necessary mental gymnastics, but if she were this emotional now, how might she take it if he repealed his offer? Eventually Morgan's hands fumbled in her pockets of her loose-fitting, warm sweater and she fished out a pen. Taking one of the smaller books she scrawled something into the paper, tore it from the book and handed it to Nychta and, there in remarkably fine handwriting, was a phone number. "H-here."

                      "I mean, if you want me to use it for a..." Nychta immediately changed his approach. "I just need to keep in touch, y'know? Don't want to keep this book away from you forever." Nychta's slightly temporary confusion dissipated, and he grinned as he realised this was a perfect opportunity. He reached for his wallet, grinned a little wider as he flipped open his wallet, grinned even wider as he stuck the paper in his wallet, and his grin turned almost ecstatic when he pulled out a small selection of tiny, square business cards. That smile vanished when his grip slipped, and the entire mess of card scattered across the ground, and Nychta's face momentarily turned to one of panic. Morgan only giggled at the display, her heart evidently a little lighter knowing she was not the only clumsy person here. As one card fluttered softly to the ground Morgan caught it, and she flipped it over in her fingers, examining it intently.

                      "Nychta DeMeure? Why- why do you have a dozen half-finished business cards in your wallet?" Morgan asked, plucking another one from the ground. This one had only Nychta's first name but no last name, and instead had his phone number on it.

                      Great, he thought. Absolutely flawless. "They're a, uh, a... work in progress. I was supposed to give you the finished one," he replied, passing a specific one over to Morgan.

                      She giggled by took it regardless, slipping the fully filled out business card into her own pocket and taking the icy ball away from her eye, with no obvious swelling in sight. She in turn handed into to Nychta who took the sphere, crushed it, and dispersed the water into the air in an instant. Morgan wiped away her eye with her sleeve as she had one not only a moment ago. "Well, I hope whatever business you're starting gets off to a good start," she replied, a soft giggle to her voice as she spoke.

                      That made Nychta smile. Morgan finally seemed a little more comfortable in her own skin, and he was glad he had a part in that. He inspected his watch a moment and was quite surprised how much time had passed just talking. "Hey, I think the talk in the auditorium is going to start soon. ...Want to walk down there together?"

                      "Sure, that'd be great," Morgan replied, looking up to the taller figure before her. She slipped her hands in her pockets and, in a display of new found confidence that surprised Nychta, turned and walked closer to the busy hallway. "Are you coming?" she continued, a soft smile on her face.

                      Nychta grinned. "Of course."

                      The two of them entered the assembly hall moments later and joined their fellow students. Morgan stood closely to Nychta who eventually led the way once the groups grew thicker, but at least for a while he saw the young woman come out of her shell, and that made him smile.
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                        #18    
                      Old April 11th, 2016 (12:44 PM).
                      Ozymandias Ozymandias is offline
                      i'm going on a journey
                       
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                      Carson Welles


                      Carson shivered in the morning chill, pulling his navy blue scarf even tighter around his neck. The announcement made over the school intercoms had stated it was fifty eight degrees out, but to the young air mage it felt like thirty at the highest. The coat he was wearing would not be enough to warm him, the thing that needed warming the most was his heart! And there was only one solution to warm it up.

                      His eyes scanned across the garden in which he had decided to situate himself. There was a rather tall fellow who seemed to be about the same age. They had been in the garden for about the same amount of time, but they hadn't spoken a word to one another and he didn't seem particularly troubled. As the only other occupant of the garden seemed to lose interest and walked away, Carson gave a quiet sigh. If no fair maidens were coming to warm his heart he supposed that he'd have to go seek one out.

                      Glancing back at the mass of flowers, he strode out of the garden, only to find the young maiden he was seeking directly ahead of him.

                      A beautiful girl with pale white skin, pitch black hair, and dark blue eyes was standing by a small maple tree. She seemed to be looking intently into the branches, shifting her body left and right every so often.

                      "Ah, the maple tree. Such a beautiful and classic air about it wouldn't you say?" Carson spoke to the mystery girl as he walked towards her. "My name is Carson, Carson We-"

                      "You look tall enough." She stated bluntly, cutting off his introduction. "Could you get my cat out of this tree? He's been stuck up here for a while and I think he's scared of coming down."

                      Taken aback at the girl's rather abrupt request, Carson paused for a moment before springing into action. "Of course, my dear!"

                      Looking up into the thick red tufts that surrounded the maple's branches, he could see a small glimpse of white fur through the leaves. Straining his neck to get a better view, he could see a small cat sitting serenely on one of the tree's highest branches.

                      "He doesn't seem to be so scared, but no worries my lady, I will get him down in but a moment." As she gave him a strange look, he started scaling up the branches of the maple. While Carson was a good six-foot-one, the tree stood at around twelve feet tall, so he would need to climb at least a few branches to get the girl's cat.

                      Around halfway up the tree, he was at about face level height with the pure white feline, and up close it was about the ugliest cat he had ever seen. A scar running down its face, missing patches of fur around its body, long unkempt claws, and a set of razor sharp teeth. It was not a pretty sight to behold.

                      Giving the creature a reassuring smile, Carson called out to it. "Hey there little guy, you're making your owner worried down there. Why don't you come down and we can both see that beautiful smile of hers?"

                      The cat only hissed in response, turning away from him, almost as if it could understand what he was saying.

                      "Now don't be like that. You can't put such a beautiful young maiden as your owner, in distress like you're doing." Seeing that his presence atop the tree did nothing to make the cat want to return to the ground, Carson started to reach his arms towards the feline. "Alright there little fella, let's get you down nice and ea-"

                      As his hands closed in on the creature it hissed, and pounced directly at the intruder's face. Its claws raked across Carson's visage, but it couldn't escape his grasp. Years of line drives hit straight towards him had prepared him for this moment. He grabbed the cat and held it against his chest. The mission was solved and the young woman's troubles would be erased, perhaps he would even win her favor for doing such a task for her.

                      However, there was a more pressing matter at hand. The force of the cat jumping into Carson had knocked him off balance. And while he was busy securing the cat into his chest, he was also falling straight out of the tree.

                      Landing directly on his back, he crashed with a thud. Surveying the damage on his body, nothing seemed to be too badly injured, though there would probably be a nicely colored bruise on the small of his back tomorrow morning.

                      "You took quite the fall there." The mystery girl said flatly as she took the cat from Carson's hands. "Looks like Barlo gave you a nice scratch there on your cheek too."

                      After scrambling back onto his feet, Carson wiped his cheek to find his hand smeared with a crimson red. "It's nothing at all my dear, as it was for you. If I must climb the highest mountain, if I must wrestle the fiercest feline, for your troubles to be quenched, I would."

                      "Um... okay. Well thanks for getting Barlo out of the tree for me. My name's Elise by the way. I'm gonna ge-"

                      "Ah Elise! What a magnificent name, suited for such a magnificent woman as yourself. To commemorate our meeting I'd like for you to have this." Almost as if he had done it a million times before, which he obviously had Carson pulled out a pinkish-purple flower from out of his jacket and handed it to Elise.

                      "This here is the bitteroot, the official state flower of my home state, Montana. While the name may not be as beautiful as it looks I believe that there is a certain loveliness about it. It certainly represents how "bitter" Montana's winters can be, but at the same time represents the beauty that it holds. There's an old Native-American tale that tells of how the bitterroot came to be. It says the sun heard a mother crying because she couldn't find food for her family. The sun changed her tears into the bitterroot so she would always have food for her children. The story always brings a smile to my face and I..."

