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Battle School



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Mon May 29, 2017 1:35 am
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jimss23 says...



Welcome to Battle School.


Battle School’s unique world combines the best of Sci-Fi, fantasy, and political drama into one cohesive storyline. Let’s explore the world, shall we?

You take on the role of a new student at Battle School. Although the name might imply that the school is strictly combat based, this is simply a holdover from the First Warring Period, where the school was used to train mages for the Capital’s armies. Now, in the Third Era of Peace, it is used as a general academy to teach gifted students in all manner of specialties. You will find warriors training for future military service, scientists trying to unlock new secrets or up and those who plan to use magic for any number of purposes. Each student’s reasons are their own, but their goal is the same; to learn all about magic, train with peers, and go on missions into the wider world in search of treasure, mystical artifacts, glory, or in service to others. Battle School has limitless opportunities to offer to those who take advantage of them.

There are no premade characters or roles. You, as a creator, are free to make whatever character suits your fancy. Personality, abilities, goals. It's all yours to create. Sky's the limit.

Looking to join? Here is a timeline of everything that has happened so far! Feel free to jump in!

https://jimss23.writerfeedpad.com/12
Last edited by jimss23 on Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
This is the Rule of Three
Every writer's most sacred oath
Two boys to challenge each other
One girl to challenge them both

-Jim
  





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Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:01 am
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jimss23 says...



Sullivan

Father wasn’t there to see me off. No one was. I mean, no one important. Few house servants and one of my old friends came. But not Father. Or Maximus. Not that I would want him there anyway. Bastard would just try to ruin it.
The Hand sent a full Carriership to pick me up. I was shocked when it shot out from the Void-Stream. It had a full escort wing and everything. The Captain said that some diplomats were also heading to the Capital and the Hand thought that I might want to make an entrance. I like the Hand. He respects the South and his people. What a messed-up family I have, where our leader cares more about me than my own father.
One of the diplomats came to see me halfway through the trip, an oily man with thin lips. He talked to me using flowery phrases; talking about how I represent the South and how I am to be a shining beacon to our greatness. It’s all crap. I got the message. Make the South look good.
This whole Battleschool thing is a joke too. From what Maximus sneered at me, it is some half-rate school for commoners; that it pales in comparison to our families training methods. Still, if it gets me away from Maximus and Dad, I’ll take it. Even if it does mean going to a school of weaklings and idiots. Rumor has it that there is going to be a few Northerners at this “Battleschool.” Never seen a real Northerner before. I hear that they are unwashed Barbarians; savage creatures and with no skill. I also heard they like to fight. Good.


I stepped off the ship onto the docking gangway. Like all structures in the Capital, it was needlessly gaudy and complex. Intricate little-detailed gold etchings had been carved into every handrail and the frames that help the glass roof together. It was anything but utilitarian. What a waste. These people need to find a better way to spend their short lives.
I made my way off the ship and collected my belongings at one of the terminals there. I threw my duffel bag over my shoulder and strapped my sword to my belt before heading to the exit of the station. As I left, I saw passersby stand in awe of the Carriership. Most had probably never seen something so massive. The Visory didn’t usually let combat ships get anywhere near the Capital, but they had made an exception in this case, although they had to section of the docks apparently, as there was a Jace ship on another platform.
People didn’t notice me as I slipped through the crowds to a vehicle that was waiting to take me to Battleschool. It was nice being to be able to travel without people staring. Without people knowing. My transport was waiting for me when I got outside. The vehicle wasn’t much to look at, but it was a little nicer than the other vehicles shuffling people around. The driver, who was around my age, ushered me into the back and we took off.
As soon as we were off the driver turned to me. “How was your voyage, Master Rayis?”
“You’re from the embassy, right?” I inquired.
“That’s right, Master Rayis. Just started working there. Transferred from the Diplomatic Corps stationed at Amber’s Fall.”
I motioned to the city outside. “And what do you think of all of… this?”
“It’s nothing like the South. It’s excessive and grand. A shining beacon; the height of civilization.” He said as if repeating a scripted line.
“I didn’t ask for what they tell you to say, did I? I asked what do you think. Let’s try that again.” I growled. I’ve never like diplomats. Always quick with a saying or flowery generalization. Not an original thought among them.
“Um…well…right. It’s all… hollow. In the South, and in Amber’s Fall, you could take people at face value. Not here. Everyone is two faced.” He said, with each word becoming more confident with his candor.
“Good to know. Will make for some interesting entertainment,” I mused.
“Yes… well, we are almost here… sir.”
I looked out my window to see that we were crossing a bridge that leads to the lake in the middle of the city. From a distance, I could see the rising towers and sprawling campus. Battleschool. Time to show the world what a member of the Rayis family can do.
This is the Rule of Three
Every writer's most sacred oath
Two boys to challenge each other
One girl to challenge them both

-Jim
  





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Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:25 pm
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Basil says...



Alarin


I was vaguely excited when I awoke this morning, knowing that in a few hours I'd be arriving at the Battle School. I took my time getting ready, saying goodbye to my friends in the city, and sending word to the camp I grew up in that I leave for school. I should get a response in a few days, which means I have something else to look forward to aside from new training.

The trip from the capital city to the Battle School was too long. A few other Northerners were on the large ship, the Lady Jace giving all students the opportunity to get to the school quicker and in style. I would have opted to find my own way, but that would take some time; time I don't want to waste. Apparently many others felt the same, some already starting to group together to chatter excitedly. I notice a couple of people keeping to themselves, and let myself smile. Independence, one of our best known traits as Northerners. I wonder if I'll end up in class with the people here. A part of me hopes so, but another part of me wishes not. I'd like a chance to meet other people, people from other lands. Learning what people I'll be competing with in class will also be interesting.

When we finally arrive at the docks, and everyone departs in am excited flurry, I find myself rushing with them. The crowds explode around me, overwheing with the sheer mass of people going about their business. I lose sight of the main group of Northerners, and stand to one side, chewing on my bottom lip. Where do I go? People seem to be moving everywhere.

"Move it you don't of a–"

I whip around just as someone shoves through a thick thing of people. I just stare in sheer surprise as the man hisses at the people he battered out of his way, their own sneers drowned out by the din of the crowd. The man grins to himself as he faces forward and stops, staring at me with narrowed eyes. All I can do is stare back at his black hair falling down to his shoulders, his features twisting into a glare the longer I stare.

"Can I help you?" He snaps.

His tone shakes me from my silence. I smile softly, swallowing my pride. "I'm actually lost," I begin, hoping he can hear me over the raucous. "Where do I go?"

He blinks for a second before laughing loudly. And rudely. "See the giant structure over there?" He points to his right, and I turn. My cheeks heat up like fire as I notice the looming buildings ahead. The School. "Would you like an escort, or do you think you've got it now?"

What a rude prick? I give him a flattering smile and shake my head. "I'm fine, thank you," I hiss, and turn away from him.

As I walk through the crowd, toward the School, it dawns on me that he was the first foreigner I have encountered. I stop mid-step and turn around to find that he's gone. Of course. That fiery bafoon wouldn't stop long enough for anyone, it seems. I wonder: was he a Southerner or a Middlelander. Considering how rude he was, I'm going to say Southerner. From what I've heard there isn't anything nice about them. And if that man is anything to go by, I'd say what I've heard is correct.

My path to the School is jagged and slow, taking me far too long to arrive at the entryway. When I break through the crowd, I sigh with relief and stare at the massive towers above me glowing a faint gold in the early morning sun.

Something hits my back and i stumble forward, my training the only thing preventing me from falling flat on my face. I whirl around, eyes ablaze, to find the black haired man from before. He stares at me for a second before shaking his head and moving around me to storm off. I frown in his wake, a short sigh making me glance at the person beside me.

"He has fire in his veins," the young man says, and turns a winning smile on me. "I think he just wants to get to class."

The young man's roguish looks do nothing to hinder the charming smile and dazzling green eyes, a dark smudge of bruising shadowing his right cheekbone. I must have stared a little too long at the bruise, because he looks away, his smile faltering.

"Are you a new student too?" I ask softly.

He nods, his grin returning. "Yes, and I have no idea where to go," he lets out a breath laugh. "And the wonderful man that bumped into you wasn't kind enough to give directions."

His accent ... "Did he give you that black eye?" I ask, probably impolitely too.

"Oh, no, this is old," he brushes off the concern – not that there was any to begin with. "Are you new here as well? I'm going to assume so, considering you was gawking at the towers a second ago."

I frown and look away from his green eyes glittering with cheek. "It is a large place, excuse me for admiring," I huff.

"I'm Killian, by the way," he extends a tan hand my way.

I shake it. It's warm and smooth, unlike a warrior's grip. I wonder what he's studying here. "Alarin," I tell him. "You're not here for weaponry, are you?"

He laughs, and starts walking. I have nothing else to do but follow. "No, I'm an enchanter," he wriggles his fingers for added effect. It doesn't work. "Well, I'm going to be. What about you?"

I hide my smile. "Combat, weapon and non weapon," I lift my chin a little. "And language studies."

"My, my," Killian winks. "How many can you speak fluently?"

I don't meet his gaze. "None," I shake my head. "I've picked up bits and pieces from a few. I want to get better at them. Mostly dialects from the North."

"Ah," he lets out a short breath. "I had a feeling you were from the Northernlands. Your hair gave you away first."

I give him a sharp look. "And where are you from?" I snap. Maybe a bit too harshly.

"Here," he waves his arms around. "Well, the Middlelands. A small town west of the School."

I nod and say no more. Killian doesn't continue the conversation. As we draw nearer to the large, entrance doors, I spotted some of the Northerners from the ship, and say a quick goodbye to Killian before rushing over to trail the group.

The morning has gone well, to say the least.
Dorian, are you the one adding all the spices to our food?
Of course I am.
Why?
Because frankly the food here tastes like poorly cooked sawdust. It genuinely tastes how Solas looks.
  





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LordZeus says...



Devon Jace


Devon Jace eyed himself in the mirror in his quarters, preparing to leave for Battle School.

Still, as ever, Devon could scarce believe that the man there was him. Having spent all his time around the normal brown skinned, white or blonde haired northerners, he almost forgot he didn't look a thing like them, his southern blood showing clearly through.

Deciding staring at himself wouldn't do any more good, Devon smoothed his hair back and pushed his cloak behind him before leaving his room and descending the stairs.

----

He strode into the main hall and stood at the end of the Long Table, where his cousin, the Lady Meara Jace, and the farewell delegation (mainly Lords and army commanders) sat. A fire was roaring in the great hearth at the end of the hall, brightening the room. At his approach, the Lords all stood.

His cousin, at the Head of the Table on the far side, gave him a slight smile. At first glance, the two were complete opposites. Her hair was a snow-white, drawn in a warrior woman's braid whereas hid was black as coal. Her skin was a nutty brown while his was pale. She sported an easy, confident smile her father had had, while Devon's face was unwaveringly either an expression of emotionless indifference or a slight frown. The only thing they shared was the characteristically Jace stormy grey eyes.

But the two had been close since they were children. Meara's mother had died when she was young, so Devon's mother had acted as such to them both. Lives spent in each other's close company had made it easy for each to tell what the other was thinking from their faces alone, so Devon could tell that though she pretended to be confident and calm, she was strained, and unhappy to send him away.

The Lords present gave him the Northern salute, the left arm behind the back, with the right fist over their hearts. In unison, they said, "My sword-hand is yours.", bowing. The Northern bow to those of other regions would seem like leaning forward or slightly inclining oneself, but no Northern Lord asked their citizens to degrade themselves further, no matter what rank they were.

As he was supposed to, Devon returned the salute, un-bowing (as was his place by rank), and gave the return call, "I will never betray it."

