This is my first chapter in what I’m hoping turns into a long form story! Please let me know what you think of this, feedback, comments, anything you can offer is much appreciated!
A blaring horn sounded off long and loud, the squealing brakes of metal wheels on metal rails slowing to a halt at a train station roughly half a mile away from the academy. The train blew its horn again, marking its arrival at the station. Almost all of the races of man, humans, dwarves, halflings, and gnomes along with even male and female demi-humans like trolls, goblins and even a griffonite; all of them took this train ride just to apply to the academy, famous as it was in both worlds. Several of these people were ushered to carriages pulled by horses or centaurs, each waiting to cart them up the long, winding path, great and tall oak trees dotting either side of the road up to the Grand Hall at the center of the campus, its courtyard wide enough to allow three carriages to stand side by side one another at a time. At the center of the courtyard was the greatest oak tree of them all, taller than some of the buildings nearby, and twice as wide as the road encircling it. The leaves of the tree and its younger, smaller brethren were turning from their usual dark greens to a vibrant array of yellows, oranges and reds. Autumn was finally here, though summer’s warmth clung to the air bitterly, not wanting to go just yet. Soon enough the cool air from the north would be frosting the windows of the Grand Hall, its tall, stone arches and buttresses and wide wooden doors would be colder, and soon in a month’s time, snowed over. Inside the Grand Hall a small group of people stood in the lobby, it’s large and magnificent stone pillars lining each side of its polished marble floor. They led up into carved stone archways decorated with friezes of each of the ten houses of magic. The walls were adorned with painted portraits of past deans of the college; men with silvery beards and wide brimmed cone shaped hats and well fitting robes, women with crazy or reserved hair styles, and demi-humans of various races all posed with spell books, wands, staves, and any other magical trinkets they usually had on hand. Many of them had stoic and regal looks about them, refined people representing a refined academy, one of the best in the nation. Parents with their children, older teenagers, and even adults on their own all waited patiently. One of the teenagers fiddled with a stick– a wand of gnarled, curved wood, an heirloom from a long dead relative, the spark of mana ran through him. With all his concentration, he couldn’t make the stick do more than spit out a tiny shower of miniscule yellow sparks that dissipated before even making it halfway to the floor. Even if the show was pathetic, a small child with just as many magical prospects as him stared wide eyed, hoping one day that she too could do that. Precisely at ten o’clock the great belfry rang its song from above and a large set of double doors on the far side of the lobby creaked as they opened. Most people in the room started to congregate toward the double doors, waiting to be welcomed to the academy. After a moment of waiting two forms stepped through it. The first was the dean, an older man depicted in one of the portraits and a young woman with long white hair and ears like those of a cat wearing a set of fancy black and gold robes and an orange armband with a blue symbol of a book spewing forth swirling magic. The old man cleared his throat and pushed his small circular glasses up on the bridge of his nose, “Good morning, one and all. Thank you for waiting so patiently, I am Zacharius Zucarius, and as some of you may have already guessed, I am the dean of Fairgarland Academy. Before we begin, can anyone tell me why we study magic?” His voice oozed with wisdom with only a slight rasp that showed his age. He adjusted his long gray-blue robes with green laurel designs as he put a small, warm smile on his face. A few of the people in the crowd looked at one another in confusion, “To keep our magic under control?” A young woman’s answer seemed more like a question. The old wizard chuckled, “Perhaps if you were a sorcerer, that would be more true. Untrained, your untapped abilities are just that, untapped. But, there are no wrong answers to this question. Everyone studies for their own purposes. Miss Sophia? What would you say?” “To follow in my mother’s footsteps,” The cat witch replied with a twinkle in her emerald eyes, “I am studying conjuration as the teleportation magic it provides is quite useful to many people.” The dean nodded, “Whether it be tradition as Miss Sophia said, the pursuit of control over your abilities, studying for a magic centric job, seeking mastery of a specific school, or any other reason; everyone has a reason to come to this school. Even those that simply wish