                      Carson looked up to find that Elise had vanished. He gave a sheepish smile and rubbed the back of his head. "I suppose I carried on my spiel for too long." He gave a sigh as he started to dab at the cut on his cheek with a handkerchief. "I sure hope Vale is full of such beautiful maidens as herself."

                      Taking a look at the time on his phone, he made his way to the auditorium. There still was a good bit of time left before the assembly was to be held, but it was always better to be safe than sorry.

                      Walking in, there was already a substantial number of students that had taken a seat. Friends were conversing and strangers were introducing themselves to one another. The bustling air of camaraderie gave Carson a feeling of giddiness, but he decided to take one of the empty spots near the front of the auditorium before going around to introduce himself to the ladies his new schoolmates.
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                        #19    
                      Old April 11th, 2016 (6:52 PM). Edited April 11th, 2016 by Songbird.
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                        A GM Post. Holy Crap.

                        Clack, clack, clack. Loud clicking echoed through the hall off of headmistress Vale’s high heels as she walked towards the gathered students. To her side was one of the teachers, Clayton Fields. The new academic year had just begun and, as in every year, the new students needed to go through their initiation. Sometimes the new blood knew what to expect, or were simply ready to take on anything that was thrown at them, and those were the kind Kristen appreciated. It was those kinds of students that would be prepared for what the Isles would bring. And it was those kinds of students that would be able to succeed.

                        "Clay, what are your thoughts on the new class? Have you read any of the reports yet?"

                        "I know there're a handful of students that look very promisin', and I’m sure there'll be some names ye’ll recognize. Overall, I think it should be a good bunch of kids, but I guess we’ll find out in just a bit."

                        "Hmph. Hopefully they’ll be better than last year’s class."

                        "Wasn’t last year considered one of the best the school’s had?"

                        "If we are content with that, then the school’s goal will never be achieved. We must improve with every chance we get, or else."

                        "I suppose you’re right."

                        "Of course I’m right. That’s why I run the place."

                        Fields left her to her work, leaving the auditorium while Vale took the stage.

                        "Welcome, students, to the Vale Institute of Magic. My name is Kristen Vale, and I am the headmistress of this school. As many of you are aware, you have been invited here not only to receive the highest quality education the United States has to offer, but because our world is under siege."

                        The headmistress held out a hand, and above it a blazing fire shaped an unearthly monster, the model reaching five feet high. It had a jagged stump of a lower body, but on top was a grotesque humanoid with four arms, and a club and sword in the upper two hands.

                        "This is an etherspawn. One of many. They are beings from another world, and many times our size. They are practically invulnerable to conventional weaponry, and possess power beyond our imagining. For the last fifty years, a series of islands called the Liminal Isles have appeared in the Pacific, and have been slowly expanding due to the etherspawns' presence. Even now, the few mages Earth has to offer are at war, so their friends and family can live a future without knowing."

                        Kristen then closed her hand, and the flame-created model dissipated.

                        "However, you all have the tools to not only survive, but to drive them back. Like the brave men and women who make up our staff, you were born with the gift of magic, and we want nothing more than to bring you to your fullest potential, both on the field and off. In a world where magic is still a fantasy to society, we give you the opportunity to thrive.

                        "I know this may be a lot of information to take in, and know that you are risking your lives to protect what you hold dear. We will do our absolute best to ensure your safety, but it is by no means guaranteed.

                        "Please organize your thoughts, and report to the gymnasium in fifteen minutes." Kristen thanked the students for their time, asked them to enjoy their years at Vale regardless of their position on the matter, and stepped down from the stage without offering a chance for anyone to ask questions. She knew some were already prepared, and anyone else who wasn't just got their chance to back out.

                        The gymnasium was located in the back of the school's main building, leading outside—the headmistress' intention—and inside laid a variety of weapons placed on racks. Almost anything the students could think of, it was there. Handguns, rifles, bows, swords, pikes and clubs; even flails and knives attached to chains were on the list, among even fantastical ones like a Klingon bat'leth. (Apparently, the guy who made them was a bit of a nerd.)

                        After letting her new students gather on the court and settle down, she began speaking again, ensuring that any additional questions would be answered after they were finished. This time, she had two faculty members standing with her. One was a school nurse, a cheerful black man with a thin mustache and goatee, dressed in teal scrubs like he was out of a sitcom; and the other a cowboy, rippling tanned skin under his buttoned shirt, wearing a very stereotypical ten-gallon hat, and chewing on a piece of wheat he somehow either found or created.

                        "Consider this a crash course," Kristen declared, directing her charges to select a weapon for themselves among the many available. "Unfortunately, magic alone will not be able to solve all of your problems on the Isles. Because regular earthly materials have been proven useless, all of the weapons here are forged of ether, the same substance that makes up the beasts you will encounter, and can act as a conduit for the magic you cast. In concert with your natural physical prowess as mages, these weapons will grant you the ability to fight on even terms with an etherspawn without the need to focus as heavily on casting spells."

                        She went on to explain the reason for the staff beside her. The cowboy, Clayton Fields, was a nature mage and ethersmith. He refitted every weapon to its new user's body, so it would feel comfortable to wield no matter what they decided on, as well as providing holsters, scabbards and straps to carry them. The nurse, taking a headcount, was there to prevent injuries, because the students were to practice with their new weapons on the massive off-white slab out back as soon as they were ready.

                        "For the next hour, you may find yourselves a partner, and work with them to learn the ins and outs of your new tools. Target dummies are also prepared to find your comfort zones. While most certainly not mandatory, I would like to encourage you to spar, and see what you are capable of, and otherwise practice with each other. Peers will help you learn more quickly. If you have any questions you've yet held, please ask me or another staff member now, before you head out."
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                          #20    
                        Old April 12th, 2016 (1:48 PM).
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                        Sephear Sephear is offline
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                        An Uncomfortably Close Encounter

                        Jack couldn't stop his smile from growing a bit wider at Shion's arrival. "Oh, hey there! Nice to see you again. And I'm glad you like him, I think I'm gonna call him Bruno." He held up the little steel spartan in front of Shion to give her a better look. "You know, on account of how big and scary he is."

                        "A lot smaller than Billy," she noted, "but he definitely looks better."

                        "Yeah, he's pretty cute," Jack said. "But if you think that's impressive, I've made a few improvements since you met Billy."

                        Shion raised an eyebrow at his claim, either because she wanted to hear more about it, or that she just didn't believe him. On the opposite side, Julie looked interested as well, having never met Billy before herself.

                        From there Jack proceeded to begin the epic tale of his training. Making sure to include the totally-true tales of how he climbed up a mountain with no gear and turning it's summit into a giant statue garden. A garden ruled from on-high by Greek gods carved from the very stone of Jack's own fists, a true pantheon of greatness and testament to his skill. He of course made sure to gesticulate enough while he told the mountain part that nobody would be silly enough to think he was actually trying to fool them. "I did spend a lot of time combing through some pretty neat places for minerals though. I did a lot of hiking, and even spelunked through some mineshafts."

                        He continued, slipping back into the truth. "I did what I could to get a feel for navigating strange places with no help, and especially practiced making things on the spot from all the stuff around me. The weirdest thing I found down there inspired me. I had just managed to make an iron spear with a head shaped like a spade - my favorite suit of cards - when there was a bit of a...shall we say shift? Yeah, a shift in the mountain. I guess I'd used a bit too many raw materials in some of my crafting.When the cavern shook I dropped the spear since it was already almost too heavy to carry even on even ground that WASN'T trying to throw me like a bronco. It skidded down a steep slope and I followed it - which in hindsight was probably a bad idea - and when I got to the bottom the spear had landed next to a pair of skeletons. The last people in that mine must have been dumb teenagers themselves, probably coming back from a crazy party and curious, because the skeletons were wearing a tuxedo and a toga! They were even holding hands! The spear had landed on top of their joined hands, and it gave me an idea for a much more dapper and refined warrior to aid me in my struggles."