Then Devon saluted his cousin similarly, and she returned it. After that, she called out, "My Good Lords, please gather your retinues at the Airship pad. I need a moment alone with my cousin."

The Lords bowed again, and filed out of the hall. After they had gone, Meara crossed the room to stand in front of Devon.

"How are you feeling?" she asked, her eyes studying him.

Devon shrugged. "Alright, I guess. I wish you weren't sending me away, is all."

Meara looked a little hurt. "We spoke of this, Dev. I need someone in the Capital to represent the North, and reassure the King and his court that our loyalty is unwavering , especially since I'm new to this rank, and with the rising tensions with the South."

Devon frowned. "And you chose the one who looks like a Southerner?"

Meara tutted. "I chose a Jace. My current heir, no less. You're just as Northern as I am, Dev. My mother was from the South too, don't forget. And besides, I trust you to do what needs be done."

Devon nodded. "Very well, Meara. What do you want me to make them understand apart from that?"

Meara stepped forward, and said seriously, "I want you to make sure that the Capital understands that the North is strong. House Marr may have more men, and a greater military, but I want them to know that if worst comes to worst, we can go toe to toe with the south, and at the end of it, we will be the ones last standing, the ones who have endured it to the end. The North is tougher and our warriors harder than the South. They cannot underestimate us, and must either keep war from coming, or, if it comes, bet on us, not them."

Devon felt a surge of Northern pride, and bowed, muttering, "Yes, M'Lady!"

She chuckled. "Very good, Dev, but there's no one to do that for. Right now, you're just my little brother." And she hugged him.

Devon awkwardly patted her back, uncertain what to do at this show of emotion. He would miss her, though. And he would not forget his task.

----

Devon frowned as he perused the list in his hands. It held the names and basic descriptions of all Northern and Southern students newly entering battle school, to help Devon know potential allies and enemies.

"Watch the Southern Sudents." his cousin had told him. "Remember, they will be the best of the South. Do not underestimate them. And take note of their strengths and weaknesses- you never know when you might have to one day face them on the battlefield."

Devon eyes hung on one name in particular; Sullivan Rayis. Rayis. Now that's an infamous name. thought Devon with a scowl.

Sullivan's grandfather, Domini, was known as the Beast of the North for his terrorist activities in his one-man war against the Ice Council. It was suspected that it was he who tipped off the barbarians of the high mountain peaks to Devon's father's location, and helped them to ambush him and his small hunting party the way they had, drawing them out thinking they were hunting a single band of savages who had sacked the nearby village, and then surrounding him wth the combined forces of a dozen tribes. The brave men took ten times their number in enemy dead before falling themselves, or so the tales said.

I hope the two are not alike...but I very much doubt my hopes are true. thought Devon grimly.

"Sir, we've exited Void Space. We're above the Capital." said a voice beside him, and Devon folded the paper and pocketed it before turning to Elara Hawke, one of the two guards assigned to guard his person.

She was looking with wonder, past Devon, out the window. The were sitting in a cubicle in the restaurant area of the airship. Devon had the seat with his back to the window, while Elara Hawke and his other guard, Tyrus Reyne, sat to his left and right respectively, in seats on either side of the cubicle, facing each other.

Devon looked across at the people sitting in the other cubicles. Lady Jace had hoped to use the airship for all the students heading to the Battle School, but before she could publicly declare it so, multiple rich merchants, traders, and lordlings had booked up the seats, for the privilege of saying they had been in close vicinity to the heir apparent to the North.

Meara had instead booked a separate ship for students, which had been sent ahead of the one Devon was on.

Only a few students of wealthier or higher birth had managed to secure seats. As a result, the row of cubicles (all open) displayed families of wealth, many not of the North.

One could easily tell the difference, since the flowery speech and bright clothing of the Middlelandsmen were both audible and visible across the room, contrasting strongly with the restrained blues, blacks and greys worn by the Northerners, who were mainly there for either personal reasons or for the personal honor in meeting the son of perhaps their most renowned warrior, Daeron Jace, rather than bragging rights.

Devon's frown lowered further at them before turning to look outside the window at the spires and brightness of the Capital. So, that's it, then.

His father had told him tales of the Capital. He had spent time there when he led the Northern armies south to fight Crucin, while his brother (Lord Jace) kept home intact. It was Daeron Jace and his elite Frost battalion that had broken Crucin's vanguard, himself defeating It's Commander, Tyranus, in what was to become a legendary duel in the process. This allowed Donovan, with Daeron by his side (along with a few others), to strike at the Badlander's core knot of elites.

"My Lord?" said Tyrus. "The drinks are here."

Devon turned to see that a serving man had arrived. He had pale skin and dark hair, instantly arousing Devon's suspicions. The man didn't look much like a troublemaker, however, so Devon contented himself with observing as the man placed Tyrus's cocktail in front of him.

Suddenly, the lights went out, and the windows' automated shutters swung down, and the room was shrouded in darkness.

Then, Devon heard a gasp from his right, quickly followed by a screech from Elara, which was quickly cut off.

Devon's heartbeat accelerated. Suddenly, something glinted in front of him, heading right for his face...and he blasted flames outward, and was greeted by a sharp cry of pain.

Right then, the lights came back on, Devon was quite unsurprisingly met with the sight of the waiter, clutching his heavily burn-scarred right arm, a knife on the ground in front of him. Both Elara and Tyrus were dead, the former with stab wounds in the stomach and chest, the latter with his throat cut. The man, looking wildly about at the stirring inhabitants of the room, turned and ran.

"Oh no you don't." hissed Devon as he gave chase, drawing his blades, inherited from his father. The assassin ran at full tilt towards the end of the hall. The guests scattering from his path in front of him. One of the more courageous of the guests, a young woman, tried to block his path, but he swept her aside with a strong gust of wind, slamming her into the side wall.

A wind elemental...but that must mean...oh no. Realizing where he was heading for, Devon rushed to overtake him, reaching the man as he wrenched open the emergency door.

"Don't you dare." growled the Jace, lifting fiery blades. The killer gave him a cold smile as he leaped out into open air. Devon shot a burst of flames as the man fell, but the wind flow dissipated it before it could reach him. Devon watched with bloodboiling anger as he disappeared into the clouds.

That man could've told us so much. thought Devon ruefully. He might've even been able to lead us on the path to my mother's murderer.. He shook his head at the loss. Two highborn soldiers dead as well, which would send ripples throughout the island.
This was a strike against the North.

Then he turned to the side, where the girl who had been swept into the wall was getting up.

He walked up to her. "Why did you do it?" he asked. It was not angrily said, and betrayed some of his curiosity. "Why did you knowingly take on a dangerous, murderous assassin?'

The girl turned to him, her eyes widening as she realized who was addressing her. Leafe Seurle. thought Devon, matching face to description in the list as she began to speak. "I-I wanted to help." she stuttered, blushing. "He was already wounded...I thought I could help you capture him. And I know some magic, so I wasn't defenseless."

She's shy. Devon realized before nodding. It was a fair answer. The girl then stood up painfully and gave the Northern salute.

Taken aback, the edges of Devon's mouth twitched upwards in the faint suggestion of a smile at her Northern spirit before returning it, with the return call, before helping her up, letting her lean on his arm.

He called a server nearby, who snapped out of her shocked stupor to come to him, and instructed her to take Miss Seurle down to the infirmary.

An attendant nearby came up to him and bowed after that. "Our orders, sir?" he asked, and Devon immediately noticed that all the other passengers in the room were looking at him, as well as the airship staff.

He stood up straight, cleared his threat and said, "There is no cause for alarm. The killer has fled like the coward he was. Now, I will be contacting Home and the ground for support and protection. If any of you understandably wises to go back, head to the Northernlands embassy when we land. I will make sure they have orders to help you make quick arrangements. Now, please return to your cabins and stay there until further notice."

As the crowd filed out of the hall, Devon spoke privately to the attendant. "Tell the pilot to hover for some time while we make some arrangements." he ordered. "Then head to the control room and have the Captain to radio the Capital to prepare a protection detail for the students and myself coming to the Battle School, and escorts to take those who wish to go to the Northern Embassy. Whoever masterminded this must've had a backup plan. Also, tell the Captain to have the ship searched. This man had an accomplice who turned off the lights to let him commit his crime. He obviously meant for him to have finished the job before the lights were turned back on, and then hide in the confusion."

The attendant bowed, and turned to go, but stopped when Devon said, "Wait. Also, get me a radio link with Lady Jace. My cousin needs to know what happened here, and what orders to give the embassy. And clean up the dead bodies. Give them proper treatment so they can be sent to their families." The attendant nodded and left to carry out his orders.

Alone in the room now, Devon closed the emergency door, and strode over to the nearest window. He looked out over the vast city, the Battle School clearly recognizable some way away, having some of the tallest towers and buildings in the city.

So that's where I'm headed. he thought. I'm supposed to spend a few years in tis city...yet in the first few minutes in its airspace, my guards have been killed in an assassination attempt on my person, and diplomatic relations with with the North have been threatened. What have I gotten myself into?
Last edited by LordZeus on Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
  





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jimss23 says...



The Hand adjusted his gauntlets before walking towards the massive doors to the Amber Throne Room. The doors opened at his approach and he stepped inside the spacious chamber. Lady Marr was sitting on the Amber Throne on the far side of the room, speaking to her other councilors. She waved them away as she saw the Hand approach. She watched him intently as he made his way across the room.

“Brother,” she said in curt greeting.

“Sister,” He replied.

Lady Marr stared at the Hand with unhappy eyes. “Have you heard the news?”

“I hear a great many deal of things. To which news are you referring, dear sister?” He asked, cocking his head ever so slightly to the side.

“I am not in the mood for games, brother. Lady Jace herself contacted me.”

The Hand narrowed his eyes upon hearing mention of that name. “What is Lady Jace doing contacting you? Does the little girl have no respect for the diplomatic channels?”

Lady Marr’s face grew tight in exasperation. “She figured it would be better than having her Hand contact you.”

“Ah, well. That’s true.”

“Now, brother. I am going to ask you a very simple question and I am ordering you to be truthful. None of this, ‘it’s better if you don’t know’ crap you usually pull on me. I am willing to overlook a lot of your unethical practices, but not this time.” Lady Marr growled.

“What do you want to know, sister?” The Hand asked, coldly. He didn’t like be berated by his sister on how he ran things.

“Did you try to have the heir apparent of House Jace killed?” Lady Marr demanded.

“Personally? No.” The Hand replied.

“What does personally mean?” Lady Marr asked through gritted teeth.

“It means did I personally order someone to do it? No. Does it mean that someone in House Marr ordered it? I don’t know. We have been working to try to figure out who.”

Lady Marr shook her head. She rose from the throne and walked behind it to the large glass windows looking out over Amber’s Fall. “I do not want a war, brother. To many innocents will die. To many of my people.”

The Hand walked up the stairs to the throne and stood with her looking out over the city. “War is coming, sister. The North prepares for it daily. They have not forgotten the humiliation of the last war, or of the battles after. Even now they send spies and agents to the Capital to subvert us and to learn about our ways. It will not come today or next week, but war is coming. It is inevitable.”

Lady Marr quickly turned to The Hand, concern in her face. “There has to be a way to stop this madness! Surely we can talk this out!”

The Hand shook his head. “I wish it was so, sister. But the North wants a fight, and we must be prepared to give it to them.”

“But must we be so… underhanded… about it?” Lady Marr asked, rubbing her hands in frustration.

The Hand leaned in and clasped her hands with his, stopping her nervous fidgeting. “I do what has to be done to protect House Marr. To protect you.”