to study for one or two years to be able to cast simple spells for everyday use. On the other hand, we have those who may study for decades to truly become masters of their fields, I can see that some here are prospective masters!” He chuckled with a little twinkle in his old eyes, “Anywho, forgive my rhetorical question. I must apologize that I am unable to give the tour myself today. Miss Sophia here will guide you today, she is on the council of house Hamilton and knows the college well. She is sure to be able to answer your questions. Right, Miss Sophia?” “Yes, Master Zucarius. They are in my capable hands,” She tapped her pale branch staff on the ground idly, itching to get the tour underway. The staff, the bark of which had been stripped and smoothed, was waxed and buffed so that it shone in the green light that idly emanated from a small crystal grafted to the top of the staff. She was about to step deeper into the Grand Hall and motioned for the group to follow her when she noticed something out of place. The book the dean carried on his belt was without any of the usual kinds of texture or design on its spine or cover. With a little mischievous grin, she used her other hand to adjust her brimmed cone hat with a little fold toward the top, folding the point over to the side. Her cat ears twitched and she used the butt of her staff to leg sweep the dean. As she guessed it would, the staff phased right through the very convincing illusion. “Ah. As keen eyed as ever, Sophia,” He sighed. “Very convincing, Master Zucarius, but you should know better than to use an illusion like this in front of the potential students!” She playfully rebuked him as she adjusted her hat again. He blushed, his legs dissipating into a mist, making a few of the onlookers gasp and ooh and ahh, “W-well you know I am quite busy in preparation for today’s early arrivals! I am unfortunately only able to spread myself so thin even with my illusions–” “You merely wished to show off your mastery, I understand, sir,” Sophia chuckled. Zacharius quickly composed himself and pushed the glasses up on the bridge of his nose, “Yes. You have the right of it. Please forgive me and have a wonderful tour.” Sophia laughed haughtily as she watched the Dean eye her and fade away. The cat witch cleared her throat, “Now. After that little display, let us continue through the Grand Hall. Come along now, there is much to see!” With her white furred tail flicking to and fro, Sophia led the group of about twenty into the interior of the Grand Hall. Busts made of stone, marble, iron, bronze, and even a few of gold and silver sat on shelves and columns. Above those were more oil paintings, canvases expertly covered in paints and masterful brush strokes to bring each figure’s likeness to light, “Here in the Grand Hall, we have many portraits and busts of great witches, wizards, and any kind of spell caster you can think of throughout history - most of which were students once, even here at Fairgarland. There were even some clerics that some consider saints that had studied here!" She proudly proclaimed before pointing at a particular painting of a woman not unlike herself in her cat-like nature. Though similar, her hair was black with much shorter and messier hair, her black robes and cloak were simple, more function over fashion. In her hand she held a gnarled branch staff with a crystal not unlike Sophia's, "There, Maxine Hamilton– my mother and the current namesake of our conjuration house. A powerful witch who has made great strides within conjuration, specifically teleportation and locomotion magic. It's thanks to her that anyone could get around the world within an instant,” The group stared at each painting they passed, taking in as much as they could of each face. Humans, elves, gnomes, a few dwarves, demi-humans like goblins, orcs, a swamp troll, and a grinning mono-eye just to name a few. Every so often, the portraits were broken up by innocuous wooden doors, each labeled with a gold plaque with a name etched into them. "These are the professor’s offices. Most students only enter this building to see a teacher or two. Here comes one now.” Coming down the hallway after exiting a teacher’s office, was one of the older students. The student’s wizard robes looked more like a suit and tie, the robes were black with a white collared undershirt and a blue tie that he adjusted as he saw the crowd headed his way. He wore a blue arm band with a silver lined shield weaved into it, “Hello, Sophia,” He called as he quickly ran a finger through his curly, brown locks of hair. “Good afternoon, Sean. Sean Reagal here is the president of house Maximillion,” The witch explained, “Shouldn’t you be getting ready for the new arrivals?” “I am already prepared to receive them,” He proudly announced, “I was merely here petitioning for a retry on one of our younger