                        Jack finally took a breath to regather his wits, and while it was obvious the girls knew he peppered in plenty of hyperbole, they were smiling and giggling at the story.

                        "So," he started again. "I climbed my way back out of that mine and started gathering together some stone, ore, and a bit of plant matter. Now I'm generally pretty good at making whatever I please from magic. But if I ever really want to create something, I do it by hand first and then just duplicate it with magic later on. So I started sculpting. I sculpted, hammered, chiseled, punched and did some growey-plant-magic things until I had the most beautifully graceful and classy statue you've ever seen. And I gave him a name befitting of his power and stature: Bojangles."

                        Jack was enthusiastic about the opportunity to show them Bojangles' majesty later on, but as the assembly started they had to quiet down, and when it came time for everyone to receive their first weapons, only Julie needed one. Jack and Shion split off from the line, letting poor Julie take care of getting her own in whatever orderly fashion these high schoolers could manage. Shion decided to help others get used to their weapons, but Jack needed to practice with his own. He made sure to say goodbye first though, hoping they'd both enjoyed the stories.

                        Almost as soon as the smithboy separated from Julie and the current object of his confusion he was confronted with a dilemma. He had no sparring partner, and everything was too much of a blur of activity for him to think of singling anyone out. That dilemma was solved rather quickly though, as Jack felt a single, slender finger tap him twice on the shoulder to catch his attention. He turned slowly to investigate, and quickly his deep green eyes met her emerald ones. She smiled and gently tilted her head to the left, her eyes running up and down his form, taking in every feature intently. Some might have thought it was a display of admiration, but Jack had the uncomfortable feeling that she was judging every part of him. Still, her smile seemed innocent enough, and soon enough she spoke.

                        “Violett. Violett Fürst-Shaw,” she said, introducing herself by holding out a dainty hand to shake. “I could not help but notice you here all alone, and rather than both suffer in silence I thought we might be able to entertain each other for a little while.”

                        Jack was stunned by the sight of the girl addressing him. While he certainly didn't appraise her body the way she seemed to be his, he couldn't stop himself from sweeping his gaze across the rest of her. She was absolutely beautiful, with perfect curves, good fashion sense, and those full perfect lips, colored the perfect light violet by whatever she'd used on them. He flared his nostrils at the pleasant scent she wore as well. All of it happened in an instant, nearly impossible for anyone to notice before Jack smiled and took her hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you Violett." Something about the way she held her hand out reminded him of something...then the memories of his father's lectures on "how to treat a lady" came back to him all at once and he very lightly kissed her hand before releasing it, and he saw out of the corner of his eye her smile grow a little more obvious. "I could definitely use a sparring partner, the second they released us to get weapons this place became chaos. I must admit to feeling a little lost and overwhelmed."

                        “Not even going to tell me your name?” she replied, a playful tone to her voice. “Very well, stranger, but if you’re hoping to be the mysterious, handsome blond I’ll think about longingly for years to come then you’re sorely mistaken.”

                        She briefly surveyed the hall and picked out a small but open space in the corner that looked just large enough for their dalliance. Violett stepped forward and around Jack, hardly passing a glance at him as she made her way towards it. Jack watched her though, from the sway of her hips to the way she pulled something small and metallic from her belt. She took her position on one side of the stretch of ground she had picked out and looked to Jack, waiting for him to approach her.

                        “Just try not to get too overwhelmed,” she called back, just over the bustle of the crowds in the assembly hall. “I can promise I’ll go easy on you if you lose your head, and while you look like you might be a competent mage I’d be ever so disappointed if you did not live up to my expectations.”

                        He chuckled while he followed her over to their secluded spot. "Silly me, I'm sorry. My name is Jack, Jack Marrick. I don't know what your expectations are, but I'll do my best to give you a good showing." He bowed low with a smirk then, with a flourish an ornate sword and shield appeared in his hands in a small flash. "I'd hate to disappoint such a lovely lady. Especially one so kind as to approach me when I'm at a loss for what to do."

                        "Marrick?" she asked, questioning the name. As Jack brought his own weapons into full view, Violett did the same. He saw her press something on the metal cylinder, a long, slender chain of metal falling from it, lined with fragments of bladed metal that turned it into a menacing looking lashing weapon. She snapped her wrist and the whip cracked, catching the attention of more than a few students around them, before the segments aligned and sealed together, transforming the whip into a slender straight sword.

                        Violett raised the weapon, one hand the hilt and the other on the flat of the blade, holding it horizontally. "Any relation to Daniel Marrick?"

                        "Daniel?" Jack queried. "Where did you hear-wait a second... I've seen that weapon before. My father made it! I even helped! Ah yes that's right. It was the Fürst-Shaw family it was for." He lowered his own weapons for a second to laugh jovially, almost putting a hand to his forehead before he realized what a mistake that would be. "Wow, I would have never expected to meet the daughter of the family here of all places! This is a great coincidence, I've always wondered since that commission."

                        "And a fine sword Flüsterte Asche has turned out to be. You must thank him for it. The craftsmanship is exquisite." She brought the sword across in three, swift strikes into the air, demonstrating her finesse with the blade. "I realise now why your father is so highly spoken of as an ethersmith. Now, perhaps I can show you why my family is so well known for its swordsmanship."

                        She refused to give Jack time to react. Cinders trailed behind every step Violett made as she lunged forward, the razor sharp tip of her blade aimed for Jack's shoulder.

                        In a huff Jack bent backwards just enough for the blade to miss him by an inch, ripping through the shoulder of his shirt and just barely scraping his flesh. "Whoah! Fast!" I've never been so glad to not be as bulky as dad is. In a half-panic he smacked the blade away from him with his shield as it slid past and spun around to bring his own sword to bear at Violett's midriff.

                        Violett moved with the strike, turning into the force of Jack's sword swing and bringing her blade down just in time to block it. The pair traded blows, Violett's swift sword strikes blocked by Jack's equally adept blocks, and his heftier blows parried or dodged by her slender form. The display caught the attention of several other students who paused to watch the fight, muttering among themselves over who they thought might win. Violett lunged forward again and she carried the momentum with a single revolution, bringing her elbow up and slamming it into the side of Jack's face as she twirled. She used the moment he recoiled to make some distance between the two, her sword dancing in her grip a second time. She took the handle in two hands this time, raising it up level with her shoulder and pointing it towards her opponent. "Too slow, Jack. I thought you said you weren't going to disappoint?"

                        "I don't intend to!" Jack countered both verbally and physically at the same time. He ran forward and used a small burst of ferrokinesis to launch his shield off of his arm and into Violett's hand, not managing to disarm her, but stopping her from parrying or attacking at that moment. As soon as he'd managed to stagger her he did the only thing he could think of - short of decking her in the face, and he wasn't comfortable with that - and tackled her. They both tumbled to the floor and Jack did his best to pin his opponent, left hand holding her right wrist and right hand keeping her left on the ground with the pommel of his sword. "So, ready to submit? There's only so much we can do here without killing each other or destroying the auditorium."

                        The raven haired woman could only smile as they both fell to the ground, herself pinned to the ground by the blond haired man atop her. She brought her leg up, playfully brushing the inside of her thigh against the outside of his. She leaned in close, refusing to stop until their lips brushed together as she looked up to Jack above her, batting her eyelashes as she did so. Her expression changed as she bit down on her lower lip softly, no longer distracted with thoughts of battle but very distracted by their new position. "On the contrary. I can think of plenty of other things we can do," she cooed, her voice barely a whisper.