Lady Marr avoided his tender gaze. “I know brother. I know.” She pulled her hands away from his and went back over to look at the cityscape. She stared out at the people below, moving about their lives unaware of the sovereign eyes observing their actions. After many moments of silence, she abruptly straightened herself. “You say it is inevitable, yes?”

The Hand nodded slowly. “Yes.”

“We must eliminate their heir,” she whispered.

The Hand looked at Lady Marr, shocked. “What?”

Lady Marr turned again to The Hand, this time her face red with determination. “If there is to be war, we will start it on our terms and we will make it quick,” She glances again at the people down below. “Before my people suffer.”

“My Lady,” The Hand began, dropping the informalities. “If I do that, that might very well trigger the very war which you dread.”

Lady Marr swallowed hard and nodded. “I would rather us throw the first blow then take the first hit. It’s how my father would have done it, and his father before. It is the Marr way.”

“That is true, but to do it now? We must wait! Too many things are already in motion. We are not ready as of yet and…”

Lady Marr did not let him finish. She raised a hand to stop his objection. “Fine. You do not have to do it today or next week, brother if that so pleases your soul, but you must promise me that when the time comes, you will strike first.”

“Very well. I promise.”

Lady Marr nodded, then turned away from him one last time. “Then I will not you hold any longer, brother. I am sure you have important matters to attend to.”

The Hand did not say a word but gave a slight bow before leaving the room.

The time has come. It is time to begin.
This is the Rule of Three
Every writer's most sacred oath
Two boys to challenge each other
One girl to challenge them both

-Jim
  





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Tortwag says...



Zoness:

From the depth of the ocean – To you, I say “Kioo”!


Rahtj ev mokuc
Jeuh kxheiw kso jbo
Rukkco


“Braving”, her mother would say. Zoness was once again braving the numerous warnings she had been given to let the mysterious words enter in her mind. She was braving the danger in front of her eyes for reasons unknown. Curiosity? Pity? Arrogance? Many suggestions had been given, but Zoness herself wasn’t sure.

Jbo kee xawx
Rusb ke uzb
Cujk jkudt


That one sounded especially familiar… As if it had been whispered to her ear many years ago.

Yo, Zee!” a voice in her mind exclaimed, interrupting the magic of the moment. “It’s raining up here, you know! The heck are you doin’, daydreaming below the elevator again? I’m not getting you back if you fall!

Zoness sighed. Raining. In other words, another assault from the Luraphs: a species of oversized white goldfishes with a prominent, pink-colored fleshy outgrowth on their forehead that granted them strange psychic-to-magic abilities.
Fancy way to say that they looked like fishes with large brains stuck on their head.
They also had overgrown red lips stretched in a constant smile, and Zoness had learned to guess what state of mind a Luraph could be in depending on the orientation of its eternal grin. The one currently attempting to override her brain, for example, had a creepy-looking grin on his face, so she could easily guess that he was frustrated of not being able to take over or even damage her mind. The poor fish clearly had no idea that Zoness had been used to their attempts more than any member of her family – after all, she was born here – and needed little to no effort to deflect the young Luraphs’ attempts at invading her brain.

Coming, coming.” Zoness finally said in her mind. The family had adapted to their hostile environment a long time ago, so they had taken the liberty of studying and using the defeated Luraphs’ brains for a magically enchanted communication device taking the shape of a tiny brain-shaped sphere.
And speaking of adapting… Zoness couldn’t help but think as she noticed her little friend’s smile grow slightly larger, sign that he was preparing something. Soon enough, three young Luraphs appeared from the waters and approached the squared hatch Zoness was sitting on, sending her more of their invading words. She sighed, put her notepad and pen back in her back pocket and rose before activating another brain-shaped device she had kept in hand.

Spoiler! :
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Zoness had discovered another great way to disrupt a Luraph’s mind-assaulting trick: distracting their brains with a musical composition. And thanks to yet another of the Qorali family’s creation – the Luraphs were still to be thanked for their amazing abilities – a little device could record complex sounds for several minutes and put them back in the user’s mind for him or her to listen again.

“Sorry guys.” Zoness said to the agitated Luraphs in front of her. “Guess I’m more used to work with music than you. And I’m afraid you won’t get to get used to it too. Tuningear - Kuon!” Zoness clenched her hands into fists and bumped them against each other. Zoness was engulfed in a flash of light as crystal blue metal plates appeared successively all around her body, soon followed by a helmet of the same color covering her head. A black visor allowed her to clearly see through it, and black boots appeared at the end of lower leg armor segment. Finally, an emblem appeared on the upper torso’s chest plate – a white crescent with a sharp crystal passing diagonally through it, forming the letter “Q” – thus completing the shape of the Kuon Armor.

Spoiler! :
VISUAL REFERENCES AHOY! Image


Neo? Gil?" Zoness called. "How much time d’you we have ‘til Mom comes back?

She went ahead to take care of the other base,” Lyneo, one of Zoness’ older brothers, immediately informed, “but she said she was almost done. Let’s say around thirty minutes.

And as usual, she took the big one to make sure we wouldn’t… Y’know, die.” Gilven, the younger of the two, added.

Zoness couldn’t help but giggle. Gilven was always one to set up the bad mood when it wasn’t needed. “Yeah, let’s just hope she doesn’t croak this morning, I kinda need her to avoid being late at Battle School, and you guys’ll prolly need her around in general.

Pff! She’ll be fine.” Lyneo assured. “Let’s focus on our part of the cleaning duty for now, and THEN you can worry about your school.

Still a pain you guys aren’t joining.” Zoness admitted.

What, you’d miss us?” Lyneo immediately replied.

Naaah, you know I’ll be fine. It’s just that you two would probably kick some serious butts had you chosen that path.

To each their own opportunities, Zee.” Gilven said with a calming tone.

Usual tactic, by the way?” Lyneo inquired, changing the subject.

You the sniper, me the backstabber, and Zoness the assaulting bait.” Gilven recited. “We good?

Don’t even ask. Let the routine begin, bros!” head bobbing to the rhythm of her favorite music, Zoness rose a hand towards the Luraphs in front of her. “Tuningear – Weapon setup!” her personal enchanted gun appeared in her hand and she fired a volley of bullets, pelting their skin with high-pressured water bullets. “Four down,” she muttered, “so probably thirty more to go…”

******


“Zee? We’ve reached the Capital. We’ll arrive at your school shortly.”

With regrets, Zoness lifted her eyes away from her favorite book – Archdjinni of the Crowns – to gaze at her mother’s back. She was sitting in the pilot seat of the Qorali’s personal white and blue airplane, the Cloudrunner. The family-type flying vehicle was big enough to allow four large seats behind the pilot’s seat, but was, of course nowhere near as comfy as an airship. It was much faster and much more agile however, which was all Zoness needed to arrive to her school. She could’ve taken the airship with the other Northern families, but considering how little attention hers had gotten due to not being as wealthy as some, she naturally didn’t have much care for whichever road companions she would’ve had. Besides, the quicker she’d get to Battle School, the quicker she’d get to re-explore the Middlelands. She hadn’t gone back there in years, and she was fond of that place’s culture and customs.

“Shortly how?” Zoness ended up asking, gazing at the buildings below. “In like, ten minutes? I wouldn’t wanna slow you down or anything, you didn’t even have time to clean yourself up after the… other… cleaning sessions you had to deal with.”

Sharalie, Zoness’ mother, slightly turned her tanned head. Indeed, she was wearing a flight jacket over the dark blue skintight body suit she wore over the armor she had used to battle against the Colossal Luraph she was the only one able to battle against on her own. White light armor plates rested on her lower legs, right above her military black boots. Her long black hair was untied, which defied her usual customs.

“No worries, and in about fifteen minutes.” Sharalie said nonetheless. “We both know I hate dressing up like a soldier, unlike you, but well, I won’t blame my attire for saving my life.”

Zoness grinned. “I’ll take the soldier thing as a compliment.” she said. “Also, I’m pretty sure you could beat any Colossal Luraph naked.”

“There’s a good chance that I could, but that would be pretentious. And maybe rude, too – the Luraph itself is probably smart enough to be offended. Speakin’ of that, what are you doing with them?”

“Uh, meaning?”

"Well, you took one of them as a Possessed Familiar, and your brothers and I have seen you several times near one, usually with that black notepad of yours – despite my warnings, I might add. Are you trying to communicate with them?”

Zoness shrugged. “Sorta. Dunno if they do that with you guys too, but when they try to take over my mind, they send me like… Poems.”

“In a strange language that you can’t understand, right? In my case, it’s only a couple of words, but never more.”

“Yeah, but it’s not just that.” Zoness continued, closing her eyes as she tried to remember every peaceful moment she had shared with her neighboring frenemies. “It’s like… Every poem has a specific… Ring to it, or… tone. Like they’re chanting, but crying at the same time.”

Though her eyes were focused back on the clouds ahead, Sharalie was carefully listened to her daughter’s explanation.

“I’ve started to notice some rules to the language, too, so I started writing the poems down.” Zoness said. “I think it’s like a cypher language, and I partially deciphered it.”

“Oh?” Sharalie said, slightly impressed. “And how did you manage that?”

“Well, remember the two years we spent in the Middlelands? I spent some time in some of their libraries, and they have books that explain how to decipher languages. I, uh, kind of bought one, remember?”

“No, I don’t remember – I was too busy trying to figure out how was I to make the complete collection of ninteen books of the 'Archdjinni of the Crowns' series fit in your room! Darn, you’re even re-reading one right now, aren’t you?”

Zoness laughed out loud, almost letting her book fall on the ground. “I’m sorry, but I fell in love with that series!” she exclaimed. “I didn’t know I’d find something like that so far away from the Northernlands, it just… kind of blew my mind.”

“Yes, I noticed – though luckily they weren’t the most expensive ones out there. Ah… There it is!”

Zoness put her book in her shoulder bag and pressed her cheek against the window behind her, staring at the approaching image of raising towers in the middle of a lake, as well as a campus on which faraway silhouettes seemed to be gathering – most certainly the pupils.

“Wow. I forgot how big Battle School was.” Zoness said. “I wonder how it is inside.”

“Well, Zee, only one way to find out.” Sharalie commented as she began the slow descent of her ship towards the school.

Zoness frowned, realizing something. “…Uh, Mom? Why didn’t you dock your ship at the docking bay? The Northern ship didn’t even arrive yet, so we won’t cross any other family.”

“First: I’m not taking that risk, as there are some faces I don’t want to see there. Second, you told me you wanted to get here as fast as possible, and I need to hurry back home to make sure your brothers and our home are safe and sound. There was something… Strange about the Colossal Luraph I defeated.”

Zoness gazed at her mother. “…Defeated?”

“Precisely. Not killed. It ran away.”

Zoness’ eyes widened. The Luraphs were smart, resilient, but they were also obsessive, especially the Colossal ones. They never, ever ran away from a battle with the Qorali - for the simple reason that they could win at any moment, and were in much higher number. If they were getting wiser… “Okay.” Zoness said, serious tone retrieved. “Just bring me a bit closer to the courtyard, I’ll just take an armor and jump.” with that said, Zoness fumbled through her bag and equipped her tinted visor mask, thus concealing the upper part of her face down to the nose. Pressing a finger on a smaller pocket of said back, she activated the music player locked inside, getting her mind ready for action.

Spoiler! :
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“As usual, keep your visor at all circumstances, unless emergencies happen or the school asks to remove it for a specific, crucial reason.” Sharalie ordered. “Your armors?”

“All ready and polished.” Zoness replied.

“Jetpack?”

“Enabled.”

“Shield and weapons?”

“Enabled and armed.”

“Dual Weapon System?”

“Enabled, and of course, all green. Checked it this morning.”

“Rhythm sensors?”