student’s test. He claimed that Head Master Daldomel’s instructions were not clear on his recent evocation test,” He turned to the prospective students, “Daldomel is our master of evocation. He is a very skilled magi, but…” He trailed off and chuckled, “Well, I don’t want to keep you here and talk your ear off. I hope our campus proves pleasant during your short trip,” He gave the crowd a polite bow before taking his leave. “See you at the orientation, Sean!” Sophia gave a wave then turned back to the crowd, “Fall term starts shortly,” She explained, “Today the early arrivals are rolling in, they will attend an orientation before getting to do a meet and greet with the council members of each house and some of the professors. It's a smaller event than when the rest of the new arrivals come in where it is a lot less personal so usually only older students and prodigies are invited to the early orientation. These students are more likely to join one of the houses, thus making it important for the council students to meet them.” “How many houses are there?” A younger woman asked. Sophia smiled, “There are ten. One for each of the eight schools of magic, one for students who are not in a house, and a tenth for sorcerers.” “I don’t understand, why do sorcerers have their own house?” A man wondered. She stopped before a second set of doors leading outside, “As you may or may not know, sorcerers are fundamentally different from wizards despite being arcane casters as well. We wizards gain our magical abilities through our knowledge of the arcane arts. We all pick a mastery after four or so years of study and choose two schools of magic to cease any work on altogether as we can only retain so much knowledge. We learn, study and practice to be able to cast. Sorcery is different fundamentally, you learn to control and harness your emotions in tandem with your mana banks to cast. The magic comes from within you, you don’t pick and choose what magic you get, usually, but you are born with the gift of it. There is no learning beyond self control and managing your mana. It is usually only a two to four year course. Wizard mastery can take a dozen years or more! Some students do it in twenty years!” “Are you going for mastery?” A child asked, full of wonder. “As of now, I could not tell you. I am nearly at the point where I can take my knowledge and skill and land a nice, well paying job putting my conjuration magic to work. If I decide I want to be a teacher, I would absolutely go for mastery of my craft,” The cat witch explained. “How long do wizards usually study?” A mother asked, gripping the hand of her child. “Well, assuming you’re here for your gifted child, children go through usual schooling here, kindergarten through high school, learning history, math, physical and magical sciences, and any other topics a child usually would in school along with the basics of mana control. Each school of magic is taught through their development years as a form of aptitude testing, and basic casting is all taught. We try not to push children too hard in the boarding school. After high school, some leave content with their knowledge to pursue a more mundane degree. For a basic knowledge degree, attendees spend around two years. An intermediate is around four, after this everyone chooses a school to focus on and will apply to join a house. Think of it like a frat or sorority in a mundane college. You gain peers who are focused on the same house and will work with you to make sure you succeed. As we saw, Sean was talking to a teacher for the benefit of his lower classman. From here, a total of six or seven years will gain you an associates of magic in your school, eight or nine years is a bachellors, then a dozen or so years you can gain a mastery.” “Does anyone get more than one mastery or degree?” “Of course! It is incredibly time consuming, but some even go for more than one mastery. Usually this is done by elves in their own elven colleges, but a few humans, dwarves, demi-humans, and whoever else do this. Ah, listen to me ramble,” Sophia chuckled to herself, “Let us head outside and we can take a look at the other buildings. Come now,” She tapped the butt of her staff on the floor and made a symbol with her hands, the middle finger, ring finger, and pinky all curled up at the top of her palm with the index and thumb pointing at the door which clicked, the handle rotating, and being pushed open by magical forces. The tour group was led out into the main courtyard of the school. The massive oak tree was surrounded by a ring of buildings where students congregated both inside and out under awnings where they could take in the weather, practicing magic or reading through their books. There were a dozen buildings arranged like the face of a clock. At twelve, the north most building was the Grand Hall flying the school's symbol on