                        Jack's face was immediately flushed red. It had become hot, extremely hot, and he felt sweat dampen his brow and struggled for breath in the oppressive heat. His hands started to grow hot, and then enough to burn to palms. It was Violett's skin, as hot as touching an open flame, and immediately pulled his hands back. She brought a hand up and grabbed his collar tightly, throwing all of her weight onto him until now she was on top. She leaned in close again, locks of her black hair falling into his face.

                        "Th-th-that's quite a trick you've got there." Jack stammered out, not completely sure whether he was burning from a spell or her reaction to his last attack. His face was so red it looked fit to burst and he couldn't think straight.

                        "Oh, I have so many more tricks," she whispered.

                        "L-l-like what?" Jack's words got more garbled as he started to feel the topic shift from their match.

                        "Oh Jack, that would be telling," she replied, drawing a finger down his chest and eventually to his stomach, her nail digging into his skin through the fabric of his clothes, before she gracefully slipped off of him and stood up, sword ready. "And you haven't nearly impressed me enough to find out those yet."

                        As soon as Violett was off of him Jack finally felt the fog in his head clear a bit and he scrambled upright, taking a deep breath to gather his wits. As soon as he did he raised his left hand and the shield shot from where it lay on the ground back to him, the leather strap refastening around his forearm. He then pulled his right foot back, settling into a stance with his shield in front of him and his sword held horizontally just above the shield and towards Violett. "I don't know what you're trying to do, but I've got no intention of giving you anything but my best!" He watched her for a moment satisfied that he was ready to defend himself. His eyes roved over her, he scrutinized her sword more than anything else, but let his eyes wander anyways since he knew she'd be watching. Hopefully it would keep her from noticing his real goal. Where's that spot? I see it! Right underneath the third link, or at least where the third link would be, I have to get her to crack it back into a whip. For lack of a better idea he decided to take a cue from her opener to the fight and let energy flow into his sword. When there was enough he let a powerful magic push out in time with his next thrust to practically fly at Violett in a potent stinger strike.

                        A stinger strike that she managed to dodge. Just. The sword cut through the mess of her recently disheveled hair, carving a small lock from her head, and even cut through the shoulder of her jacket. Not enough to break skin, but enough to ruin a several hundred dollar investment on Violett's part. She twirled on one leg again, delivering a powerful reverse roundhouse kick aimed for Jack's head, but it hit his sturdy ether shield as he brought it up to block. Violett threw one higher kick, which Jack blocked by bringing his shield even higher. Too high to block when Violett snapped her sword back into a whip and lashed it out to coil around Jack's dominant leg. It locked it place and she pulled hard, her leg back on the ground to steady herself, and wrenched his leg forward.

                        Jack couldn't possibly keep his balance with the angle the whip was pulling from, and his legs were too rigid from blocking earlier for him to move with the momentum. His foot slid out from under him and he landed right on his rump, but before Violett had a chance to taunt him anymore or follow up with another strike, Jack lifted his sword from where he was and slammed it just under Flüsterte Asche's third link. As soon as he did the whip went rigid, it's inner mechanism trying to reform into a sword, but failing to retract before doing so, leaving it extended and inert. As soon as he saw his chance Jack grabbed the whip and pulled as hard as he could, sending Violett sliding across the floor till they were face-to-face once more. Before she could do anything else he wrapped his arms around her and squeezed too tight for her to move her arms, pulling her to the ground. "How's that? I know you've got that trick where you get ho-well, even hotter that is, to try and get me to let go. But what's the point without your precious Flüsterte Asche? Submit and I'll teach you how to undo it, maybe even I'll fix that little flaw for you."

                        Violett laughed. "Very, very impressive," she replied. She did not struggle with Jack's tight grip, her hands instead toying playfully with his waist and thighs, drawing tiny shapes with her nails through his clothing. "But I told you, Jack, I'm full of surprises."

                        She made sure his eyes were very, very focused on hers as she worked her next spell. Her eyes flickered gold and he felt the same, searing sensation against his skin. It was not warm enough to burn though, but he suspected something else was about to happen entirely. Violett grinned and strained against Jack's attempts to bind her. At first Jack held her tightly, stronger than she, but as the seconds past he found it harder and harder to hold onto her. She pried apart his grip and had enough room for her hands to latch around his wrists.

                        "And don't think you can beat me with brute force, sweetheart," she said, eventually pulling Jack's arms up above his head. She shifted to straddle Jack proper, smiling all the while. "Didn't expect to be in this position with you so soon."

                        "You expected it to happen at all?!" Jack blurted out before he realized what she was implying. "You-you can't be serious? Is this how you get in people's heads or something?" He shook his head to avoid overthinking the problem and wrinkled his nose strangely. As soon as he did a large number of small clumps of dirt scattered about the auditorium from people's shoes and all other sources rushed towards them and began to rapidly adhere to Violett's arms and legs until they encased them. "Come now, I really don't see how we could take this any further without destroying the auditorium or each other. And don't you want me to fix your weapon? We can call it a tie if you want, I don't care who wins. But I'm not losing."

                        Once again, Violett hardly reacted to her binds, and Jack wondered just how much of his arsenal she had expected. The stones that bound Violett and prevented her from moving also kept her pinned atop him, but he was confident he could keep her in place. She tensed her muscles slowly and Jack felt how much force she put upon the bindings. She was strong, her strength most likely enhanced by the same magic that made her eyes glisten gold, but he was stronger, and forced her to keep her body in place. "Oh, I can think of more of a few ways this could be taken further without collateral damage but maybe we can save that for another time."

                        Her hair draped downwards, tickling Jack's face, she leaned in close again, leaning into the stone bindings for support this time. "How about you let me free and we'll call it a tie, hmm?" Her face was so close to his that, for the second time this session, their lips touched. She pressed a brief, momentary kiss against his lower lip before she pulled away, leaving her second, faint lipstick smudge of the day. "Better than I expected, Jack. Better than I had expected."

                        Jack didn't even have a chance to consider Violett's offer as soon as their lips touched he froze and the magic binding her was undone. Lucky for him he intended to argue for a draw anyways. "Yeah...ok...draw works. You're really impressive too," He cleared his throat and dusted some dirt off of her shoulders. "It was a good fight, but I should probably go." He moved to wipe some dirt off of his own face from the whole affair just to see his hand come away with a small purple smudge. "What-" then he recognized what matched its color and turned red again. "Oh! Yeah...I really should go."

                        "A very good fight," Violett whispered, stepping off of Jack and reaching an arm out to help him up to his feet too. He took it and she pulled him up, only with the other hand to slip a small sheet of paper in his breast pocket. "But I'll see you soon enough, sweetheart, I'm sure."

                        "R-right." Jack muttered. "I uh...I hope you have a good day." He ambled off before he could embarrass himself or be embarrassed any further.

                        "Hey, Jack?"

                        Jack turned his head over his shoulder to see Violett smiling. Her whip, which she had previously dropped, rested in her hand, still seemingly broken. She snapped the whip back with a flick of her wrist and, instead of falling limp as he expected it to, the blade turned rigid and realigned, transforming back into its sword form without a hint of trouble. The blade segmented again and retracted back into the hilt, stored away once more. "I commend the effort at least," she teased with a playful wink.