“they’re not magical equipment, Mom, but definitely enabled. Currently listening to music. And yes, my Familiar is ready to duke it out too.”

“You know me, I double-check everything.” with the press of button, Sharalie opened a large hatch above her daughter’s head. A cold wind engulfed itself in the plane, but it was not a trouble – for Zoness had already equipped her Kuon Armor and had propelled herself outside, using the small jetpack on the back of her armor. Focused, Zoness spread her arms and legs as she slowly fell back down. Her fall accelerated and she passed next to the Cloudrunner at full speed, aiming for the courtyard of Battle School. As the shapes below grew closer, she noticed from the corner of her eye several fingers pointing at her, but she paid no mind – she had to focus on her magic fuel output to make sure she’d reactivate the jetpack with good enough timing.

Mind the people below, wouldn’t wanna squash anyone, now would we? Zoness thought to herself. With that in mind, she performed a front flip to stabilize her position and, feet pointing at the ground, she reactivated the jetpack on her back, as well as the water-bound jet propellers below her armor’s boots. Her fall came to stop when she was about five meters above the ground – and luckily, nearby people had had the courtesy of walking away to ease her successful landing.
Having reached the ground, Zoness bumped her fists together as a flash of light engulfed her armor. It vanished, leaving only her visor mask behind. She gazed up and waved at her mother – though she couldn’t see it, she probably waved back inside of the Cloudrunner. The plane ascended towards the sky once more and flew away, moving back towards Zoness’ hostile home. The girl couldn’t help but sigh, slightly worried. If the Luraph were getting wiser, if they were starting to communicate and learn, or worst, form complex strategies, things would get disastrous sooner rather than later. Maybe a key to stopping them would be to fully decipher their language. Zoness would make sure to complete that task when she–

“Hey, show off!”

Zoness turned back, her calm seriousness unfazed by the angry face that had appeared in her line of sight. The tall, pale-skinned boy was staring at her with ire-filled black eyes, and a closer observation towards his slightly wet clothing informed her of why. She pressed the smal pocket on her shoulder bag, cutting off the music in her head.

“Next time you do your landings," the boy continued, "could you maybe not splash water all over the darn place?”

Zoness calmly looked around, scanning the other people besides the boy. Then, she offered her brightest smile to him as she waved a friendly arm in his direction. “From the depth of the ocean that saw me grow up… to you, I say Kioo, Irate One!” were the first words she exclaimed, ignoring the listening crowd around them. “A closer inspection of our surroundings suggests that you, my dear, were the only unfortunate soul to be ‘splashed’, as you say, by my calculated landing – though evidently, I didn’t scan the area well enough to avoid you.” Zoness bowed gracefully. “For that, I must apologize.” fumbling through her shoulder bag, Zoness took a white towel and handed it over to the boy. “Wash yourself up with this – it’s clean water, so your shirt should dry up soon enough.”

Grumbling something, the boy almost tore off the towel from Zoness’ arm to apply it on his face. Her smile grew slightly larger. “With that, and on such a wonderfully positive note, I must confess I’d prefer leaving you alone with your anger. You can return this towel to me whenever you’re free of said anger, I don’t mind. Sakioo, Irate One!” and with that last exclamation, Zoness waved a friendly hand towards the boy, who’s look appeared half angry, half perplexed – she’d have to ask him why later. For now, Zoness could only turn towards the entrance of Battle School and begin a confident march towards it, superbly unaffected by the numerous mutters around her, the visor covering her eyes and her unusual entrance as a gentle smile remained stuck on her face.
Noble Mode. she thought to herself. Fixer of anger issues and social accidents since time immemorial. Zoness put a hand to her shoulder bag, suppressing a giggle. If only people knew she had learnt her fancy social speech patterns from the Archdjinni book series more than from her upbringing, she wondered what they’d call her.

Not that she truly cared, of course – it would only be yet another batch of labels to add in her growing collection.
Last edited by Tortwag on Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Terian805 says...



Esedra:

He kneels before me in the sand, his hands clasped to the side of my head, staring at me with those piercing green eyes of his, and tattoos curling up the side of his face.

“Esedra,” He says slowly. “You must promise me, that you will look after Mum and Dad, while I’m away. You are the lady of the Castle now. You must be the strong warrior that I know you to be.”

I nod my agreement, blinking away tears that trickle down my cheeks, before splashing into the shimmering sand.

He leans forwards, and kisses me on the forehead, before he stands, slinging a spear over his shoulder.
“I’ll be back,” He smiles, “Remember that Esedra, I’ll always come back.”
And as he begins to walk towards the blurry horizon, it seems that a sand is coalescing about my body and carrying up and up into the clouds, and it seems that I begin to lose sight of him until he is nothing but a speck in an infinite sea of sand, and it seems that
there is a rushing of wind in my ears.....

I snapped my eyes open to see the door to the Aircraft being slammed shut, as a tanned, muscular man swung himself from open sky beyond, sweeping back his hair, and breathing out in exhilaration.

Eldrad sees me looking at him from where I’m lying against the wall, and flashes a grin,

“Slept well?” He laughs, “You’ve been out for hours. I had to spend at least another half hour on watch outside.”

I laboriously nod as I stand, stifling a yawn. “I never knew how far away Battle School was El.”

Eldrad led me towards the metal door that led into the cockpit, still wearing that mischievous grin of his. “I reckon you’d best see this Esedra, it’s a sight for sore eyes.”
For a ship that belonged to one of the most technologically competent families in the Southernlands, the vessel was tight, no more than forty feet in length. There was nowhere to sit, and nothing to do, but it was faster and more reliable than probably any ship that could be found.

He pulled open the door with a clang, and I almost didn’t notice Eldrad’s fiancé at the controls, Cala, who leant back and nodded happily to us through her hazel hair as she saw us walk in.
Eldrad and Cala were both my bodyguards, and damned good at their job as well. They were utterly in love, but I always liked to imagine that they worked better as a result of that. They hadn’t disappointed me or my father in the four years that they had served us, and managed to be my best friends in the process.

“Take a good look Esedra.” Cala said. “It’s a sight you’ll see often enough.”

I’d grown up in the Dei’kali desert; a wasteland of pyramids, villages, mountains, and endless sand. What technology there was was limited to the depths of Mount Ar’kad, where my father ruled in his Ruby Palace. The capital however, was nothing like the desert.

The capital expanded for as far as I could strain myself to see, whilst hundreds of airships, not unlike our own, patrolled the city skyline. There were bridges, streets, lakes, parks, plazas, and everything seemed so developed and advanced. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before, and I marvelled at the expertise in engineering that this city must have required to build.

My thoughts however, were interrupted by a stream of curses from Cala, as a gigantic winged shape loomed up in front of us.
Eldrad however, only smiled as the shape veered off to the left, revealing itself to be a immense dragon, wrought from iron, and with brilliant magenta eyes that seemed to fix upon us in the cockpit.

It was Teon to be precise. Teon the metal dragon, one of House Omar'ti’s prides of engineering, and Eldrad’s Familiar, with whom he had an unbreakable bond. I guessed that when Eldrad had entered the ship from the outside, he’d been scouting the skies beyond on Teon’s back, a post that myself and him had taken turns on, me using my magic to fly alongside the ship. Teon never left Eldrad’s side, sometimes to Cala’s disgruntlement.
“I swear, sometimes you love that bloody dragon more than me.” I remembered she said once, and I chuckled at the memory, Teon veering off to the right, the Scarlet Crest of House Omar’ti emblazoned on his metallic hide.

I noticed that Eldrad was concentrating upon his mental link with Teon, his eyes shimmering with violet light. I could easily guess why.
Not wanting to distract him, I exclaimed to Cala, “We’re not above Battle School already are we?”

But she nodded. “Eldrad’s going to fly you down to one of these towers. You can hop off and find your way to Battle School. We imagined that it wouldn’t do for all the Southerners to see a ship from our House. You know how things are.”

I sighed in agreement. Because of our history, there was always tension between Omar’ti and House Marr. I suppose we made some decisions that they did not agree with.

Eldrad snapped out of his trance, and tapped me on the shoulder. “I’ve moved Teon below the ship. Let’s go.”
I knew I was unlikely to see Cala for a long time, so I moved up behind her where she sat, and hugged her around the neck.

Cala placed an arm on mine, “Look after yourself Esedra.” She said simply.
“I will.” I responded, and followed Eldrad out of the cockpit and towards the door. I picked up my duffel bag, and attached my quarterstaff to my back.

“Ready?” He asked, and I nodded before he opened the door to a roar of wind, and we jumped.

We both plummeted through the air towards where Teon was flying below, the air buffeting my face, before I landed, manipulating the metal of Teon’s hide with my earth magic, in order to cushion my fall.

Eldrad slammed down in front of me with practiced technique and immediately sent Teon spiralling down towards the city, whilst I hung on to the spikes on his back for dear life, my red hair streaming in my face
We were plummeting down towards a tower, from the little that I could see, it seemed like a clock tower, one of the largest I had seen yet. There was a spike that jutted from the top of it, which were heading straight for, and just as I thought we were all to be impaled upon it, Eldrad brought Teon up and the Dragon’s claws latched onto the spike with a tremendous thud that almost jolted me from my perch.

Teon let out a mechanical roar of triumph, and Eldrad laughed, as I climbed up towards him.

“Are you trying to kill me?” I grumbled, fairly pissed off with him.

Eldrad only maintained that smile of his. “I’m training you Esedra. Who knows what you’ll encounter at Battle School. Maybe you’ll have to ride dragons flying at one hundred miles an hour.”

I ignored the joke and we sat in comfortable silence, listening to Teon’s heavy breathing and watching the city skyline.

“Hey.” I said, pointing to some black towers in the distance. “Is that Battle School?”

“Sure is.”

“I have to get all the way over there?”

“Well you’re a Sand Mage aren’t you? Make do!”

I had to smile at that, though I didn’t make a move yet.
“Esedra.” Eldrad said, “You need to be careful here. Battle School is going to be a new start for you, a new life. But as soon as you step through the gates and announce yourself as part of House Omar’ti, then every Southerner will look at you with suspicion. To them we’re the turncloaks of the Southern aristocracy.”

He turned to me.

“But we need you to show them that we are not. That we are House Omar’ti, and we serve the South till the end of days. Will you do that for your father, your mother, and for your House.”

I nodded fiercely. I never had meant to do anything else.

I stepped forward and gave him a long hug before pulling away. After that Eldrad’s grin returned to his face.
“Now get outta here. Cala and myself have business to attend to.”

I hopped down from Teon’s back atop the spire and pressed my hand to the metal. Wherever I went, I could feel ancient forces of earth magic rolling within every form of matter, known as The Sand. I didn't matter whether I might me surrounded by stone, metal, wood, or soil, The Sand was everywhere.

The city was no different.

I drew Black Sand from the metal, strengthening my body with it, increasing my agility, my reflexes, and my sheer power.

I leaped, propelling myself at least fifty feet towards the next tower

For a moment I turned back, as Teon gave a great roar and launched into the clouds with Eldrad on his back. It almost felt like he was the remnants of my childhood, leaving me like a puff of wind.

But I pushed such thoughts from my head, and turned my eyes to my destination.

Battle School awaited.
Last edited by Terian805 on Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  





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jimss23 says...



Cassie and Donovan


“Cassie!” Donovan bellowed out into the darkness of his chamber.

“Yes, Daddy?” came the soft reply and the sound of scurrying feet climbing down the stairs from the loft. Cassie whipped around the corner and stared wide eyed at her father, hands behind her back. “What is it, Daddy?”

Donovan groaned and slowly lifted himself out of bed. “Cassie, love. What day is it?” He mumbled, trying to shake off last night’s drink. Bottles were strewn around his bed and his head thumped with pain.

