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Saturday, September 16, 2017
Notes: Story Two

Where is the tension for Alestra's story?

15-20 years has passed since Story One

Possibilities:
* NE intends on eliminating magic--or controlling it all--by eliminating the University
* He decides to kill all the mages in his country
* He begins a genocide--and the other countries stand by and let him.
* He declares war--the other countries are split between alliances
* Other countries invade his

The problem with the NE is that he is tortured, handsome, sensitive, sweet--but strong as steel.

Who from Story One would be in Story Two?

- James and Colin would be busy at the palace, but would be useful for political intrigue needs. The reason that the Emperor visits is to arrange a marriage between his sister and James. They would be similar ages, after all.
- Henry would be 28-30 years old. Very handsome, very accomplished. He could serve as Alestra's mentor
- Ian would obviously still be in his home country. 37-42 years old
- Bryce would be 39-44 years old, living on his farm to predict the weather and crop trends

Posted at 01:15 am by Manda
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Friday, September 15, 2017
Overview: Story One

I think the story is one of Pride. For Isadora, Ian, and Alestra, each finds their downfall as pride. Isadora thinks her power is enough to shape the future, and does not account for the consequences. Ian thinks so highly of his talent that he puts himself and others at terrible risk. Alestra believes she deserves greatness, thinking that she is special and destined. Plague

So, Ian gets a letter that his family is dying, Joseph is sick, and Ian is needed. Ian decides to perform a risky spell to get to his home country in time to save everyone.

Because the spell uses so much energy, Ian has to connect to the main powerlines in the capital. The focal point for the power is the Emperor, so Ian shows up in front of the Emperor, who is amazed by Ian's talent.

Our beloved cast:

Dorian "Ian"
Joseph
Henry
Byron
Colin
James
Ian's older brother (formerly names Jaime)
Old Emperor
Old Mage
Princess Bryn
Jacob
Markell/Markin/Marid, etc. (New Emperor)



Once Ian is bound to the New Emperor, NE uses Ian's superior power to murder the Old Emperor. By that point, the reader should see NE, and really, anyone evil in the story as sympathetic.

Ian is surprised to see Joseph at Court, because he did not know that Joseph was getting married. Joseph had not mentioned in the few letters he had sent Ian. Ian as still under the impression (or hope) that he would solve Isadora's Spell and come back to Joseph. He had hoped that Joseph would stand up to his father, Jacob. Unfortunately, Ian underestimated Joseph's pride, greed, and desire to be his father's heir. As a result, Ian feels betrayed and is not eager to cooperate with Joseph. It hurts him that Joseph never believed in Ian's plans, talent, or ingenuity.

Meanwhile, Joseph has long since made peace with the fact that he's lost Ian. Joseph knew that it was in Ian's best interest to move to Renal and stay there. They couldn't be together because it wouldn't be fair or safe for Ian.
So, Ian shows up at the OE's feet, and the OE is intrigued. Joseph, however, is horrified. This is the very thing he had always feared. He knows his friend's talent, and understands the OE's greed. Ian tells Joseph about the letter, and Joseph is shocked as he hadn't heard about the plague. Jacob had been keeping the truth of it from him, so that Joseph would concentrate on courting Bryn.
Who sends the letter?
Not:
Ian's mother (she wouldn't risk her investment or son)
Joseph (He loved Ian to much to risk him)
NE (He wouldn't have known Ian, and he wouldn't have risked such a powerful mage falling into the hands of the OE)

Possibly:
Old Mage (Likely, if only to free himself)
Joseph's father (as part of his plotting)
Ian's brother (to save himself)

Maybe Ian's brother met NE and realized what he was getting into and was desperate to escape.

So Joseph and Ian travel to their home state to solve the plague. Along the way they have some tense conversations, and struggle to get along until they encounter something that brings them together. Bandits, barfight, fishing, race, whatever. The night would end with them laughing, falling together, kissing. Waking up is bittersweet. On one hand, they are happy together. On the other hand, they know they have to face the world and can't remain together.