                        He shrugged with a half-sigh-half-chuckle. "Ah well at least it did make a difference. Maybe next time I'll get to show you what I can make that makes my father supremely jealous. If there is a next time." He finally regained his composure and waved to Violett once more as he left. "It was nice meeting you!" I think. He had a feeling they'd meet again...he'd never met someone as strange, beautiful, frustrating, or enticing before. He was torn between intrigue and worry, but he figured he'd find out which was more accurate in time.
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                        "Ever looking forward, ever thinking back. Everywhere you've been, everyone you've met was another step on your path, shaping your future even as they become part of your past. One must never discount the pieces that have made up your journey until now but to lose yourself in them would be equally great folly, instead let them hoist you up, carry you on until you find the strength to walk for yourself. So it is that I continue towards that endless horizon. Ever thinking back, ever marching forward, inexorable as the history that brought me down this road. This Lonesome Road."
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                          #21    
                        Old April 13th, 2016 (1:28 PM).
                        Ozymandias Ozymandias is offline
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                        Ménage à trois: An Attack on Carson from Two Sides!

                        Like very few others among the freshmen, Carson had no need for a new weapon, and decided to follow that few out back after the formalities were through, letting the other students take care of their needs. Two of them immediately got into beating the sense out of each other, clearly taking Vale's encouragement seriously.

                        There weren't many ladies who were this prepared, but two managed to catch him before he even realized they were there.

                        "Would you like to join us?" A good bit shorter than him in a white wool cardigan and faded blue jeans was a smiling young lady with raven black hair and sparkling jade eyes. Strapped to her back were a pair of shortswords. Nearby happened to be a doppelgänger of sorts, a blue-eyed twin with rosy lips, although she wasn't carrying a weapon of her own. "We could use a new partner."

                        The question caught Carson quite off guard. Throughout his life there had been a countless number of instances in which he approached a young woman, but this time one had approached him first. And there were two of them. "Of... Of course." He responded hesitantly, trying not to start celebrating right then and there.

                        He took a moment to gather himself before breaking out into his normal routine, and resting a hand on the hilt of his sword. "Well, why don't we get started, ladies? I assure you that I will take the greatest care in absolving both of you from harm."

                        Oddly, the girl in the back covered her mouth and started giggling.

                        "What's with that line?" the green-eyed twin laughed out. Thankfully, he wasn't unused to this sort of treatment. "Don't worry about hurting us; we can take a few hits. And before I forget—that's Lauren, I'm Lily."

                        "Carson. A pleasure to make your acquaintance, you two. Am I to assume we'll be going one at a time?" He would have been happy to receive both at once, but they must have had a lot of practice between them before this.

                        "Lily is a lot better at this than I am, so it'll just be me for now, if you don't mind." Lauren brought herself up next to them, voice notably softer than her sister's, and smiling brightly as she spoke. "I'll be in your care, okay?"

                        Carson immediately clutched his heart, unable to withstand the overwhelmingly adorable sight of a girl with such big blue eyes and kissable red lips asking so earnestly for his assistance! He wasn't even sure they were talking about combat at this point.

                        Every one of the girl's words brought upon a mini-heart attack in the much taller mage's chest. Even though they hadn't even drawn their swords he felt he was starting to sweat. "I'll make sure to take the greatest care for you, my dear." He managed to flash her his signature smile before stepping away and taking his sword out of its scabbard, and as Lauren shyly turned her eyes away Lily continued to laugh to herself on the side.

                        In return, Lauren took a deep breath and held her arm back, a glaive materializing in her grasp even longer than Carson was tall. Her slender fingers barely managed to reach all the way around the shaft, but she held it firm. THIS IS STILL ABOUT COMBAT, RIGHT?

                        "That's quite the weapon you've got there." Carson couldn't help but stare in admiration; he had never seen a pole quite that length before, much less someone so small handling it so easily.

                        He shifted his body to the side, taking up his usual fighting stance. "I'm curious as to what element that you wield. Do you happen to be an earth mage?" Surely she needed some extra strength to carry such a large weapon as easily as she was. "I, myself, wield the element of air."

                        He stopped to create a small explosion in his palm. "Equal parts destructive and beautiful, I find a certain loveliness about it. However, dear, my spells will cause you no harm."

                        A golden spark of magic flashed in Lauren's eye, and she answered, "Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not an earth mage. And don't worry about hurting me. Like Lily said, we can take a few hits just fine."

                        "At least allow me the courtesy of letting you strike first," Carson asked of her.

                        Lauren thanked him with a nod, and spinning her weapon around she swung it forward, a blade made of air flying out as the head struck the ground. Shifting almost immediately to a defensive stance, Carson swung his blade around to parry the girl's attack.

                        "If not an earth mage, perhaps an air mage like myself?" he inquired, before swinging down his sword and sending his own blade of air towards Lauren.

                        She threw her glaive out, breaking apart his Razor Wind and sending the polearm at him. Carson once again swung his sword to try and parry, but realized that his blade wouldn't get there in time. For a moment, a barrier materialized out of thin air, deflecting Lauren's weapon into the air. When he looked to Lauren's position, however, she disappeared. He looked to the sky, and coming down from above was his opponent with weapon in hand. He raised his sword to answer, and the blades collided.

                        When the two regained their composure, Carson couldn't help but find himself amazed. "The manner in which you go about your fighting is truly dazzling. I have never seen someone so beautiful both on and off the battlefield." This time he managed to get through her calm shell, eliciting a very lovely blush as Lauren looked away in silence, much to Lily's enjoyment. It didn't take long for Lauren to settle herself once more, and swiped out a large horizontal blade much closer to Carson's own magic than her first attack.

                        He cut through it once again, forced to enhance his sword edge with his magic to break it down, and complimented that she was clearly quite practiced. He wondered just how experienced Lily must have been by comparison, and offered to end their friendly duel there. "If anything," he finished, "I'd be learning something from you."

                        He managed to get Lauren to smile another heart-churning smile. Perhaps she could teach him how to summon his weapon the way she'd done. He certainly would have found it useful, and it was a nice thought that he could spend more time with them.
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                          #22    
                        Old April 13th, 2016 (1:37 PM).
                        Colony's Avatar
                        Colony Colony is online now
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                          Zane's Dilemma: Why Are All the Hot Ones Crazy?

                          “Don’t worry about them. I’m sure we’ll draw a crowd this weekend. And it'll be a better show than this, won't it?” The words flowed smoothly past Zane’s grin, confident in events to come.

                          "You wouldn't rather our date be a little more private?” Violett replied, her sly smile still clear across her face. “Not a complaint, per say. In fact, I’m rather curious to see how far you’ll be able to go out in the open before nerves get the better of you. I’m certainly not convinced every bit of that confident attitude you flaunt is as steady as you’d like it to seem, but we’ll find out soon, won’t we?” she toyed.

                          The assembly hall was nearing the flirtatious pair, but Zane paid it no heed. Instead, Zane eyed Violett down, giving her another good look before locking on to her equally emerald-like eyes. “Aren’t you getting a bit ahead of yourself? I’m sure you must be preoccupied with thoughts of what we’ll do afterwards, but I was merely talking about dinner.”

                          Violett bat her eyelashes, her coy smile growing ever more obvious. "So was I."

                          "I'm sure," Zane claimed, giving Violett a wink and a knowing smile.

                          Zane was the first one to arrive at the hall, and somehow it felt the need to feign some level of chivalry, so he decided to be a good escort and hold the door for Violett. "It's about time I take the lead and let you go first."

                          She laughed as she stepped through the door and into the bustling assembly hall. "The only time you'll be taking the lead, I can promise you."



                          After the announcement was made, Zane knew that he must separate from the lovely Violett, as he was one of the people that needed an ether weapon. He had heard of such weapons, and it just dawned on him that Violett’s whip sword was most likely one of them. Zane glanced towards Violett, flashing the girl a mischievous half-smile and giving her a wanton look. “I’ll see you later. Gotta go see a man about a gun.”