“Opening day, Father! All the new students are coming! I can’t wait to meet them all!” Cassie beamed.

Donovan shook his head. “Lovely. No wonder there is such a racket outside.” As if on cue, there was a giant crash in the courtyard as if something metal had just landed. A muffled roar was heard off in the distance. “Why can’t they have the kids come in at a more sensible hour?”

“It’s almost lunch, Daddy.” Cassie announced joyfully.

Donovan cracked a slight smile. “Of course it is sweet one. How about you go find Uncle Jack and see if he needs any help getting ready for the new students?”

“Ok!” Cassie exclaimed. She turned to run off.

It’s almost lunch. Damn. I slept in. Wait, but if it’s almost lunch…

“Cassie!” Donovan yelled out once more.

“What is it?” She answered back.

“Did you eat breakfast this morning?” Donovan asked, one eye shut, expecting the worst.

“Yes, daddy. Miss. Reya brought me some! She said you had a rough night and wouldn’t be up in time!”

Donovan huffed a sigh of relief. God Bless that woman. I guess that also explains how I got from the floor to the bed. “Alright. I’ll be ready to go in a bit. Tell Uncle Jack not to wait up for me.”

“He won’t!” Cassie called as she ran out the door.

Donovan smiled warmly. “Smartass.” More noises came from outside, making his splitting headache even worse. Donovan fell back onto the bed. Another hour wouldn’t hurt, right?
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Basil says...



Dimitri


My eyes snap open as my body jolts into consciousness. I glance to the bedside table of my new room, the small analogue clock ticking away merrily. I scowl at it as the ticking continues. The clock strikes six, and gives off a pleasant sound before resuming it's ticking.

Without fail, I always manage to be awake one minute before seven. Why this happens is beyond me, but it frustrates me to no end. Why exactly one minute before seven? Why such an odd time? Sometimes I hope I don't find the answer to that question. It's the most excitement in my mornings on most occasions.

Except today. Today I start at the Battle School. I arrived the this giant city a few days ago, miscalculations my travel distance. Or my excitement got in the way, and I pushed my mount to move faster. Upon arrival, and realising I had a few days to spare, I applied for a small share house room, and I've settled in nicely. Nothing about this room would suggest anyone lives here, except the never-quite-made bed, the large saddle propped on the desk chair, and the bags of clothes I still have to unpack resting beside the armoire. No pictures or trinkets or figurines. No homely feeling. I hope it stays that way.

Pushing myself out of bed with a groan, I walk over to the small bathroom attached to my living space, and have a very quick shower before dressing in some plain clothes, and picking up my satchel bag, stuffing it with pens and books for class. I leave my room, making my way out of the share house and into the streets of the city. I've already explored the area, so I know where I need to go. But first I want to check the mail office to see if a letter has come in from my sister.

Tennesha was still debating on whether she wanted to join me at the school when I left. I wonder if she's made up her mind. I hope she decides to come here, the entire place would be much more tolerable. With the loud streets and the cooler weather and the right crowds. It'd be easier to keep my cool with her around too. I try not to get my hopes up about it, but with every step I take toward the mail office, I can't help the grin that stretches over my mouth. A few people smile at me as they pass, and I nod in return, my smile growing. Today will be good. I can feel it.

I reach the mail office, and waltz through the door. The woman behind the counter narrows her eyes as i stroll up to her, asking if there are any letters in for me. She checks the boxes behind her and nods as she pulls out an envelope. I give her a coin before taking it and walk out of the mail office.

Finding a bench a little out of the bustling of the streets, I sit down and open the letter. Tennesha's handwriting. My smile grows wider. This must be the letter telling me she's enrolled and on her way.

Dear Dimitri,


First of all, you better be at the damn school. I sent this letter two days after you left, so it should arrive within the week. I'm not rich enough to have it mailed by ship.

Anyway! How are you? How was the trip? Have youade any friends yet or are you too grumpy for that. I chuckle evilly at the thought.

I know that when you left for the school I was debating whether I'd enrol as well. Da and Pa both think it's a good idea, but I think I'm going to follow them and work. I'm sorry little brother, but you won't be seeing me at the school this year, or the next. Besides, can't have Da and Pa being the only ones paying for your tuition, can we?

Everyone says hello and wishes you well and good luck for your first day!

Love you little bro,

Tennesha.


I frown at her words. Not coming? Not coming? So she's leaving me to face the school alone? She's pulling g that stupid guilt stuff on me about staying. Fine. Fine, I don't need her here anyway.

My anger surges at the letter, and i shove it into my bag with enough force that it rips in some places. Most of my anger is at the fact that I'm this disappointed that she's not coming to the School. A part of me knew already, but I still hoped.

***


After having an insufferable conversation with an idiot, being splashed by a too-literate nutcase, and being followed by some happy-go-lucky prick, I make my way to the School. So far, the day has gone oh so well, and my temper hasn't gotten any better.

I storm into the courtyard near the school entrance, overlooked by a tall, spindly tower lined with windows and a large balcony looking over the students already gathered. I find a spot toward the outside of the crowd, near the front, wanting to get a good view. As I stand, minding my own business, someone shoves me hard, and I go flying forward, into the back of another student. He whirls around just as I right myself, eyes wide and nostrils flaring.

Before he can tell at me, I spin around to the two kids that had shoved me, flames dancing across my fingers. They seem to back away, especially with the other student towering behind me. The kids quickly move away, flashing us dirty looks. I have a heavy breath and turn around to apologise to the guy I fell into.

"Hey, sorry about that," I grate out, fire still burning through my body.

He watches me for a moment before shrugging. "No big deal," he says.

I study him, noticing a necklace hanging around his neck. A familiar emblem has me searching my mind for a family name. Ah. "Are you from the Rayis family?" I ask, remembering the one time Da took me and Tennesha to Amber's Falls. But that was years ago.

He gives me a withering glare. "Yep, Sullivan Rayis," he tells me, but makes no move to offer his hand. Neither do I.

"Dimitri Ansgaar," I shove my hands into my pockets.

"Nice to meet you," Sullivan smirks. "Seen any Northerners yet?"

"A few. Almost ran into one earlier. Dull as anything," I shake my head. Pretty, but stupid.

"Doesn't surprise me," Sullivan sneers. "They're dirty savages."

I find myself laughing at that. Although that girl didn't look dirty or savage. Ah, but the too-literate nutcase ... Again, clean. So in response to Sullivan's accusation, all I can do is shrug.

"Students!" A booming voice has half the crowd shrieking in surprise. Sullivan and I exchange smirks before turning to look up at the Balcony overlooking the courtyard. "Welcome to the Battle School."

And so it begins.
Last edited by Basil on Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dorian, are you the one adding all the spices to our food?
Of course I am.
Why?
Because frankly the food here tastes like poorly cooked sawdust. It genuinely tastes how Solas looks.
  





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Tortwag says...



Loiden – Foreshadowed fun, imminent excitment


“’Scuse me! Pardon me! ‘Scuse me! Sorry, I’m sorry!”

Those were the only words Loiden could offer to all the citizens he almost ran into as he ran like he’d never run before, dodging every mount and vehicles as he continued his mad rush towards Battle School.
Lesson for the day: living near a big building didn’t deny the possibility to be late.
Indeed, Loiden had been so excited for the first day that he had practiced his skills a good chunk of the night, and spent the other chunk alone in his room, filling his sketchbooks with his trademark stickmen. He had still woken up on time, but had been much slower at preparing himself than usual – luckily, his mother had prepared his trusty backpack in advance “in case things go south,” as she always said. And, as the boy now realized, things had indeed gone south as he saw a large group of tourists blocking the plaza he needed to go through in order to reach Battle School. Several merchants were trying to out scream each other, so to speak, as they bragged about whatever new products they had gotten for the occasion.
Loiden looked around him, slightly panicked. He didn’t have time to deal with this, but he couldn’t pass quickly enough either. So, he gazed upward and a grin brightened up his face.

Ahoy, Ielmars!” Loiden exclaimed. Reacting to the sentence, his magic aura manifested around him, and immediately the curly white hair became spiky, as a long tail of electricity and light appeared behind his back. Focusing, he shaped the Ielmars Tail like a spring and squeezed it as much as he could. Then, he leaped back on it and propelled himself forward, as if a powerful trampoline had appeared behind him. He passed right above the excited group of people below, most of which didn’t even bother looking upward to watch his amazing acrobatic performance. He landed back on the ground, feet slightly hurt, but ready to keep on running. As he approached his destination – maybe he wasn’t as late as he thought he was after all… – Loiden heard a strange noise. Gazing up as he ran, he noticed several airships approaching the docking bay near the school, while an airplane approached the school directly, with an armored person jumping off it and directly falling inside the courtyard.
As Loiden passed the open gates alongside a group of students who, like him, had arrived slightly later than he should have, he couldn’t help but let his smile grow slightly larger.
It felt like… Like an amazing gathering of heroes like he’d read in so many books at the library. It felt like an exciting tournament, with so many people with their distinctive skills and tricks, ready to use them to prove who could enter, and who couldn’t. And there he was, part of it. Upon gazing at the crowd he had finally reached, Loiden saw that he was certainly the only one his age, but he paid no mind.
If there was a moment in which he could describe feeling amazingly alive… It was this one.
"Is there a limit to how much living I can live with my life? How will I know if I've gone too far?
And why did I spend my life savings on sunglasses for a whale?
I shall find the answer... to these questions."
  





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Chaser says...



Oz Drifter - Utopia of Supreme Graduation

In the distance, a shape could be made out across the steel spires of the Capitol. It was a man, his hand thrust up to the heavens as though grasping a golden rope, by way of which he swung through the sky at a valiant pace. But as he drew closer and closer to his destination, the truth of his features could be made out.

Ozymandias dangled from the clutches of twelve imps, who were flapping their wings in coordination to keep him in the air. His gloved right hand clenched in triumph as the stone courtyard sprawled beneath him, flourishing patterns of red stone in a welcoming spiral.

One of the imps gave a stuttering gasp, and dropped out of the air like a stone. Ozymandias scooped him up with his free arm, tucking him close so he could see the wonders as well. “Rest up, Gallow. We’re nearly there,” he said, then shouted to the rest of the imps, “All troops! Engage glide formation!”

The imps heeded his call, spreading out and stretching their wings to the full extent, creating a grey, fleshy wing that Ozymandias sailed down to earth. About two feet from the ground, he twisted his arm, and the formation broke off, dropping him to the ground. Oz’s breath caught as he felt the tiles beneath his feet. He was finally at the school. As he raised his head, the imps touched down in front of him, standing at attention.

Oz cleared his throat, taking up a pace. “Brave imps,” he said, gesturing towards the trees that lined the plaza, “We stand here upon new territory, an unfamiliar place where new and dangerous foes lurk. I could not ask to be here with a group of more valiant soldiers.”

“However!” he cried, throwing his hand skyward, “This shall be the truest test of our mettle. Here in this sacred hall, what shall bring victory is nothing less than utmost courage. The road ahead cannot be underestimated, and every step will take the height of our determination. Now, let us stand with one another, against the world and government curriculum! Our light will break through the homework and study, into a utopia of supreme graduation! We rise to battle education! Will you stand with me!”

The imps erupted into a cheer, tears of inspiration streaming down their faces. Ozymandias accepted their praise, nodded and thumping his fist in solidarity.

“Then, rest well, my kin, and I shall see you again as we face our entrance exam.” Oz swept his right hand out, and the imps glowed as their forms shifted back to mana. Their ghostly forms flew to his hand, passing through the circle marked on the glove. All but one: the largest, eldest demon, who fluttered onto the arm and climbed up to Oz’s shoulder.