its long, draping burgundy banners, a wizard hat atop a crystal ball. The banners were enchanted so that the crystal balls constantly swirled with ever changing and glowing colors. Sophia let the crowd gaze upon the ten wizard towers before going over them, “The oak in the middle has been tended to by the entire school since the academy’s inception. It has grown quite well as it was enchanted to feed off the residual mana in the air. It’s a very common meeting ground for students of the various houses. Of course their rivalries, personal or house wide, are still at play.” “Are these all the dorms? My brother told me about the house he’s in!” A child hollered. Sophia nodded, “These ten towers are where our upperclassmen reside. Think of them like dorms or frat houses. There are communal areas only for the people in those houses and inside there are pocket dimensions that will shift and adjust depending on how many rooms are needed for each student. Each one, minus the ones to our left and right, hold about twenty to fifty students. Let me name each one for you,” She cleared her throat and gestured to the building to the right of the Grand Hall. It flew a white banner with the image of a red dragon protectively wrapping around its clutch of eggs. The magical depiction gazed lovingly at those that came and went from it’s doors and stared defensively at all others, “Here is The House of the Wanderer, also known as House Seeker where those who have not picked a school to focus on reside.” “Is that where children stay?” A mother wondered. “No. Usually our college aged students who are only going through two or so years will stay here. There have been exceptions on occasion, however to the south of here, in that large brick building,” She gestured past a building and a few towers, “is the dorm for the school aged children. Have no fear, they are very well taken care of there. Security is tight to make sure no ‘Lord of the Flies’ recreation takes place,” Sophia chuckled at her own joke, wondering if for a moment that her humor was a little too dark. She cleared her throat, “To the right of the House of the Wanderer, at two on the clock face, is the Ophelia house of divination with its silver banner,” She pointed as they walked by it. The banner had a black card on it which slowly rotated, showing the face of a different tarot card with every pass, “At three, is the Maxamillion house, abjuration,” The blue banner flew a shimmering, silver shield, “Next to it is Calmashorne. Enchantment,” The tower’s color was green with a brown tree silhouette with tangled roots that would untangle and retangle into new patterns. “That’s where my brother is!” The child from before cheered. “The people there are very nice. I’m sure he enjoys it,” Sophia smiled, “At five o'clock on this theoretical face, you have Hemlock, the school of necromancy’s dorm,” A purple banner with a golden, beating heart with a black skull on it, “Don’t worry, folks, we only raise the recently deceased there.” Sophia allowed another small chuckle to escape her lips, “And here at six we have a communal building for all the houses and school aged children. We have a large recreational area with ping pong tables, foosball, even a little movie theater! The houses have a schedule for when they can use this area as well as the underground labs for their studying,” The communal building was made of stone just like the rounded towers that sat before it, but the communal building was square and short rather than circular and tall with a cone shaped top. Coming up from the side of the conical roof was a crooked and well used stove pipe which even now smoke billowed out from the sides of its conical rain cover. “Do they have video games too?” A boy asked. “Of course. I’ve never been one for them, but they are popular! Most of what they have is hand me downs from past students or donations so they are a little out of date. Classics, from what I am told. Ah, I missed a few houses. Let me go quickly,” She cleared her throat, “At seven on the clock face is Zucarius, named for our beloved dean, focuses on illusion,” The eye with a black iris on the yellow banner blinked and moved as it looked at passer bys, “Hamilton, named for my mother, is conjuration. I wish the color was green, not orange, but mother could not have everything she wanted,” Sophia chuckled as she glanced at the familiar banner with a depiction with a book endlessly spewing forth multicolored magical energies, “Fritz’Eleo. Evocation, the biggest house at the moment. A lot of fiery souls in there,” Their banner was red with a hand, palm up, creating a burning blue flame that licked and waved in motion, “Last but not least of the main houses is Karak-Albrac. Transmutators reside there. I’ve always loved their golden banner with that philosopher’s stone on it!” The golden banner in question had a gray stone