                          "As long as you get that sorted before our date. I'd hate it to be cut short because you can't keep it up," she teased, sending him a playful wink before they parted ways and she vanished into the crowds, out of sight but most definitely not out of mind.

                          And just like that, Zane concluded his meeting with Violett and decided on the type of weapon he would pursue. The only other thing that he questioned was: what kind of gun would fit his stylish ways? Would it be the traditional revolver? No, it was old school. What about something like an assault rifle or a sub machine gun? No, it would be too clunky and not flashy enough. Then what kind of weapon would suit?

                          And then an epiphany rang through, making it quite clear what would be Zane’s best weapon. His finger wouldn't suffice, but something compact would still do the trick. He needed some form of a modern semi-automatic handgun. Yes, that would do nicely for the extravagant youth. As his thoughts on the subject concluded, he had entered a line of students looking for the same thing he was: a weapon.

                          By the time Zane reached the front the line, a large man sitting at a table with boxes among boxes of weapons came into view. The man was massive and looked like every stereotypical cowboy ever made, ten-gallon hat and all. “You have any idea of whatcha want, boy?” said the cowboy. Zane was taken aback by the man’s attitude, but allowed it on the grounds of being pressed for time.

                          “Yes, I’d like some form of handgun. And not a revolver.” The cowboy turned around and sifted through the weapons, finding one that matched Zane’s limited description. It was a traditional 9mm pistol. A standard issue gun, slightly modernistic, with a touch of classic flair. He'd have to have it customized later, but otherwise, “Perfe…” But before he could finish the thought, a new one occupied its space. “Could you remove the trigger? It seems like a trigger would only slow me down.”

                          The cowboy raised one eyebrow to Zane, clearly perplexed at the request. “Sure, I can do that. Bit of an odd request, I’d say.” But the cowboy took the gun back and did as asked, removing the trigger from the gun. In its place, a slot along the barrel where Zane could rest his finger was formed.

                          Immediately, Zane knew he needed to try the firearm’s new mechanism out. He saw one of the test dummies on a large platform a fair distance away. Instead of backing up, and properly going through the line to test his weapon, Zane fired off an amplified version of his Light Beam. The shot rang true and collided with the test dummy’s chest, piercing what would have been its lung.

                          “Nice shot, kid,” the cowboy remarked.

                          “Nice gun,” Zane replied. The cowboy handed Zane a holster for the weapon and off Zane went to find someone to test his new equipment on, the cowboy returning to hand over more equipment to other students. While looking for a victim, Zane attached the holster to his pants with the included belt, holstering the weapon just to get it out of the way.

                          Among the crowd, he saw another impressive lady, helping someone with their stance. She was beautiful, but unlike Violett, there was something distinctly wild about her. Her messy crimson hair spoke to Zane, and he knew he had to speak to her. Wait a second. This was the brutal fighter Zane was watching less than half an hour ago. Took another student out in a single blow, and fast to boot. The lower half of her jeans were still torn from that fight, but she didn't seem to care in the least.

                          "Perfect."

                          If he was going to spar with anyone, it had to be her.

                          As he approached the fierce woman, he called out to her. “Miss, you wouldn’t happen to be busy, would you?”

                          "I have time," she answered with a deadpan tone. She let the student with her go on their way, and turned to Zane to continue. "What's up?"

                          Zane was not amused with the girl’s sass, but it was still an opportunity that he couldn’t miss out on. “I was just wondering if you’d humor me with a sparring match. I saw your fight earlier, and I figured you’d be able to give me a run for my money.” Zane simply smirked, certain that he could keep up with whatever the redhead could throw at him.

                          Her steel green eyes brightened up a bit when he made the offer, so the two took a moment to formally introduce themselves, and found an empty spot on the platform with sufficient space for them to move. While Zane drew the gun from his new holster, Shion didn't seem to have a weapon of her own.

                          "I suppose you probably don't even need to practice with a weapon for a friendly little match like this, right?" Given that her specialty seemed to be kicking, what would she have even used?

                          Shion, one arm held out to the side, let her new opponent know, "I'll make an exception just for you."

                          Particles of energy circled around the limb, until it obscured her entire forearm. It began to solidify into a muddy brown material, like a glove, but on her fingers the energy stretched further. One finally reached the tip, then another, and once the entire hand finished forming she was wielding claws six inches long.

                          Shion proved her speed as she did half an hour ago, moving too quickly for Zane's eyes to keep up, and closing the fifteen-foot gap between them in a second.

                          What was the word he was looking for? "Fear?" Perhaps not 100% accurate, but it would have to do.

                          Before she made contact, Zane's body converted itself into pure light. Time slowed to a crawl. He was seeing in monochrome. Her fist was inches away from his chest. Zane moved.

                          When he reassembled himself, he was ten feet in the air, and Shion's body passed through the point where he was an instant ago.

                          Got her disoriented. That's good. He could still think on his feet. Zane aimed his gun and took a shot, nailing his target in the back of the leg. It was the same leg that had taken an explosion at point blank fighting one of the upperclassmen. \She started bleeding, and the fading bullet startled her, but it didn't seem to do nearly as much damage as he'd expected or hoped. Something blocked most of the impact, but he could barely see what it was.

                          She turned to face him, and moved again as he fell. Zane wasn't even allowed to blink before he had to pull off his disappearing act a second time. He couldn't do it much more without dealing more damage to himself than Shion would inflict.

                          When he got another look at her, it wasn't just one arm. All four limbs had that same armor she'd initially summoned. She created them in transit? Hell, the greaves looked like they were ripped straight off a monster's legs, massive talons propping up the soles of her feet. Was she even a mage? Or was she one of the things they were supposed to kill?

                          Zane tried to take another potshot while he had the chance, but he wasn't given one. Shion turned herself in the air, launching herself downward and deflecting Zane's hardlight bullet with one of her gloves.

                          She stopped immediately in front of him, kneeled down and facing the wrong way, the wind from her landing blowing Zane's hair back. Her elbow upturned for his chest, Zane tried to use his Vector Shift again, but he was slowing down. He was knocked skyward, the air being punched out of his lungs. He had to Shift before she could follow him. He returned to the ground, hand clutching his ribs. Nothing broken, but it was a focused jab. He could barely breathe, and his vision was blurred.

                          Worse, he had to take whatever else she had head on. With a swipe of the hand toting his gun, four massive and ornate blades of solid light materialized in a halo around him. She evidently thought little of it, but Zane worked quite a lot on this spell. When she got close enough to punch him again, one blade held back her fist, and another swung, colliding with her gauntlet and sending her flying herself.

                          "You like?"

                          "Pretty," she responded as she brushed some dust off of her arms. "Hope they don't dent easily. You play CB?"

                          "Something like that." He'd been playing a phone game called Courageous Border for a few years now. Loved some of the weapon designs, and modeled his Blade Storm after them. Was nice to know there were some players at Vale, but why did it have to be this monster of a woman?

                          Zane saw the chance to go on the offensive. He took it. Two blades flew out for her, ready to pin her back and call the match his, but just in case he kept the other two at his side. He wasn't an idiot.

                          However, he was tired. The past hour had taken its toll on his body, his Vector Shift was failing him, and he was in an excess of pain from being punched only once. Violett's sword had nothing on this. Just before his bladed guard could keep Shion from making contact, the tips of her claws left thin trails of wind gently streaming against his collar. They were an inch away, and his swords were an inch further.

                          She was steady, a grin gracing one side of her face.

                          "I submit," he conceded, dispelling his magical swords. In answer, Shion retracted her hand and stepped back. Getting rid of her beastlike armor took away the few inches it gave her height, and she looked so much less intimidating without that battle-ready aura. Dare he say, attractive.