Oz stroked its mottled skin, to which it rubbed back affectionately. “Arcanus, we’re finally here.” Without delay, the two of them broke into a pose, the waves of the lake crashing behind them. “Now, let us go!”

With that, Oz strode proudly towards the gate; his legs were rather short, so this took longer than would actually be impressive. As he neared, he could see the other students had come in crowds on the airships, which were quick to disperse as they too took in the wonders of the Capitol. Most of them looked as dangerous as they were dysfunctional. Oz backed up as a warrior in crystal blue armor splashed onto the courtyard, scattering droplets that glinted in the daylight. Another, clad in a mystical cream-yellow light, surged into the air, vaulting above the crowd and sticking the landing in front of the airships.

Oz and Arcanus watched these dramatic, powerful entrances with decreasing self-esteem. Next time, Oz decided, he would have the imps blast a flaming pentagram into the air for him to drop through.

“What now?” he wondered aloud, the words drowned out by the tin bellow of a dragon above the lake. The great beast turned in midair and soared above the clouds, disappearing.

“Hm.” Oz was about to turn back to the school before he noticed people dashing away from him. Their terror seemed to darken the atmosphere in a decidedly circular shape.

“Have I said something strange?” he wondered, as Arcanus turned around on his shoulder and squealed with fright.

“I suppose this raw ambition is somewhat intimidating...,” Oz muttered as he turned his head, asking what Arcanus was pulling his ear for. “Oh.”

A meteor of white earth was crashing down upon him. Oz whipped his hand in an arc, calling out all twelve imps in a defensive circle. “All imps! Become the Final Stand Defense! Imp-terception!”

The imps looked up at the meteor with fright, until Arcanus stepped forward and thrust his tiny arms out. The other imps glanced at each other, and nodded, clenching their hands one by one in a stand against the oncoming darkness.

Oz stared up at the meteor, eyeing demise as it bore down on him. Biting his cheek, he braced himself to bear obliteration on his shoulders. “Farewell, my brothers.”

All of a sudden, the meteor exploded, casting sand across the courtyard, where it sizzled into the brick. Oz and his imps stood, astounded, as an angel burst from inside. Her wings spread wide and blocked out the sun, and dissipated as she touched down in the courtyard. She brushed back her hood, revealing burning-red hair and a marking beneath her eye. She stared around her, noticing Oz’s army in their valiant final poses.

The force within her eyes struck him, and he snapped to attention simultaneously with his imps. Her gaze passed on, taking in the shining towers of Battle School, and she ruefully muttered something about training. Oz regained his composure and walked forward, his imps following behind him curiously.

The girl’s stare immediately shifted back to him, but Oz was not deterred this time. He walked up to her with a beaming smile, which was copied by his imps to varying degrees of success. Well-rehearsed were his greetings, and confident was his tone.

“Welcome to Battle School!” he boomed, thrusting his hand out. “Ozymandias Drifter, at your-”

“Esedra Omar’ti. That’s my name, so I'll leave you with it.” With that, she walked past him, glancing at the imps that now cowered in her presence.

Oz stood there for a moment before sighing, and releasing his army. Shaking his head, he turned to the sky. “Well? What are we waiting for? There’s so much more to this world!” Laughing, he turned and strode towards the glimmering gates of the academy. “Battle School, advance!"
The hardest part of writing science fiction is knowing actual science. The same applies for me and realistic fiction.
  





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jimss23 says...



Sullivan

Battleschool was even less impressive up close than it was far away. It’s not a shabby place, but it’s just… there. It is a pretty sizable campus, but it is nothing special. Just another gaudy building. It blends Gin with the rest of the buildings. It’s a little nicer, but not by much. I was expecting something grand, something extraordinary. The architecture is the only thing that actually has some aesthetic to it.

All the incoming students were corralled into a plaza under one of the main towers. I was forced to mingle. I saw a few more Northerners. So far, I have not been proven wrong, not that I was expecting to be. The way people arrived amused me. One person landed in the middle of the plaza in what appeared to be a suit of armor. Another flew in on a Dragon. A Metal Dragon. I remember father saying something about a family in the South that made stuff like that, but I wasn’t paying attention.

I tried to keep to myself as we gathered in the plaza. There is only so many wide-eyed and happy glances I can take in a day before I get agitated. Well, even more agitated. Still, the jubilance crept under my skin. These idiots have no idea what the real world is like. They think being a mage is the best thing in the world.

My line of thought is broken by some boy crashing into me. I turn on him quickly, but it was obvious he is not at fault. He is turning facing two other boys. Flames flashes across his hands and the two others leave.

We share a brief dialogue. He recognizes me as a Rayis and he says his name is Dimitri. Good to know Southerners are still respectable wherever you go.

Our conversation is interrupted by a voice from one of the high towers. "Students! Welcome to the Battle School. My name is Jack Brighton and I am your Headmaster. At this time, we invite you to come inside. Student leaders will guide you all to your dorm rooms. There will be a full-course dinner at sundown and a social shortly after for you to meet your new classmates! We ask that you not use Magic inside the walls of Battleschool. Teachers and staff will be around if you need any assistance. On behalf of everyone here, I wish you all well and again, welcome!"

Dimitri and I parted without so much as a word. We would see each other again. No point in saying a pointless farewell. Dmitri didn’t seem the type for goodbyes anyway. I found a teacher who guided me to my room on the third floor.

It was a small, single person room like my father had requested. Looks like they granted his request. Part of me thinks he did it so I could have some privacy and another part thinks that he just wants to force me to be alone. I can never tell with Dad.

I laid all my stuff out and quietly put it away in the dressers provided. Once I had arranged my things, I sat on my bed and began sharpening my sword. I had a feeling I might need it soon. No sooner had I began my third pass than a knock came at my door.

“Who’s there?” I growled. Dinner wasn’t till later. I had hoped to have some time to myself.

“Me.” A girl's voice replied. It sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it.

“I don’t know a ‘Me’. You must have the wrong room.” I shot back.

“Sully, stop being a smartass and open this door!” the girl demanded.

Great. She’s here. I jumped off my bed and opened the door, knowing full well who’d I find on the other side.

“Cassandra,” I said to the brown-haired girl standing outside my door.

She smiled at the mention of her name. “Sully.”

I roll my eyes. “I see you haven’t grown up at all.”

“And I see you haven’t got any happier, so I guess we are even.” She said, furrowing her brow.

“To what do I owe this pleasure?” I sigh.

Cassandra grins and punches me in the arm. “You could at least try to pretend like you are happy to see me. It’s been two years.”

“That recently?” I chuckle.

Cassandra stares at me for a moment then laughs. “God you are annoying, you know that? I wanted to make sure that you are going to come to that social tonight. I got someone I want you to meet.”

“Cassandra I don’t do people. You know that, right?” I groan.

“I know, silly. Still, I think it’s better I introduce you to him than you meet him yourself or you two or going to fight. Then I will have to break it up, and then we all get in trouble and both our fathers will skin us alive.” She rambled.

“I think I more in danger of that than you,” I observe.

Cassandra glared at me briefly before continuing. “Metaphorical. Anyway, be there or I will come up here and sing for you. Got it?”

“Yea, yea. I got it.” I sigh.

“Good. I will see you around Sullivan. It will be good to have another person from a great family here. Someone to compete with.” She chirped before turning around and running off.

“You’ll lose!” I call after her.

“You’re on Sully!” She called back before disappearing down the hall.
This is the Rule of Three
Every writer's most sacred oath
Two boys to challenge each other
One girl to challenge them both

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Sheytato says...



Leafe Seurle


Walking through the front gates, Leafe had felt overwhelmed and out of place. Just coming to school, an assassin attacked her ship, and immediately a brave student had come to the rescue. It wasn't that Leafe couldn't have stopped the assailant, but it was how fast the heroine leapt into action that impressed her.

In the days since she arrived, the last of the students had arrived, and Leafe had made several realizations which shaped her ideology of the school. The first was that Leafe was in a minority. Most students had relations so some respectable, aristocratic family that had more wealth and property than Leafe's family would ever have, and only a token few were accepted from lesser-known families. Her entry was the result of a lottery of sorts.

The next was that Battle School was as big as its student body was. Leafe expected that, while the building was massive, there would be too few students, and in the end the place would feel mostly empty. She would have preferred such circumstances, because more students means more interactions, and as Leafe's interaction with Devon Jace on the boat had taught, she had no idea how to interact. However, there were far more students than she anticipated, and Leafe was almost always around someone else, even in the library.

She also realized that this school was as big as it seemed. From a distance, the gigantic spires and huge domes and sky-tearing towers made the building appear massive, but she assumed that was just the impression distance gave. Apparently, though, even up-close the school was massive. It made sense, seeing as students from the Northernlands, Southernlands, and Middlelands all attended, so a large building would be needed to hold them all.

That brought her to her last realization. Leafe was technically a Northerner, identifiable by her looks. Without specifically set borders between the regions, her blonde-white hair and pale skin was the only definition of where she came from, since her hometown was built as close to the Middlelands as it was the Northernlands.

The town was officially treated as a Northern town, but Leafe and her fellow citizens had no allegiance to either the Northernlands or the Middlelands. Earlier, on the boat, Leafe had acted to Devon as though Jace was her one true leader, but it was only out of respect. To Leafe, the name Jace meant nothing. This belief made Leafe of a more Middlelandish standpoint, but of Northern descent.

It was no hidden fact that the world was on the brink of war, North and South fighting for a reason too small to take lives. This school would be caught in the center of the action, the result of students from the Northernlands, Southernlands, and Middlelands learning, eating, and sleeping beside each other.

And when that war came, Leafe would need to choose a side, or she would die. The government of the North was too set in their ways for her liking, but the South was too rash and violent. Neither was preferred.

In the event of war, if enough Middlelanders were as confused as Leafe was, then perhaps she could gather them together and form an independent faction, one which would serve and defend itself. Then perhaps the entirety of the Middlelands, or at least enough of it, could unite under this faction, and with sheer numbers, they could overthrow the North and South, becoming the strongest region.

But now was not the time for that. Now was the time to attend school. Now was the time to learn. Now was the time to act boring and normal, so no one would be tipped off to her plan. So she would attend class, sitting beside Northerners, Southerners, and Middlelanders. In that time, she would perfect her weapon, the magic combo her life had been dedicated to completing. Soon. Soon it would be ready, and then her plan could fall into place.

****


Breakfast that morning had been interrupted by a meeting in the central plaza, which all students were to attend. After this ceremony, the school year would officially begin, now that all students had arrived.

Breakfast had been nice, for the most part. That boy, Devon Jace had invited her to sit with him and the other Northerners (she suspected it was because of her Northern heritage), and they chatted for a while. He was pleasant and talked a lot, while Leafe stayed mostly silent and only responded when addressed. But, she could say it was enjoyable speaking with him.

Don't get attached to him. He's temporary. Once the war begins, he will be your enemy, a voice inside her head whispered. Deep down, she knew it was correct. But, the war hadn't begun yet, so there couldn't be much harm in enjoying his company, could there?

Once the meeting was called, breakfast was concluded, and Leafe got up to reach the plaza. Devon started in another direction only to realize it wasn't the same path as Leafe. “Where're you going?”

Leafe pointed down the hallway, to the sign which read 'Plaza'. “To the plaza, like we were asked.”

“That way?”

“Is there any other way?”

He looked down the hall which he had started down. “This way has a bridge to cross onto a neighboring tower, and there's a short flight of stairs leading into the central plaza. It's shorter, and a much more enjoyable walk. I'm going this way... You're welcome to come too.”

Every part of Leafe wanted to say yes, but sje hesitated. The voice in her warned admonishing her to getting attached returned. He will be your enemy. You will fight him. You may have to kill him. Don't befriend him.