with a constantly curling blue swirl on it. Her gaze turned to the last house to the left of the Grand Hall, “This is the Sorcery house. Named Faith, it houses sorcerers who have come to hone their craft,” The banner of this tower was pink with two fists crossed at the wrists and covered in moving energies of many colors on them. Sophia took a moment to recompose herself and figure out where to go next, “How about we go look at the arena? It’s east of here. Ah here come some of the new students,” She watched as some young adults filed past the Grand Hall, luggage in hand. A few wore robes, cone shaped hats, and had staffs and wands in their hands, “Excuse me,” She approached one of the new students, a young man with black hair and a clean shaven face. He was one of the few wearing plain clothes jeans, a red t-shirt and an unzipped hoodie, “My name is Sophia and I’m currently giving a tour to these prospective students. Would you mind sharing with us why you chose Fairgarland Academy out of every other option?” The man smiled and nodded, “Well, out of the three options here in America, schools of this size and prestige, I mean. It has some of the most qualified teachers and the highest standing with potential jobs. A lot of hiring managers look for this school specifically on resumes. Mastery here is also a lot more streamlined than the other schools too!” Sophie blinked, surprised by the actually competent answer, “I– Yes. Very good. Thank you very much for your excellent answer, Mister…” “Oh, Galahad. Galahad Loxley. I hope to see you around, Miss Sophia,” He gave the group a smile before reshouldering his messenger bag and started once more toward the meeting hall like he had been instructed when he arrived by horse drawn carriage. Galahad was a young man in his early twenties, his eyes were a fiery, orange color, contrasting his raven-black hair. Other than his unusual eyes, he had nothing to denote his magical prowess due to not dressing in traditional caster garb. The meeting building was easy to spot. It was a long, two floor building that numerous other recent arrivals were filing into. He joined the crowd of fifty or so as they stood in the gathering room where some of the security officers took bulky luggage and handed out white arm bands to all the new students. Galahad declined handing over his single bag but gladly took an arm band and slipped it up his sleeve before moving into the main area. The crowd chattered amongst themselves, waiting for the orientation to start. Eight chairs and a podium were set up on a stage. The banner of each house was along the walls of the room with current students of each house idling near them, talking to any new students who approached and mingling with other house members. As the lights started to die, Galahad looked toward the transmutation house, seeing who his classmates were. Most of the five didn’t catch his eye. Three normal looking wizards, a dwarven man with a long beard wearing armored robes, a short female gnome in bright purple robes with dark orange interior and a brimless cone hat, and a blue skinned, male, humanoid mono-eye who towered above the others as he timidly tapped his fingers together before another man who did pique Galahad’s interest instructed the mono-eye to polish his own golden horn atop his bald head. This man had adorned himself in brass light armor attached to his gold, flowing robes. His face was covered completely by a golden mask of a chiseled, handsome face. Galahad could only wonder what kind of face was really under there, unobstructed by the mask of the man’s long, platinum blonde hair. ‘Eccentric,’ was the first word that popped into Galahad’s head, quickly followed by ‘Gaudy,’ and ‘Amusing.’ He was not something you’d see every day out in public, even if you were a wizard. However long the man had kept Galahad’s attention, the person sitting beside him held his gaze for far longer. Beside the golden man sat a woman much shorter than him, her body covered completely by a reddish-gray coat of fur. She wore a witch’s hat, though hers was twice as wide as anyone else’s sporting a purple and black striped scarf wrapped around its center, and unlike any of the others it looked soft, with warm tufts of fur sitting snugly on her feathery, shoulder-length, blue-gray hair. Though her skin was a pale blue, what was most immediately striking about her was her eyes; black as night all over but for the bright turquoise rings around her pupils. Her ears were long and pointed, suggesting she was an elf of some kind, though Galahad had never seen one like her before and besides, they had their own magic colleges and looked down upon all other casters. Was she one of the Deep Elves, the kind that reside underground? No, her skin was much fairer. Fey have the same kind of ears, and hers were definitely long enough. While he was deep