Arriving home
While the country is lush and beautiful as always, there are significant fires; funeral fires, from the plague and crop blight.

Joseph has to deal with his father, who is furious his son as come home, especially when he sees Ian by his side.

The boys begin their investigation into controlling the plague. It's unusual in that it affects the magical, since normally magical people don't get sick. (With the exception of women who have had their protection drained)

Ian visits his family at home. Ian's mother is also not pleased to see him. She did not want him taken by the Emperor because she counted on him being the income earner for the family by staying in Renal and sending home funds. She purposely had sacrificed her eldest son, Ian's older brother, because as her least talented child, Ian would earn more abroad. Also, families are compensated for the greatest amount when providing an heir to the throne. Still, the amount provided for an heir is less than what Ian would earn his family abroad. The social capital earned in court, though, for sacrificing an heir, would be significant.

His mom urges him to return to the University, reminding him that with the death of his brother he is heir, and the only magic user left in the family that is of age. He would be the natural choice as replacement for the Emperor. After all, his older brother was going to be bound to the NE soon, and none of the other boys in family have graduated the university yet and none have Ian's talent--which he just flaunted at Court. Ian's youngest male cousin have succumbed to the plague, or are dying.

Ian refuses to leave. Why?

* Wants to discover what is happening to his family and home state. Does not trust his family, and feels responsible for his magical family and the remaining children. Ian's family has essentially supported itself for centuries by selling their children. Ian feels conflicted about this, as both supporting it as his duty but all feeling disgusted by it.

* He wants to win back Joseph.

* He worries he may transmit the plague to Renal, as they do not yet know how it spreads. He feels he can not risk leaving until a cure is found.

* He wants a chance to examine Isadora's spell up close, and to do that he needs to get close to the OE. He is so prideful that he believes even if he is bound, he will be able to break free.

Ian discovers that the plague originate out of the ley lines, killing mages first (especially if they are weak) and then is transmitted to the non-magical through the plague mutating through incubating in drained girls, who are formerly magical.

Ian and Joseph start mapping the incidents of illness. Joseph uses his contacts at the military as well as his court contacts that he has established while working at the foreign liaison office. They find two incidents in their home state between the Capital and their hometown, but there were isolated incidents outside the area that was primarily affected. Their main clue come from Ian's mother. Speaking about a visit from the Emperor's Mage, who came to monitor a meeting between the heir, NE, and Ian's older brother. Something about the timing clicks in Ian's mind and he realizes that the plague corresponds to the OEM's journey.

Why did the Old Emperor Mage wanted to create the plague?
* Didn't want the NE to have protection from another mage. Once Isadora's spell recognized the NE, the NE would no longer be able to be controlled. The OE was in denial about how rebellious the NE was
* Ian's older brother was uncooperative, overly concerned with doing the right thing

Now understanding where the plague comes from, Ian and Joseph begin to figure out a plan of action. Ian prepares spells to counteract the plague. While Joseph believes it's a bad idea for Ian to confront the Old Emperor Mage, Ian is prideful and overly confident. He has, after all, always been assured of his genius and talent at the University. What he doesn't realize is that mages in his home country live under very different circumstances, and that Isadora's spell provides powers that are labeled as myth by the University. Power levels are substantially changed when connecting directly to the ley lines, and Magic follows different rules.

In Ian's defense, he never encountered an Emperor Mage directly before, and many of the tenets of Isadora's Spell are unknown by everyone except those trained into the position. Additionally, those tenets that are known are considered fairy tale by most mage scholars because they seem impossible. When Ian arrived at the University all those years ago, he had asked his professors about how to accomplish the legendary tasks that are beloved stories back home, only to be told they were make-believe. While he went in feeling that they were of course true--after all, he had seen so many products of the spells (amazing monuments, etc.) after time studying magic he began to explain them away and take his professors' understanding as fact. By the time Ian is thinking about taking the OEM on, he has no real idea of what he's going against. which is saying something because he is still considered for foremost authority on Isadora's spell.