She shook her head finally. “No thanks. I... um... need to stop at my room and grab... something.”

Devon looked a little confused and dismayed. He opened his mouth to say something, but by then Leafe had already spun around and hurried down the corridor.
-=-=>[¤]<=-=-

In my eyes, all potatoes are equal.


...Except sweet potatoes.

-=-=>[¤]<=-=-

Formerly Sheyren, Sheyren, and even once I was Sheyren
  





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Tortwag says...



Zoness:

Dreaming of the ocean – Mind your footsteps!


Spoiler! :
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For the umpteenth time, Zoness wondered if she should stop listening to her music as she read her notepad’s notes and, like most of the members of the crowd she had been forced to follow, should marvel at the decorations of the large hall the teachers were guiding the pupils towards. Some had already been directed to their rooms – special treatment, or advantages? – but the bulk of the crowd had to walk through the golden corridor filled with wonderful stained glass of green and red colors. The afternoon light filtered through the glass, which gave the impression that the entire corridor, even the stone pillars, were glittering with pride as the many steps of the human guests passed by.

Yes, the place was indeed beautiful. The walk was enjoyable. The climate, the light, and the gentle hubbub around her, everything was set for her to appreciate the walk. But Zoness couldn’t help it: she was nostalgic already. With the melodies of her music player, she had brought more than just a way to keep on training: she had brought an essential shard of her home-world along with her. Without noticing, she had fixed her walking rhythm with her mind’s music, and every time she blinked, flashes of past misadventures, dangers and discoveries came back to her, patting on her heart like so many lost ghosts gathering around her.
Zoness let out a tiny sigh, then allowed a grin to decorate her partially masked face. Maybe her time at Battle School would feel longer than she thought it would.

“Your movements are interesting.”

Zoness turned her head on her left, surprised to see a red-headed girl wearing a set of black kendo garments, armor plates included. Her piercing blue eyes – oddly similar to Zoness’, though the girl couldn’t see that – were focused on her as she walked silently.

Kioo!” Zoness greeted with a friendly wave of her hand. “I’d normally go Noble Mode and give you a nickname plus a fancy introduction paragraph, but something tells me you’d prefer to keep this conversation more… direct.”

“Probably because I didn’t bother establishing the context.” the girl continued, eyes still focused on Zoness. “And maybe because I intently cut you away from your little world.”

Zoness’ smile reappeared. “How should I take that last line, my dear? Sarcasm, insult, or simple observation?”

“Try another guess.”

“Hmm… Observation. You strike me as the warrior type, and well, your clothing style kind of gives it away.”

“Correct assumption.” the other girl approved. “I can’t say the same about you, however. Nothing about your little spectacle earlier gave away anything about what you could be.”

“Oh? I’ve been told I’m a show-off, so, maybe that’s one thing.”

The girl casted the word aside with a movement of her hand. “I leave pre-conceived judgements and labels to the insecure fools.” she declared. “I am, as you said, the warrior type. It’s in the field of battle that I’d dare putting a final judgement on anyone.”

“And yet you started this chat by making an observation on my movements. “Zoness commented. “Stalker much?”

“By that logic, we’re all stalkers whenever we analyze a potential adversary or battle partner.” the girl retorted.

Zoness’ grin grew larger. She pressed a button on her music player as she stared at her surprising guest. “I like your mind already.” Zoness said. “So, what’s so interesting about my movements, since you started with that?”

“I’m surprised you didn’t notice yourself.” the red head commented. “Your feet are… dancing. And you naturally stop or leap slightly forward whenever an arm or shoulder is about to bump into you.” the girl’s gaze sharpened. “I simply wondered… what kind of training you had to go through to move like that instinctively.”

Zoness raised an eyebrow behind her visor. “Oh, is that why you’re talking to me? Wow, you really are the warrior type.” she pointed a finger at her chest. “Zoness, by the way. Zoness Qorali. Your name?”

“Leanora Naas.”

“May I call you Lea?”

Leanora frowned. “I’d rather not, but I’ll consider it if you answer my question.”

Zoness nodded. “The key words are: fish, water, danger, and music.” she said. “The full explanation is much longer and much detailed, but why don’t we get to it as we eat, preferably while sitting on a comfy bench if we manage to find one?”

Leanora frowned. “Fish and water?” she repeated thoughtfully. “I haven’t had the chance to travel much, but I do know there’s not much of those in the South. Are you from the North?”

“I am, yes.” Zoness confirmed. “I know, I know. Hard to tell with the skin color and all, since it doesn’t match the cold. But well, I’m only the third member of my family to be from there, so there’s that.”

“Interesting… Interesting, indeed.” Leanora muttered, finally letting a smirk decorate her serious face.

“That’s a line you could apply to this entire place, I might add.” Zoness concluded as
the duo kept on walking. In front of them, a set of gigantic open doors – painted in gold, like the rest of the hallway – waited, ready to engulf the crowd of pupils. The vast hall inside was decorated in a similar fashion as the hallway, with the addition of small trees and bushes here and there, which certainly contributed in creating the refreshing smell that invaded the air.
The teachers instructed the pupils to wait in the hall and eat or chat to their heart’s content until further notice, and so the crowd moved towards the wooden tables filled with colorful victuals waiting only for them to take them away.

“Benches, benches everywhere.” Zoness commented as she scanned the hall. “Lea, d’you mind finding us a bench? I’ll get some food for us, then I can give you your answer. Sounds good?”

“You’re awfully quick to go for familiarity with people, aren’t you?” Leanora commented in a slightly exasperated tone. “I hope you didn’t forget that we’re both competitors for a spot in this place.”

“Well no, and I mean, you’re talking to me because of my abilities, which might inspire yours during the competition, so, that helps in keeping the whole competition thing in mind.”

Leanora frowned. “You… make it sound like I’m only talking to you for malicious personal gain.”

Zoness gazed at Leanora. “It’s not the case?” she asked with honest curiosity.

“Of course not. Even without our spots at hand, I’d still be curious and willing to widen my perspectives. Warrior type, remember?”

“That’s fair. Any preference for the food?”

“Not really.”

“Gotcha!”

With that said, the duo separated briefly as Zoness approached the giant tables, taking a large plate to place food on. Suddenly, a white towel appeared in her field of view. Gazing up, Zoness noticed the angry boy she had met earlier, a grumpy light still hidden away in his eye.

“Just… take it back.” the boy muttered. “And thanks.”

Zoness smiled. “What’s your name?”

“Why do you care?”

“Because you're still kind of angry, and I was about to call you Irate One again, I figured you’d prefer if I called you by your actual name. Mine’s Zoness.”

“…Dimitri.”

“Well, Dimitri, it’s nice to meet you again, and nice to see that you’re an honest guy.” she put out her hand, and Dimitri gave her the towel. “I hope you won’t hate me for long, as I mean you no harm.” Zoness added. “As you can see, I dropped Noble Mode – as I only use that to deal with, eh, unforeseen events, if you catch my drift.”

“I don’t.”

“That’s fine, as long as your shirt’s dried up. Good luck for the competition, okay? Sakioo.” With that, and her trademark friendly wave of her hand, Zoness grabbed fruits to go along with the meat, fried berries and unidentified food she had added to her plate before walking away, looking for her friend.

Hmm. Can I already think her as a friend? Zoness asked herself as she walked around the hall, plate in one hand, jug in the other. Maybe she was getting along too easily with strangers, but well, she didn’t see any valid reasons not to so far. Dimitri had had valid reasons to shout at her before, and Lea’s mindset seemed interesting enough to keep on talking to her. Was that considered getting along to easily? That question in mind, Zoness wondered if people didn’t lack empathy.
Leaving that behind, she gazed around the collection of benches and pillars circling around the hall. Finally, a red head appeared in her field of view. Smiling widely, she walked over to Leanora’s side, before noticing the other girl, a blond-headed beauty with a white robe, sitting alone on a bench away from theirs. Zoness titled her head on the side. “Kioo! Wanna join us, or, you’re the loner type?”

The blond girl gazed at her with widely opened eyes, seemingly surprised to be talked to. “N-No, it’s… I mean, yes, I don’t mind staying here by myself. Don’t mind me.”

Zoness nodded. “Gotcha, my dear. Then don’t mind us either, okay? We’ll just be chatting over there. Enjoy your food!” with that, Zoness moved to the bench on the girl’s left, sitting next to Leanora, who was also staring at her with curious eyes.

“What does ‘kioo’ mean, by the way?” Leanora asked.

“Family greeting. Means hello, okay, and sometimes, ‘it’s me’.” Zoness explained. “Sakioo is its ‘goodbye’ equivalent. We have others, as it all relates to our native tongue. Mom says it probably comes from the Badlands, but I’ll have to go there myself to check. I’m surprised you’re the only who asked, by the way.”

“It’s probably because people just assumed it was part of your general weirdness.” Leanora suggested.

“Oh? I’m weird? First time I hear that one. I’m pretty sure being from a culture different than someone else isn’t weird, though. Especially in a place where, y’know… Various cultures are supposed to meet. Because then, aren't we all weird?”

Leanora’s gaze sharpened. “Exactly.” she agreed. “I think I like your mind, too. But let’s go back on the main subject before we forget about it.” she continued, taking a shard of fried berries with the provided small fork on the plate. “What kind of training did you go through to move the way you do? Even a few moments ago, you were lost in thought, not even looking straight and you kept dodging everyone who could’ve bumped into you.”

Zoness chortled. “I’m sorry, but… You sound like a stalker again.”

“Oh, come on. You’re easy to spot with that… mask of yours. Which I assume is a family-related item as well.”

“Good guess!” Zoness approved. “Now then, about your question. Stop eating and close your eyes.”

Leanora raised an eyebrow, but obliged nonetheless.

“Okay.” Zoness closed her eyes as well. “Now, breathe. Breathe, and picture what I’m about to describe to you. You’re in a dark room, sleeping in a bed that’s slightly too small for you. You wake up, sit on the bed, remove the bedsheet and stretch.” Zoness smiled. “Then suddenly, the skin on your hand is peeled off.”

Leanora frowned.

“Oh, right.” Zoness continued. “Low ceiling. It kinda hurts, but no big deal, you’ve had worst. You grab your staff on the side and open the window above the ceiling. Gray clouds, as usual, but at least you’ve got light, now. You move to the next room. Shower. Cold, of course, hot water’s not a luxury you get to enjoy every day. You wash yourself up, but then, the bleeding starts. Get your first aid kit: you don’t want any exposed wound for what’s outside.”

Leanora opened her mouth to talk, the closed it. She appeared confused, but eager to understand where the description would lead.

“You get a call.” Zoness continued, a vivid image of her words coming to her as she talked. “It’s Mom. Big ones are coming. You grab your stuff, put your visor one and head out. Ouch. Wooden bar strikes your head. Now you have a headache. Gotta breathe to make the pain go away and make sure you’re not dizzy. You go down the stairs. Careful, careful. Spiky bumps on the walls next to you. Path is narrow. Gotta stay calm. Then, run through the footbridge. It’s just above water level. Polluted water, mostly poisoned. One drop below, and you’re either half-dead, or dead.”
"Now, focus. Mom and the bros give you orders. Usual formation. Gotta distract the Luraphs. They’re oversized white fishes with brains for heads. Literally brains. They try to take over your mind. Again. If you let them, you’ll get a massive headache, you’ll lose balance, you’ll fall, you’ll die. Can’t let that happen. Gotta move faster than their thoughts. Don’t think: act. Shoot them, stab them, keep running. Narrow bridge, though, don’t run too fast. Darn, too many Luraphs. Gotta put some music on to distract them.” Zoness fumbled through her bag to take one of her brain-shaped Music players. She put it in Leanora’s hand and activated hers at the same time, letting her favorite music invade their minds.