in thought, he didn’t even notice that the woman’s piercing eyes had shifted to him, staring right back as he awkwardly turned away, focusing his gaze to the front of the room just in time to see the dean step onto the stage. The dean waited a time as the head teachers of each school of magic joined him on stage. There were eight of them, each was quite different from the others: an old, blue-haired gnomish woman with rosey cheeks who sat with crossed arms in a chair much too big for her, a gray-bearded dwarf in armor, a tail fairy woman with butterfly wings and green hair, a brooding young man in jet-black robes with the hood up hardly revealing his red eyes or ashen skin, a plump middle aged woman in a flowing set of robes, a treant with yellow leaves and a very kind face that didn’t even bother trying to sit in a chair, a very annoyed looking old human man with bright red robes and a very tall hat, and a woman made of smooth, tanned sandstone. Galahad couldn’t even begin to guess which one was the transmutation headmaster, “Welcome one and all,” The dean began as he interlocked his hands behind his back, “Thank you for being here for our early orientation. I know each of you here is eager to begin your higher education at our illustrious academy and itching to meet and greet with the council of each house. I will not take up too much of your time. My name is Zacharius Zucarius, master of illusion and dean of Fairgarland Academy. I am overjoyed to see each of you here, happy you have chosen our humble school to study at. Know well that I and my headmasters of each magic school will do our best to serve you and help you succeed. Not to mention the council men and women of each house that are eager to receive you!” There were a few cheers from the more energetic of the council members, “With that, I will pass off the stand to the student body president who has a few words to share.” The headmasters of each school of magic clapped along with most of the students. Galahad clapped slowly along with the others. A young man took the center stage. He wore a black set of short robes with a collared white undershirt and a blue tie, “Thank you, Master Zucarius. Hello friends, new and old,” He greeted everyone with a million dollar smile as he scanned the crowd, “My name is Sean Reagal, current standing student body president. It is with great honor that I, and every other upperclassman in this room, welcome you all here to our wonderful school. I pray that each of you will at least consider joining one of our great houses even if you are only planning on being here for two or so years. Each one of our eight wonderful houses is eager to have you apply. Now, we don’t have any formal requirements as to what you need to do, but we encourage you to chat with us council members for each house to get to know us and help decide where you should go with your studies, and get in touch with each of us. We will help gauge your skill level with an aptitude test to help place you in the correct classes. Our headmasters are here as well if you wish to speak to them as well. But, uh,” He smirked as he looked at the teachers behind him, “Don’t let their looks intimidate you. Each one loves their job teaching. Even if you are not majoring in their field, they will be more than happy to teach you.” Galahad couldn’t tell if he was serious or not, but most of the headmasters smirked or smiled at his little joke. The young man continued, “If any of you has any problems during your stay with us, please come and see me, I will do my best to help anyone I can,” Sean then pulled a single note card from his pocket and glanced at it, “That covers anything important. We will now go to the all important meet and greet phase of this orientation. Stay a while and chat if you can, if you are exhausted from your travels, please feel free to retire to the Seeker’s house as your rooms have already been prepared there. Please, enjoy your time here at Fairgarland academy!” Galahad waited for a moment as his fellow new students started to chat with the house councils. He was about to turn and step out of the building to finally get some sleep but he found his hand being grabbed and forced into a firm handshake, “You look a lot more bright eyed than most of the new students here,” The man had a smile on his handsome, clean shaven face. “You’re just saying that because they’re orange, hm?” Galahad retorted, “Galahad Loxley.” “Harold Garnalga Babarry,” He proudly introduced as he finally released Galahad’s hand, “Crown prince of the kingdom of Babarry and president of house Fritz’Eleo. You don’t seem to be high born but you have the confidence of one. From where do you hail, sir?” “Ah… out west. In the mountains,” Galahad replied. “Out west? That does not narrow it down much,” The prince folded his arms, “But I suppose you aren’t of royal blood if you have