A few quick Notes:
White Reflects
Black Absorbs
Power (Ley) lines exist underground
Ian's home country culture is based off Indian/Native/Latino Culture
The University is Southern European/African
Joseph's culture is Eastern European
Colin's culture is Japanese/Polynesian

Posted at 06:46 pm by Manda
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Proverbs: Current Inspiration

1 Man may make plans in his heart, but what the tongue utters is from the LORD.

2

All the ways of a man may be pure in his own eyes, but it is the LORD who proves the spirit.

3

Entrust your works to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.

4

2 The LORD has made everything for his own ends, even the wicked for the evil day.

5

Every proud man is an abomination to the LORD; I assure you that he will not go unpunished.

6

By kindness and piety guilt is expiated, and by the fear of the LORD man avoids evil.

7

When the LORD is pleased with a man's ways, he makes even his enemies be at peace with him.

8

Better a little with virtue, than a large income with injustice.

9

In his mind a man plans his course, but the LORD directs his steps.

10

3 The king's lips are an oracle; no judgment he pronounces is false.

11

Balance and scales belong to the LORD; all the weights used with them are his concern.

12

Kings have a horror of wrongdoing, for by righteousness the throne endures.

13

The king takes delight in honest lips, and the man who speaks what is right he loves.

14

The king's wrath is like messengers of death, but a wise man can pacify it.

15

In the light of the king's countenance is life, and his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.

16

How much better to acquire wisdom than gold! To acquire understanding is more desirable than silver.

17

The path of the upright avoids misfortune; he who pays attention to his way safeguards his life.

18

Pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

19

It is better to be humble with the meek than to share plunder with the proud.

20

He who plans a thing will be successful; happy is he who trusts in the LORD!

21

The wise man is esteemed for his discernment, yet pleasing speech increases his persuasiveness.

22

Good sense is a fountain of life to its possessor, but folly brings chastisement on fools.

23

The mind of the wise man makes him eloquent, and augments the persuasiveness of his lips.

24

Pleasing words are a honeycomb, sweet to the taste and healthful to the body.

25

Sometimes a way seems right to a man, but the end of it leads to death!

26

The laborer's appetite labors for him, for his mouth urges him on.

27

A scoundrel is a furnace of evil, and on his lips there is a scorching fire.

28

An intriguer sows discord, and a talebearer separates bosom friends.

29

A lawless man allures his neighbor, and leads him into a way that is not good.

30

He who winks his eye is plotting trickery; he who compresses his lips has mischief ready.

31

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by virtuous living.

32

A patient man is better than a warrior, and he who rules his temper, than he who takes a city.

33

4 When the lot is cast into the lap, its decision depends entirely on the LORD.



Posted at 06:12 pm by Manda
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Thursday, August 24, 2017
Alestra Overview

Her grandfather was a traitor, her mother was sister to the Emperor, her father was innocent, her uncle was in on it with her paternal grandfather. The Emperor ordered all of the traitor's family to be executed, except for his favorite sister, who denounced her husband out of disgust. Of someone is about to be executed, another member of the court may apply to be executed in their stead, as long as they are of blood. the person who is saved is then cast out of court, and no member of court may save them.

Alestra is six or eight when all this occurs. After watching her uncle and grandfather die, she decides to die in place of her father. The Emperor accepts this, and Alestra is led to the blocks while her father and mother watch. She keeps her eyes open to the very end, gazing out to the palace gardens and the crowds of the city that have gathered to watch. As the executioners blade swings, the Emperor suddenly call halt. Alestra never flinches, and the executioner freezes and pulls back wildly. It's a little too late int hat her throat is cut slightly on the left side. Because she did not cower away in fear, she solidified the Emperor's decision to spare her life and release both her and father across the border.

Her father adores her, especially since he feels she proved her lvoe for him in submitting her own life for his. Ian, the Emperor's Mage and Alestra's father's good friend, is placed in charge of escorting them to the border. Once again, the Emperor changes his mind, but by then they are safely across.