                          Despite his weakness, Zane at least recognized the gap in talent and experience that Shion had over him. After all, she was effortlessly keeping up with him after having fought earlier for herself, and if there was one thing he knew he was gifted at, it was his speed. Even if he lagged, Zane figured most all of the students would be hard pressed to keep up with him, but Shion read him like an open book after his first Shift.

                          “I’d say I’m impressed, but something tells me you get that a lot." Zane paused to catch his breath. “So, for something a little different, I want a rematch in a couple days, out somewhere we don’t have to hold back. I’ll show you that what you saw here today isn’t even a fraction of what I can do.”

                          "If I said I wasn't going easy on you, either, I'd be lying. Hope you can still put up a good fight at your best." Dismissive as she was, Zane felt an accord with Shion—someone who wouldn't give him any slack, and challenge him the way he wants. (Well, one of the ways he wants.)

                          Another moment to stare each other down, and the two shook hands in agreement for a much more painful fight to come. The redhead smiled, and a glimmer in her eyes made Zane feel an unnatural... What was the word? "Terror?" Not 100% accurate, but it would have to do.

                          He had the choice of going to the nurse, but he let his ego get to him. Zane looked to Shion sitting on the sidelines, a gust of clean air washing over her and apparently making it easier for the wound on her leg to close. She was concentrating rather heavily on the task; perhaps healing was considerably more difficult than combat magic. Zane joined her, sitting by and watching the other students practice in stoic silence as he let his body adjust to the pain in his chest (and the pain in his pride). He didn't feel like anything was broken, thankfully, so he could recover in peace.
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                            #23    
                          Old April 13th, 2016 (7:01 PM).
                          Fen-kun's Avatar
                          Fen-kun Fen-kun is offline
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                            When the headmistress, Kirsten Vale, introduced herself and had gone through the explanation of what they were here for as mages, Iris looked on with muted interest, appearing to be intrigued, but otherwise nonplussed. She had been listening astutely and scrawling some notes in her notebook she brought out for the occasion. While she had been debriefed a little by their mother on what she knew of the Liminal Isles and what she might expect, Iris seemed to be unintimidated by either her close encounter with the tattooed teenager or the task that lay ahead of the students; she instead appeared coldly withdrawn.

                            After the entire presentation had ended, Iris took the time to put away her politics book she put on the floor and the notebook she had been taking notes on into her canvas backpack, fumbling a bit with reorganizing the contents of the heavily filled backpack. She picked the backpack up with ease and put it on her dainty shoulders, walking in the direction of the gym where the others were going to receive their weapons. As she walked towards the gym, looking past everyone like they weren't there and got in line for the weapons, she merely looked disinterestedly around her. Having thought long and hard about what kind of weapon she wanted, mulling over the different weapons that may serve her well based on weapons research, she decided on a short, one handed spear and a shield, for the best defense possible.

                            Before she knew it, getting lost in some miscellaneous thoughts of hers, it was her turn to pick a weapon. The teacher, who Iris remembered was Mr. Fields, bluntly asked, “Have any idea whatcha ya want, missy?”

                            Straight to the point. Good. “Yes. I would like a light spear, about 60 in long, and a shield.”

                            Looking around for the desired weapons, he handed Iris a spear of about that length, more light and wieldy, and a basic, round shield. Not needing any fancy alterations until she was damn well ready for it, she let out a curt, “Thank you” and wasted no time in getting out of there so she can try out her weapon. Putting her bag towards a wall of the gym, Iris slinked away to try and find a decent space to try out her weapon. Taking an open space on the platform, she tried out her spear with her right arm and began to try out some strikes, jabs and thrusts with her new spear, slicing the air as she got a feel for the spear. After adjusting to the spears deft but weighted stance, she turned her focus on a nearby training dummy. She aimed for a defensive, glancing blow towards the dummy’s upper chest. She stood there, shield at the ready, and swooped towards the dummy for the hit and arced her spear downwards while maintaining her defensive stance after quickly pulling back.

                            After the strike, she stood there, contemplating her lack of combat experience beyond what her mother had taught. Reflecting on her hit, she surmised that although that blow had been a fairly decent one, there was an open gap with her delay in pulling back and adopting a defense, leading her open for a quick striker to finish her off. Getting a bit consumed with how she should approach her combat, she stood there with a pensive look on her face, trying to figure out the minutia of combat strategy. Even as she thought and thought, it never occurred to Iris to let an important thought enter her mind, the thought that she was less than or not ready. Those thoughts were for later, and by later, never.
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                              #24    
                            Old April 14th, 2016 (6:30 PM).
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                            Lucifer-san Lucifer-san is offline
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                            Michael Graves
                            Just something light


                            The meeting in the auditorium had been about what he had expected, some babble about how the threat to the world was under threat to alien creatures called Etherspawn were gradually becoming more and more of a problem. Michael had generally expected such a thing, so he had deigned to pay attention, but it did not make it any more interesting to listen to something that he knew about. Until he met the real deal, he wouldn't be able to assuage just how daunting these creatures were, but it'd be interesting at the least. For now though, he decided to head to the gymnasium as he should move along now.

                            "Hmm...such fascinating people." He muttered to himself as he quickly traveled to where he remembered the gym was, though he more or less followed the crowd of people that seemed as new as him. Something that had interested him greatly within the entire little speech was the part about getting a weapon, his style of fighting was mostly focused on long range however his choice of weapon bridged the gap between long and short comfortably for him. Perhaps he'd have to get more knives later on, he didn't dwell on the thought too much however. Taking the time to head into the gym he quickly looked around until he saw the line where students should be to get a weapon.

                            In most circumstances, he'd be right with them getting an ether-forged weapon, but having a teacher at a relatively young age worked in his favor. Holstered around his waist were his set of knives, each made for him to use specifically. His style of fighting was...unique to say they least, so he had to practice consistently to keep himself at a level that he felt was suitable. With such thoughts, it was only natural that Michael quickly made his way to a platform with a test dummy on it.

                            "Don't think, feel." Pulling out two knives and grasping them in a reverse grip he quickly ran through some basic forms; throwing jabs that focused more on whipping out with the blade edge and switching between throwing different types punches with the blade in hand and actually stabbing with it in different ways. His stance was solid, but his attacks held a certain flow to them. His Teacher had helped him with a style of fighting that made use of the multitude of weaponry he carried around with him, but more importantly he hadn't mastered such a thing yet. While he was darn good, he wasn't that good yet. Showing off a style of fighting that made use of multiple weapons would be up his alley, but he was just practicing, and he wasn't too amazing with using more than 3 or 4 knives at once at best.

                            "Hmm..." He let out a low hum as he saw the various cuts on the dummy he had been practicing on, he was still in tip-top shape. As to be expected of course. Now if only he could find something interesting to do, he knew there had to be somebody here that could peak his interest at least somewhat. This was a magical place after all, magical places aren't known for being boring.
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                              #25    
                            Old April 16th, 2016 (7:02 PM).
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                            Geras Geras is offline
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                              Domingo Hernández: Magic is Cool and Iris is Mean



                              Domingo sat in his chair as he waited for the assembly to begin, his cheek resting on his fist and an irritated look on his face. He couldn’t stop thinking back over the encounter with the blonde girl who’d made him snap. He knew he wasn’t completely free of guilt in the matter, but he was certain that it was for the most part her fault for being such a *****. He groaned as he readjusted himself in his seat.

                              He looked around, hoping to find something to take his mind off the girl. Several other students had joined them in the auditorium. However, his eyes found themselves drawn to one pair in particular. He noticed that a guy had decided to sit next to the Asian girl he noticed earlier, and in his hands was a rock that before long began to move. It’s shape twisted until it resembled a little guy with a shield and a spear and began to dance.