no pride in your home. What are you studying?” “I’m thinking about transmutation. Metallurgy, specifically, I think,” Galahad explained as he folded his arms back, not looking to deal with a spoiled prince. “What words just graced my ears!?” A man’s voice cried before a form pushed through the crowd. “You have done it now, Galahad,” The prince scoffed. “Was it you?” The golden masked man demanded, nearly grabbing Galahad by the shoulders, “Are you the one interested in metallurgy?” The man glanced at the prince and nodded, “Yeah. I am interested in it.” “Oh, most joyous day!” The golden man put forward a golden gauntleted hand, “Fredrik Alistair Geoffrey, councilman in the house of Karak-Albrac, at your service my kindred scholar of the arts!” Galahad took his hand, “Galahad Loxley,” He shook the man’s metallic hand firmly. “Good, good. Come, you should meet our other council members, especially our president,” He instructed before leading him to the corner where the rest of the transmutation house sat. The mono-eye was the first to spot the pair, “Looks like Fredrik found a friend,” He noted and chuckled in a deep voice. “My fellow council members, allow me to introduce the illustrious Galahad Loxley,” He gestured to the man that had followed him. Galahad nervously scanned the rest of the transmutation house as each of the four eyed him up and down, sizing him up, “Aye, he’ll do,” The dwarf decided before relaxing in his chair. “He looks a bit more capable than the other three we talked to,” The gnome giggled, “I’m Suzie Bottomhill. Nice to meet ya.” “Todd,” The mono-eye pointed to himself as his one big, black eye blinked slowly. “Holmit Drak-hide,” The dwarf grumbled. “You wish to learn our craft?” The last of the transmutation house asked with a serene and gentle voice. The fey woman with blue skin’s eyes were still transfixed on Galahad, “I am the president of house Karak-Albrac. If you are new to transmutation, you will be studying under me, most likely,” Her face stared with an almost bored expression. Galahad had no earthly idea if she was displeased with him, “Do you plan on applying to our house?” “I would like to eventually. If you’d have me, of course,” He meekly replied, “I intend to prove myself before you induct me.” “Good. I am glad we have the same expectations, Galahad,” The witch coldly remarked. One hand, also of a blue color, was extended from underneath her fluffy cloak. “I’m not sure if I’m supposed to shake or kiss your hand,” Galahad joked as he reached to take her hand. The fey woman did not seem to be amused. He got nudged out of the way as Harold took the woman’s hand and kissed the back of it, “My sweet, is this man bothering you?” The prince asked. The fey woman’s face was still blank, “I am not your sweet nor was he bothering me. You are the one currently bothering me.” “As hard to get as ever,” Harold sighed, “So be it. You only redouble my efforts with your playful coldness. I must be off to chat with the other new students,” He bowed and took his leave. As soon as he was out of earshot, Suzie whistled, “Sheesh, as bold as ever. What a creep.” “I don’t like him much,” Todd nodded slowly, “You should have transmuted his mouth shut.” “No. We cannot afford to attain his house’s ire. Galahad, it was a pleasure meeting you,” The woman blinked slowly at him. “Pardon me for asking, but what’s your name? You never had the chance to tell me,” Galahad quickly reminded her. “You may refer to me by my title, ‘The Multifold Manus of Alderia.’ Make a nickname for me as you please. The others have,” She stated. Galahad quickly deduced she must be some kind of fey if she’s giving out titles rather than names. “I call her Manus,” Suzie offered. “Miss President is sufficient for me,” Fredrik added. “Miss Manus. If that is alright,” Galahad stated. The fey woman nodded and the man sighed with relief, “It was nice meeting all of you, but to be honest I’ve had a very long day. I think I'll retire early. I need to prepare for classes in a few short days.” “Would you like me to take you there?” Fredrik offered eagerly. Galahad shook his head, “No, it's okay. I’m sure you’re really busy.” “As you wish. I hope to see you again soon. I would love to speak to you more, my friend,” He gave a little nod, silently bidding Galahad farewell who then made his way to the exit, “He seems like a good lad.” “Better than some of the others we have to suffer,” Holmit glanced toward the evocation class. “Politeness alone will get him nowhere,” Suzie reminded them, “I expect the rest of you to not let personality alone sway your judgment when he does apply. If he applies. Think he has potential, Manus?” “I cannot say,” She coldly replied, “Without first seeing him cast a few spells, at least. He is in one of my classes I am teaching. I will judge him there. Go mingle, perhaps others have interest in our magic.”