While they travel through the desert, Alestra maneuvers them through several more bad situations, bring him to prize her for her cleverness. She does at times remind him of his traitorous wife, and when he is drunk, he loses his temper at her. For the most part, though, they have a happy life. Her father is a good businessman, so he makes himself a decent living trading on family connections in the merchant world and relying on those that are horrified by the Emperor's actions. He does bring his daughter along on his many adventures and trading trips for years. While she seems to act as a good luck charm, when she is twelve one of her father's workers abuses her. Her father concludes that it would be best for her to stay safe at his headquarters.

He marries an innkeeper woman who runs a reputable inn and has been assisting with his paperwork out of his clearinghouse. The woman has several children of her own, all who work as staff in the inn or as part of his business. Alestra is put to odd jobs around the inn, from tailoring customers' clothes to working as a scullery maid in the kitchen, to doing laundry and scrubbing down the rooms after customers leave.

After a little more than a year, Alestra's been working hard, but has figured out hwo to use her budding sexuality to gain favors from men, both customers and her step-brothers. When a performance troupe comes to stay at the inn (they are considered reputable as they will be performing for both the University and Palace) Alestra's delighted and quits most of her chores to spend time with them. A young wizard, a seer, takes a definite interest in her and they spend most of the summer adventuring around the city together. She attends their performances at the palace and university, and several private performances as well.

She is extremely interested in the dancers and singers. Alestra had always been fond of singing, but hid it from her father because her mother had been an accomplished singer who often performed at court. Now, she as she goes about the few chores she still does, she sings and dances. When her stepmother catches her sons watching Alestra dance (there is some confusion as to whether or not Alestra knew she was being watched) she decides that Alestra is not meant to stay at the inn.

The stepmother's oldest friend is the famous Madame Orchid of the Golden Palace, which is the best-known and largest pleasure house in the city. IT is first and foremost a theatre, with many girls who sing and dance and put on elaborate productions. Not all the girls are whores, and even those that are have independance and money, which is more than most women get, even if they don't always have respect. The innkeeper is a practical woman and she is trying to do best by Alestra. As such, Alestra's stepmother decides to sent Alestra to Madame Orchid before Alestra becomes a problem in her house. At this same time her friend from the troupe is traded away to the university, spoiling the end of the summer rather abruptly. Entering the Golden Palace is the end of the old Alestra and her childhood, and an acknowledgement that her childhood is over and she will never be a princess again.

While Alestra is very excited about the thought of singing, and dancing for her living, and no loner having to work hard labor at the inn, she is also worried about disgracing her noble birth. She stops worrying when she finds out her mother has re-married and has children. So she goes to audition for Madame Orchid. The same quality that has allowed her to talk her way out of so many difficult situations before, that made her a "good luck" charm and generally led to her getting her way is what wins the audition for her. Madame Orchid is enthralled, and sees the potential in the strange charisma that she seems to exude. Alestra's stepmother is trilled that Madame Orchid is taking Alestra away, especially since Alestra's father has gone missing. Alestra will be cared for at the Palace, and her pay will be going towards the Inn for financing the audition and her spot in the Golden Palace. Alestra is extraordinarily manipulative at the Golden Palace, but also wins many friends. Her first performance wins her a base of customers.

The Golden Palace is a place of pleasure for anyone with money. Many of the nobles visit it, as well as wealthy merchants and wizards. Alestra's father is very surprised when he visits and sees his daughter as an opening act, at the young age of fourteen. After the initial argument, though, he concedes to his wife and daughter, and Alestra continues her training. After another year of training, the young seer who she befriended two summers before greets her. He says that he is now attending the mages' school and is part of the Fraternity of Mages. He says that the reason he had been so interested in her before was because her aura had been so strange. Now, as a student, he could tell her why that was. Having studied for sometime he now recognizes her aura as that of a mind manipulator.

She retorts that he was interested in her for the same reason ever man is, and there's no need to hid behind ridiculous excuses, and that it sounds like his time in the university has just made him boring.

He tells her that the Fraternity has noticed her power, which has been growing in leaps and bounds of late as she exercised her power over larger groups of people. As a rule, no mage may exist outside the Fraternity. While not all mages must live at the University, they can not move unless they have graduated with a diploma from the University. So this young seer has been dispatched by the Fraternity to bring Alestra to the University to be controlled.