Spoiler! :
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“Keep moving, keep moving.” Zoness continued. “Obey orders. Run around the Sea Base. There’s two stories to cover. Take the shortcuts. Don’t look down. Water. Collect your thoughts in the elevators. Save your breath. Darn it, the wounds opened again. Headache’s back ‘cause of the music. Can’t turn it off for now. Take in some gloves to cover the wounds. Air’s slightly polluted too, so, might cause some infections. Gloves are itchy. Wounds too, now. Get some updates from the bros. Mom says to regroup in the main building. She’ll deal with the Colossal Luraph by herself. Don’t move until she says you can. Luraphs, the small ones. Shoot them from afar. Don’t… leave… the building. Music’s still in. Rewind it. Shoot, rain’s stronger than usual. Stronger waves. Luraphs are getting closer. Darn it, gotta clean the room when you’re done. Ah. Mom’s back. Time to finish the job.” Zoness’ smile grew larger. “Whew. Back into the room. Cleaning duty, but music’s still by your side. …oh, looks like you grazed your arms while climbing back up. Frist aid kit again. Remove the gloves, finish cleaning duty. Spiky bumps though, they're on the walls of the room too. Avoid them and finish your day.” Zoness stopped the music and opened her eyes. “Eat, chat, joke with the family. Go to sleep. Next day, repeat. Oh, and don’t forget to take notes of the poems the Luraphs sent you to take over your mind.”

Leanora slowly opened her eyes, a mix of shock and something else Zoness couldn’t identify stuck in her eye. “…Heavens.” she whispered as her eyes widened. “How… How long have you…?"

“That’s the thing, Lea.” Zoness gently interrupted. “I’ve been doing this since the day I was born. Ocean is my home, danger is my friend, and death… is my neighbor. And you know what? Maybe I am weird after all, because I… kinda miss all that. I feel so… out of place here, but at the same time, it’s exciting to explore new dangers. I mean I’ve traveled quite a bit already, so I know what to expect, but still. I miss the Sea Base.”

“…No.” Leanora stated, the fierceness of her focused gaze glaring into Zoness’. “No, you’re not weird. I don’t think you can be treated as such for missing what you consider your home. But I understand your initial keywords, now. And I realize that this wasn’t training. This was… This is… your life.” Leanora let out a sigh. “I’m a bit envious, but also horrified.” she admitted. “It seems that you… are warrior-born. But what you had to do to be that way… isn’t fathomable to me, even with this little exercise. But please, promise me something.”

“Mm?”

Leanora pointed her fork at Zoness. “When we’re accepted as pupils of Battle School… whenever the holidays come, or whenever we’re allowed a day off, I want to visit your home.”

Zoness’ eyes widened. “…No way.” she exclaimed. “You’d die. Like seriously, everyone that’s not us who ever walked into the Sea Base fell after five steps. Five steps being the record.”

“Did you save them before the poison killed them?”

“I… Well, Mom did, and I helped for the last one, I guess?”

Leanora let another of her rare smiles decorate her face. “Well then. Stay by my side as I explore your home. But when I knock at your door to ask for a ride, I expect you not to refuse!”

Zoness grinned along, approaching her face from what she could definitely call a dangerously fun friend. “And what if I do refuse, Lea?”

“Then my blades and I will make quick work of your resolve, Zone.”

Two crystal blue circular spots appeared on Zoness’ visor, sign that her magic had been activated. “Congratulations, Lea, now I’m officially curious to see how you can even think you can beat me.” Zoness said.

"Don't forget something, Zone." Leanora warned. "We're all pupils here. You may have the upper hand experience-wise, but you're a beginner like the rest of us. Any of us here has the ability to defeat you."

"I'm aware." Zoness admitted. "But I still dare you all to try."

A short silence fell on the duo as they began eating, thinking about what they had just talked about.

“Say, I’ve talked a lot about me," Zoness said, "but tell me something: what’s your resolve? Why d’you want to visit my place so badly?”

“Warrior mind, and another reason I’ll bring up whenever I knock on your door.” Leanora pointed behind her. The lone girl from before was looking at them, and her eyes widened when she saw Leanora’s thumb pointing at her.

“Oh, right. That makes sense.” Zoness understood as the magic light around her eyes died down. “Later, then. So… Are we just gonna eat and chat about people’s movements like you did to me?”

“You think it’s a hobby of mine?”

“…Am I wrong?”

“...Oh, just eat already.”

Giggling to herself, Zoness took the other fork from the place and snatched a shard of friend meat she happily put in her mouth.
Maybe the days wouldn’t be as long as she thought they would after all.
"Is there a limit to how much living I can live with my life? How will I know if I've gone too far?
And why did I spend my life savings on sunglasses for a whale?
I shall find the answer... to these questions."
  





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Terian805 says...



Esedra:
Battle School was impressive, but it was a lot more dreary and stripped down than I would have imagined. Just a collection of ramshackle towers, bridges, and lakes. As I lay on my bed, within my dormitory, staring up at the blank ceiling, I couldn't help thinking how I could have done it better.

Perhaps when I complete my engineering course here, then they would let me do some work on the school
I thought with amusement.

Upon my arrival, I had a unusual encounter with a short looking guy, with a weird name, surrounded by little terrified looking red men. I didn’t feel like chatting, however, so I just walked past him when he tried to start conversation.
He was probably a nice guy, I’m just an asshole, and he seemed to be the only person who hadn’t run for their life once I entered the courtyard on my wings.

I couldn’t for the life of me think why that had happened, the wings were a pretty unimpressive technique, compared to what some people could do back home. And surely most of the Battle School entrants had seen a hell of a lot of magical stuff, much more crazy than Sand Magic.

Well people ran away, and who was I to complain? It made me look really cool.

I noticed that the setting sun was casting a lazy orange glow through my window, and I heard signs of students stirring from wherever they might be, within their rooms, or around the school. A low hubbub of chatter was beginning to rise, so I reluctantly rose from my inordinately comfortable bed, and pulled open the door to see people making their way past. I joined the current, and crossed my way down a spiralling stone staircase into the courtyard.

People were milling around the area, in front of two tremendous, looming wooden doors. I guessed that they would open out into some kind of hall, where we would take our meal. I noticed the area in the courtyard where I had flown in, half expecting the short guy to still be standing there.
Of course he wasn't. But I seemed to be feeling people's eyes on me as I stood around, waiting for something to happen. I guess people hadn't really seen anything like Sand Magic before. My display earlier was probably going to have an effect on what people thought of me. And I hadn't even revealed which House I came from yet, which no doubt would cast more suspicious gazes on me.

"Well this is going well, isn't it." I murmured to myself, as there was a great rumble and the front doors opened.

Back home, meals were usually fairly private affairs among family. Here in the capital, they seemed to be the most immense gathering of people in one place that was possible.
There couldn’t have been any less than eight hundred new students to the school, who swept into the hall like a tidal wave across the courtyard, me having to allow myself to be carried along. I caught glimpses of many people who were easily identified as true Northernlanders, with their blonde hair, their rich skin tones, and irritating beauty, of whom I had seen no more than a few in my life.

People were dressed in all manner of clothing, and carrying all sorts of weaponry. I saw everything, from ratty looking teenagers dressed in cloth tunics, to an imposing figures garbed in extravagant, glimmering armours and carrying all manner of dangerous looking weapons.

“Perhaps people to get to know, they could be a powerful allies.”

But despite my thoughts, I soon ended up sitting alone on one of the benches, empty spaces on either side of me, whilst I ate some unidentifiable meat.

Some people might have felt awkward, but in honesty, I didn’t really care. I enjoyed being alone now and again. People got dull once in a while; keeping to myself was good for me.
But then you got the people who took situations like that into their own hands, like the person who tapped me on the shoulder at that moment.

I turned, to see a startlingly pretty, yet slightly boyish looking, muscular girl, about my age, holding a plate of food. Waves of white hair cascaded down from a beanie which she wore, and she gave me a nonchalant smile.

“Can I sit here?”

I stopped myself from making my standard, nasty retort. I couldn’t make everyone in Battle School dislike me,

I only shrugged, and gestured towards the space next to me.

“I’ve no objections.”

The girl sat, and there was a moment’s silence whist we both ate.

“My name’s Alarin.” The girl said. Pretty name. Like her I guess.

When I didn’t reply, she continued.

“I can tell you’re not one for conversation, and enjoy being a little rude. Maybe you’re a Southerner. Or maybe you just prefer to watch things from a distance. Either way, I think we’ll get on just fine. I’m exactly the same.”

I turned to her, and smiled.

“You know what Alarin, I like you. I have the honour to be Esedra Omar’ti of the South.” I said with mock formality. "Where are you from?”

“Northernlands.” She replied. Alarin had a very authoritative way of speaking, like someone who knew what life was about.
“You might have guessed from this mop of mine. Some of my old training masters joked that I would blend into the snow, should I ever need camouflage.”

As well as her striking white hair, I noticed she had tattoos curling down her hands, that grasped her cutlery. They were fascinating, ending on her fingers in various hard-lined shapes, like leaves and spikes, as if she could use her very hands as weapons. Perhaps a Northern custom? I had no idea.
I had to stop staring however, as I noticed she was looking at me weirdly, so I laughed to cover up the awkwardness

I“Snow’s a relatively unfamiliar thing to me. I’ve only known desert for most of my life.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Normally I wouldn’t believe you. You look more like a Middlelander to me.”

I nodded. “So my mum has done her best to tell me. I guess I haven’t exactly got the dark looks that she would have hoped for in her daughter.”

Alarin didn’t push further into my past. I liked that.

“Hey Esedra, You were the one who arrived on that dragon right?”

I laughed, “I’m never going to live that down am I?”

“Was it yours?”

“Nah, it was my bodyguard’s familiar. He’s a bit of a show-off, but that dragon is helpful.”

“Well it was impressive, I’ll say that much. Most people here seemed to think the
same.”

“You said you had some training masters.” I began. “So you’re a bit of a combatant?”

“Yeah.” Alarin replied. “Years of training with sharp things in the mountains led to being sent here, to meet new people like you, and to learn more about using sharp things.”
I could imagine her being a warrior. She had that tough look about her.

"You seem like someone who could hold their own in a fight." Alarin remarked, and I laughed. “I’m afraid you’re a bit wrong there. As a kid I used to think I could, and took on some of the biggest lads in town. Southerners are rarely gentlemen, and these guys were no exception. I lost more fights than I won.”

For the first time I saw her chuckle. “Well perhaps I should give you some training whilst we’re here. Everyone should know how to defend themselves. No matter if they're an unfriendly Southerner or not.”

I was about to say, perhaps you should, when we heard a voice that rung with mirth nearby. “Excuse me.”
We both turned to see a good looking red haired guy, who regarded both of us with a grin.
“I appear to have lost sight of most of my fellow Middlelanders, and it appears that the only one who I know is your wonderful self, Alarin.”

Alarin rolled her eyes. “Esedra, this is Killian. I met him earlier.”

Killian sat down on the opposite side of the bench and smiled, as he shook my hand. He was very gallant about it. Killian reminded me of Eldrad, in his cheerful mannerisms.
I noticed Alarin struggled to meet his gaze, and I couldn’t blame her, since he was
extremely attractive. There was something about his sparkling eyes, which just made me feel at ease talking to him.

Maybe Southerners would look at me with suspicion, like Eldrad told me. But Middlelanders and Northernlanders, like Killian and Alarin were from a whole different world. And when you meet people from different worlds, you can be anyone you wish to them. And that made me happier than the miserable prick that I usually was.
Last edited by Terian805 on Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  








We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
— William Shakespeare