                              All of a sudden it was like Domingo’s foul encounter never even happened, all his attention now focused on this guy who could make rocks come to life and his little dancing buddy. As if that wasn’t enough, a plant then grew out of rock buddy’s head and lifted his helmet away. “Whoa,” Domingo couldn’t help but gasp in awe at the sight, leaning almost completely off his seat.

                              Before long, a red haired girl approached the two. Unlike the Asian or the blonde, this one was actually pretty hot. Domingo’s gaze shifted towards her, admiring her body for just a moment before promptly moving his attention back to the tiny rock guy. Despite being an earth mage himself, he struggled to wrap his head around the idea of a living rock, the mere thought of it amazing him to no end.

                              Eventually the guy put away his creation, much to Domingo’s dismay, and the assembly began. An uptight-looking woman and a literal cowboy took their places in front of all the students and began explaining their role in the school as what she called “mages”. The woman, better known as the headmistress, informed them that they were there to wage war against creatures called “Etherspawn”, conjuring a replica monster with bright flames in a display that Domingo thought was really, really cool. He listened closely to her every word, an ear-to-ear smile on his face despite the gravity of the situation.

                              The headmistress concluded the assembly by instructing them to report to the gymnasium, and all the other students quickly began moving. Domingo stayed seated, needing a moment to collect his thoughts. The idea of being in a magic school for fighting evil monsters was unbelievable, and Domingo had to pinch himself to confirm he wasn’t dreaming. He’d left his old life because he was tired of hurting innocent people, and now he had a chance to save them using his powers like some kind of superhero. It was really incredible.

                              Mentally prepared or not, Domingo decided he shouldn’t keep the teachers waiting any longer. He was also really eager to see what awaited him in the gym. Once everyone was gathered, it was explained that they needed special weapons to fight the monsters, and that once they’d gotten them that they were to practice with them. However, when the headmistress mentioned sparring, Domingo’s heart sank. His mind flashed back to the last few times he fought people and he shuddered, a pained look on his face. He was immediately thankful it wasn’t mandatory.

                              He got in line for his weapon and when he reached the front he realized he wasn’t too sure what he wanted. He decided he'd had enough of guns, but he didn’t exactly know how to use anything else other than his fists, so he asked the cowboy teacher if there was anything really cool that could make his punches super strong. He was presented with a pair of metallic gloves that were utterly massive, each individual glove being almost the size of his torso. He couldn’t help but feel like they were meant for someone far larger than him, but with some quick adjustments Domingo found he wasn't struggling much to lift them and had full control of the fingers as well.

                              Satisfied, Domingo set about finding a place to practice with his weapons. He saw other students already fighting each other, rather brutally at that. But before he could worry too much about the implications of that, he noticed the blonde girl from before practicing against a training dummy all alone. The auditorium incident returned to the forefront of his mind, and now that he had calmed down he realized that he’d probably gone a little overboard, especially knowing he looked the way he did. Any good person back home would have been scared of his tattoos too. He sighed, and although he was still admittedly a little bitter over the way she treated him he still felt it would be right to apologize.

                              Taking a deep breath, he approached her. “Hey,” he said as he looked down at his feet, sounding unsure of himself. “I, uh, I’m sorry for that **** with the book. And the yelling too. I know I don’t look too nice… no, I guess I’m not actually that nice. But I’m trying to get better. It’s hard, but I don’t wanna be a bad guy anymore.” He looked up at the girl, bracing himself for another cold reply.

                              The small blonde, breaking away from trying out her weapon, paused and turned around as she noticed Domingo. After turning to Domingo after hearing out his apology, she coolly replied, "It's fine, I'm over it. It's not as if I'm fragile or anything. I can handle a few empty threats." She flitted her eyes back and forth, examining him with and added, a bit dryly, " Speaking of empty threats, you want to become better, huh? Good luck on that. You still have a lot of work to do."

                              Domingo prepared himself to argue his case, but he when she actually accepted his apology he found himself at a loss for words. He had to take a few moments to reorganize his thoughts, but he interrupted the process when he noticed something. “Hey,” he started, his brow furrowing and his voice raising. “I never made any threats.” Fortunately this time he was able to hold himself back.

                              He took another deep breath to calm himself and started again. “So you’re not mad?” He lifted his hand to rub the back of his neck in his nervousness. Unfortunately it didn’t work out very well with the gigantic gloves on his hands, instead knocking the weapon against his head with a disconcerting thunk. “Ah, ****!” he hissed before quickly doing his best to pretend that it never happened.

                              “So, uh, what’s your power?” Domingo asked in a desperate attempt to shift focus away from his blunder. “This is a magic school, right? Do you have like super speed or laser eyes or something?”

                              "Careful," the blonde sarcastically quipped after he hit himself with the weapon. In response to his previous question regarding her magic, she said, "Earth magic." She crossed her arms and leaned on her right hip, waiting for Domingo to take a hint and leave. She appeared to not be in a conversational mood, not any more so than in the auditorium.

                              It didn’t look like Domingo was satisfied with her answer, nor that he’d caught on to her signals. It sounded like the same sort of magic as him, which he honestly found a little disappointing. He was hoping to see all sorts of unique abilities at a place like this. “Is there anything cool you can do with it, though? Like back at the assembly I saw this one dude turn a rock into a little guy that could dance and stuff.”

                              Sighing, she replied, "Why don't you just wait until I give a demonstration for a class or something? I'm sure you can wait. I still need some time anyhow to study up on it." No longer willing to humor Domingo, she began to walk towards another spot on her platform, picking up her weapons along the way, walked briskly away.

                              “Why not now?” Domingo asked as she walked away. At this point all she was doing was making him more and more curious. “We’re supposed to practice anyway, right? All you’re doing right now is waving that lame spear around, and I don't think that's gonna make your magic any better.”

                              Turning back around, the lanky blonde narrowed her eyes at Domingo. He was being quite persistent with her in particular, given his understandable curiosity. She stopped, sighed heavily and conceded, "Fine. Since you cannot just wait for a demonstration like everyone else and act like a child, let me show you something." She concentrated as she conjured a roundish mass of a blackish substance that formed around her hand, drawing upon the abundant sources of carbon located from within the earth and when she finished the conjuration, she took the ball, arced it over Domingo's head, and "exploding" into a diamond flower suspended over his head. "That's it. Happy now?" She turned around to give Domingo a glare, ready to walk off to avoid further confrontation.

                              Domingo watcher her perform with a look of childlike glee on his face. However, when presented with the bomb’s aftermath he looked a little disappointed. “What’s this, a flower?” He plucked it out of the air above him and gave it a closer look, staring at it from various angle in case he was missing something. Then something occurred to him. His look of amazement returned promptly afterward. “Hold on, is this ****ing diamond? ****, I bet you’ve made a fortune selling these, uh… What’s your name again?”

                              "Iris Aldridge. Now leave me alone. l really hate being bothered, if you couldn't already tell." She left the teenager, standing there, irked by how aloof she was being. Domingo was just trying to get a glimpse of some cool magic. They were at a magic school after all, so what was her problem in showing off her powers?

                              “Well **** you too,” Domingo muttered under his breath as he turned away, though he was happy to hold on to the flower she’d created. He didn’t really like her, but he had to admit making diamonds was pretty cool. After taking a moment to congratulate himself for not losing his temper this time, he began to wonder what his next move would be, considering he was alone again. Unlike Iris, he thought being alone sucked, so maybe he’d find someone else to talk to. Attitude aside, the fact that Iris had been actually willing to talk with him, even for a bit, gave him a little confidence in that regard.
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