She refuses to come along, and mocks him for leaving the troupe. She says she will now desert her freedom and dreams the way he did. He tells her he is happy with the Fraternity. He was caught when the Dean of the University watched him and detected the young man's skill with magic. While the young man was reluctant to join, he had no choice when the troup sold his work bid to the University. The troupe loved him like family, and they honestly thought that it would be be best choice for his future. For a while, he sulked around campus and refused to attend lessons. However, you are only allowed to leave campus once you have graduated; until then, the university effectively owns you, so he would have been trapped there for the rest of his life (public safety is the reason why). When he finds out the University has brought a Master Seer from a neighboring country to teach him, though, he is intrigued. (Another idea, Bryon is brought out of retirement). The Master Seer soon becomes his mentor and the young wizard soon develops power he never new he was capable of. He tell Alestra that now he attends all his lessons, although he is only mediocre at best in anything that does not relate to his field of study. He says that the best thing for her to do is to come to the University with him.

Alestra tells herself that she didn't survive so long by being a fool. She scorns him, telling him that his story will never be her own. She news that he is most likely the son of some nobleman, since all wizards are descendant from noble famililes, and so he would still be respected by his peers and maybe even lauded for daring to runaway and lead such an adventurous life.

But Alestra is a girl, and no girl has ever been allowed to use or learn magic (I'm thinking of changing this tenet of the story, more to follow) and none has ever joined the Fraternity. Noble girls are often born with magiv, but it is capped and drained from them when they are young. Most magic is showing enough that it is detected and tested for and most girls are indetified by three or four.

Alestra's magic is too quiet for anything to be detected by non-wizards, so she was never tested, which is why it is now growing and she is able to do powerful magic. When magic is detected in young girls, first a "plug" of sorts is put on the girl and then the remaining magic is drained out. A side-effect of draining is that the girls become more docile and agreeable. Magic is believed to make girls difficult and unruly, so most families are happy to cap their girls.

Alestra believes that if she goes to the University, she will not be taught, but instead will be capped and drained, destroying her ability to entertain at Madame Orchid's. Alestra's personality is what she trades on. By being strong and aggressive, she has survived, and would rather these qualities not be sucked out of her.

The young seer is quick to assure her that it would be impossible to cap her power at the level of intensity it has grown to. None of the mages would have the power or skill to cap her powers without damaging her mind, because of the nature of her power. It is against the Fraternity's code to destroy another's magic at the cost of their well-being. Another obstacle in the Fraternity's way to cap her powers is that she is of royal blood, and a direct relative to the Emperor. Despite her disgraced past, there is a complicated history between the Emperor's country and mages, and the Fraternity does not want to further complicate relations .

Alestra absorbs all this information with indifference, figuring that this just means that they will find a different way to imprison her. She imagines they will keep her as a maid or cook or servant of some type. She does not like this idea at all, because she came to Madame Orchid's to escape the chores at the inn. The young seer doesn't think that will happen either, though, because of her royal blood and the scandal it would cause. Alestra points out it's more of a scandal for her to work in a whore house, and that she's not interested in becoming an unpaid concubine at the Fraternity. They can pay to see her at the Golden Palace like everyone else.

When she questions him as to what would be her fate at the University, he does not have a strong answer and seems unwilling to directly answer the question. When she finally drags some truth out of him, he says that she would likely reside at the University until she agreed to marry one of the mages. It would be a politically expedient way of handling this. The more they discuss this, the angrier she becomes until she absolutely refuses to go and calls a guard to escort the young seer out. He leaves.

A few days later, though, a troop of mages visits Madame Orchid. They explain the situation and Alestra is given up to them. Alestra is very upset at the whole mess, and gives everyone at the Golden Palace a splitting headache, until one of girls manages to sneak up on her and knock her out. When she wakes up, she is alone in a room with no doors and no windows, but is brightly lit despite no discernible light source. She knows she is truly alone because she can sense no other minds, for the first time ever, not even other living things. She is in there for a while, and she has no concept of passing time. When she starts to get hungry, she just tricks herself into thinking she's eaten. When she done this enough times to lose count, she starts to lose control. Also, it's getting harder to ignore her hunger. Slowly, she starts to seemingly imagine a presence of other minds brushing across hers. As she grows weaker, the stronger the presences become, until finally the last of her magic is drained away, and the white walls that surround her break and crumble away leaving her in peaceful black, like sleep.

When she wakes up with dry lips and a splitting headache, she is lying in a large, soft bed. Her vision is blurry at first, and is slow to clear. A woman is in the room with her, and after getting Alestra a drink of water, bustles out of the room, leaving Alestra alone and confused. Finally the Headmaster comes in and explains to her the situation. When the mages had come to get her and she was knocked out, she had retreated so far into her own mind that no one else could wake her. Mind mages are rare, and it would have required one to get past the defensive walls she put up. She could only stay in a coma so long, though, before she began to starve, leading to her capitulation.

*

Alestra rolled her eyes. "Of course, I'm not thrilled. I'm Selyan. Do you know what they do to Selyan mages? The ones educated at the University?"

He shrugged. "There are no Selyan mages at the University."

"Exactly."

"Oh stop being so dramatic."

"It's hardly dramatic if it's a statement of fact." But she could tell she was already being ignored, written off as a hysterical female, with unreasonable fears, incapable of being logical about the whole mess. Which was ridiculous, she had been in their disordered minds, with thoughts leaking all over the damn place. They had no room to talk, with their biases echoing through their skulls.

This line of thought was going no where.

"Why do I have to stay here anyway? I've done fine all this time. Managed fine. Why do you want me here? If you're so desperate for my company, you can pay anytime at the Golden Palace."

"Well, as tantalizing as that offer is, I'm afraid there is no point. The Golden Palace has nullified your contract."

"What."

He'd thought she'd be upset but was not prepared to be engulfed in searing white. It was everything, his vision, the burn in his bones so hot for a moment that he thought it was ice. But then it was gone, and how could it be gone when that was all he had ever known, all he had ever been--but no that wasn't true, there was--and then it was like everything had been tilted and now had been picked up by some giant outside of reality and set right way up again.

He heard a sob, and saw Alestra had turned to face the wall. Because that was her name, he had been speaking with her and then she had erased his world like it had never existed and made his universe her rage.

And that was very interesting.
Also terrifying.

He took a deep breath and put him mental shields, and reached out to the girl, placing his hand on her shoulder and firmly turning her to face him. Her rage was focused this time; it cracked out like a whip intent on breaking across him, a desire to bite hard into him, cause him pain, break him. Her intent felt physical, but it reached his shield and was instantly shattered, skittering sparks dying as they dispersed.

"That is exactly why you need to join the University. that behavior is absolutely unacceptable. What you just tried to do--and what you did do back at the Golden Palace--can not be allowed."

Alestra groaned. "You're ruining everything! I had a life, a home! I was happy!"

"Ruined your life? So sorry you can't be a whore anymore, Alestra! So sorry we're accepting you without any testing, into one of the most prestigious school in the world. I can't believe Ian threw away his opportunity to escape that godforsaken land to save a half-grown girl who just wants to fuck old men until she's too used up for anyone to want her."

"First of all, I don't owe that man anything, least of all my life. He had a moment of remorse, out of love for my father. Saving me was convenient by-product, and it does not forgive, DOES NOT FORGIVE, the murder of my ENTIRE FAMILY."

"I can not be expected to work with you while you are hysterical," he said and breathed deep, strengthening his mental shields again in preparation for her onslaught, even as he strode purposefully towards the door.

Posted at 06:49 pm by Manda
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Monday, February 06, 2017
Notes

Colin like Wornilde--so their house is down in that style, because James payed for everything.
*
Earlier that day...
(from Byron's perspective)
Byron fished his favorite scrying crystal out of his pocket. he like to save it for when he was working with his friends, or on small personal projects. It was small and multifaceted, a sphere that fit neatly into the hollow of his palm. It was a gift from a past lover, and was ideal for small, quick scrys.
*

Byron shrugged. "I don't know really. I rarely dream true, though. It's not my thing, you know that." Ian hummed his agreement. He had always been grateful that his friend was not a dream-seer. Those types of seers did keep their sanity longer than most prophets, but they were still doomed. Byron was a far-seer, but to everyone's great relief, he had only demonstrated a talent for the past and present, never the mind-cracking future.
*
Henry and Colin hurried down the hallway in the opposite direction Ian had left. Henry didn't even come up to Colin's shoulder, a fact that he found irritating once he had noticed it.

Henry picked up his pace to keep up with Colin's long strides. They walked in companionable silence to Henry's dormitory that he shared with the the other students his age. Henry did not know Colin particularly well; they had met over this project, but he did know him better than Byron.

Posted at 10:06 pm by Manda
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Saturday, February 04, 2017
Byron walks Ian home

Byron opened his eyes only to roll them and give a small huff of exasperation. "It's James."

Ian put his hands to his face and rubbed. "I am not looking forward to dealing with him. And you know he's going to be upset when he realizes Colin is dropping Henry off. Well," grumbled Ian, "We may as well go greet the tyrant."

Byron rolled his eyes again. "You know James would be a lot nicer to you if you weren't always encouraging Colin to be insubordinate to him."

Ian frowned. "A person can only be insubordinate to a superior, not a lover."

"Well, James is both," countered Byron with a shrug.

"You are only ok with it because you're from this damn country. Otherwise you'd not be so accepting."

The old argument on how Ian should treat James was one that Byron knew he would not win.

Ian wasn't foolish enough to believe that his friendship with Colin could somehow outweigh the unique bond Colin had with James. Ian new that James was far more to Colin than he could ever be: nursed at the same breast, childhood playmates, educated and raised together; friends, lovers, and someday king and advisor. Ian could not compete with the level of devotion James inspired in Colin. But still, it was annoying to know that his friendship with Colin was a clear second-place. "I just don't like the way James treats him. Directing him about as if he's still a palace servant and not the free mage he is."

"Colin doesn't seem to mind it," answered Byron, even as he knew his input would not sway Ian.

Ian shrugged. "Colin doesn't see how it could be any different. James has literally be running his life since birth."

Byron nodded, not really accepting Ian's point, but just acknowledging the pattern of their worn-out argument. And despite what Ian said, Colin was his happiest when he was with James. Those two had a destiny that was fitted together in a way that many don't get the chance to experience.

They wandered up the stone path to their cozy, if somewhat strange-looking, cottage.

On either side of the path were lush overgrown herb gardens that the three graduates paid a low level student botanist to maintain. During the summer the fragrance was overpowering, but summer was fading and in the crisp air the scent was light and pleasant. The lamps that framed the doorway were already lit, probably by whatever servant James had bullied into letting him into their home.

Byron reached the door first and rushed in, attempting to beat Ian to James. Ian barreled into Byron's back, causing Byron to misstep, but the green-eyeed seer held his ground and gripped the door frame to block Ian from entering. "James," he said, warmth suffusing his voice.

James was lounging in one of the overstuffed armchairs near the lit fireplace. The Prince of Ardal was sprawled out, one leg draped over the arm of the chair and the other extended in front of him as he slouched. As always, Byron took a moment to revel in the fact that the prince of the realm was his house guest, and the moment more to appreciate James' beauty. Honey-blond hair just short of falling in his crystal blue eyes, lighter and brighter than Colin's deep blue. His lips were thin, but still formed an attractive pout. Like Colin, the stresses of his position had prematurely aged him, forming lines on his forehead and around his mouth. Deep set eyes and defined cheekbones gave the impression that the prince was thinly built, but Byron knew better. Having often seen the prince lounging around the house half-naked after spending a loud night with Colin, it was easy to recall the hard planes of muscle and taut skin that laid beneath the blue silk tunic James wore now.

Byron smiled at James, stopping just short of leering. He enjoyed making James a bit uncomfortable, and bodies as fit as James' were not common at the University.

James sat up and frowned. "Where's Colin?"

Ian rolled his eyes and finally succeeded in pushing past Byron. "Nice to see you too, James. Please, come in, make yourself at home." He paused in the entry way and braced himself with one hand against Bryon as he balanced on one foot and bent to pull off his shoes.



James shrugged. "You do remember that I paid for this house? Oh and that I literally own this entire country."

"Yes, you're not a power-mad prat at all; I'm sure you'll rule with wisdom and humility."

"The first point of order for my reign will be expelling snide foreigners who still haven't learned to respect their betters.'

"Its so hard to learn when there no visible examples."

"WELL!" interrupted Bryon. "As fun as this is, Ian has had a very long day and needs to go to bed. He's obviously very grouchy and needs to rinse out his mouth, besides. Shoo, Ian."

Ian grumbled and stalked down the hall.

Posted at 01:41 am by Manda
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Colin walks Henry home

There were a few students lounging on the grass in groups. Some sat together in darkness, talking in low voices; other sat with conjured lights illuminating the small circles they gathered in, music and laughter drifting towards their group of three

"It's past curfew for me," mutter Henry, reluctant to draw attention to his age, but knowing there was no helping it. "I'll need someone to sign me in at the Dormitory."

Bryce still had a supportive arm around Ian. Colin nodded, "I'll go with him." Colin and Henry turned off the path, cutting across the grass to the dormitories.

Colin and Henry walked together in easy silence, fireflies dancing across their path as sky darkened to a deep blue and the starlight filtered down, dimly illuminating their path. They arrived at the mid-level student dormitories after a few minutes.

They arrived at a free standing stone arch that their path passed through. The arch was just deep enough that it allowed for a shelf inside it, on which there was a book, quill and ink. Colin opened up, scratched his name, Colin's, and a flimsy excuse. Clapping Henry on the shoulder, he wished him goodnight and let Henry step through the arch to the other side.

Once out, Henry paused and turned back to Colin. "I've never seen a graduate like that. Lose control, I mean."

Colin frowned. Sometimes he forgot how young Henry was. He hurried to reassure the boy. "Ian will be fine. Just a spot of bad news from his family."

Henry nodded, his lips still pressed tight together and a crease between his brows.

Colin stepped toward Henry and felt an unpleasant buzz along his circulatory system as the invisible wall of magic that protected the children's dormitories refused him entry. He stepped back and shrugged. "Look, why don't you come by tomorrow? We have a few people coming over to work on some equations, and Bryon is in charge of breakfast. I'm sure Ian would like having you there."

Henry's brown unknitted to raise his eyebrows. "Tomorrow? I thought you all would be sleeping in. Or you would be going to see James," he added as an afterthought.

"Nah. We're too close to a breakthrough. I can see James the day after. Oh, be prepared to show your new stuff on the physical makeup of the spell."

Posted at 12:15 am by Manda
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Armando Tipton, University Concierge

This Man can handle any crisis. Cool and always in control, he is practiced at handling both magical and non magical situations, despite his lack of formal education. If you need something done, Armando is your man, for the right price. He is cultivated and arrogant, but that is mostly a defense mechanism among men who are brilliant and powerful.

Posted at 12:06 am by Manda
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Gordon Leether, Dean of Non-Mage Studies

The Dean of Non-Magical Studies, he is a brilliant man who has mostly arrived at his position due to his accomplishments and respect of his peers. e would rather be locked away doing research instead of making decisions. He also feels incredibly useless compared to Malcolm, especially since Malcolm has been doing this job for 200 years longer than Gordon. HE can be lighthearted, fun and even lovable.

Posted at 12:02 am by Manda
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Friday, February 03, 2017
Lewis Pierce, High Mage

The middle-aged High Mage, head of the Fraternity of Mages. Very organized, very traditional, he's good at getting along with the nobility. He is excellent at fundraising for the University's various causes, but is often frustrated by students, and is of the opinion that the University would be perfect without them.

Posted at 11:59 pm by Manda
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