Chapter 1: The More Things Stay The SameAlexandra Erin on April 4, 2011 in Volume 2: Sophomore Effort
Timeline: 9/17/223, afternoon, Astera, Friday, Year 223 M.E.
In Which The More Things Change…
Even though a whole year had passed since the first weekend at Magisterius University, some of my sharpest, clearest memories of my time at MU are of that weekend. The whole weekend was made up of firsts: the first time I set foot on campus, the first time I met Amaranth, who became my first lover… and the first time I met Puddy, who became my first abuser outside of my family.
The more time I spent in the hallways and classrooms of the university, in my dorm room or the lounges and bathrooms of Harlowe Hall, the less each additional moment mattered. The less impact it had.
Some of my worst memories were of that first weekend, too. Plopped down in the midst of all that mind-searing newness was me, fresh off the coach from a small town in Blackwater Province and with nine years of some really pretty terrible social conditioning to overcome. I’d been so eager to prove myself to others and so unwilling to have my worth proven to myself. I’d been awkward in every sense of the word, socially backwards and clumsy. I’d been easy prey for others.
That last part at least was a lot less true by the start of my second year.
I’d shown up at MU for the first time determined that everything would be different for me there. It had been, of course. But lacking any sort of prior experience or frame of reference or plan, “different” hadn’t necessarily equaled “better”.
At the risk of history repeating itself, I was determined at the start of my second year that things really would be different. At that point, though, this was more of an observation than an overly-optimistic determination.
Things already were different. I knew where things were on campus and how they worked. I had a better handle on who I was and what I was capable of. I had friends and lovers. Since I’d spent the summer session at MU, I had spent more time on campus than the incoming freshmen and most of the returning sophomores… half of the undergraduate student body. It’s such a little thing to count as a confidence booster, but when your confidence needs boosting you’re willing to settle for little things.
Also, some of the little things are huge.
Having just one person you know with you can be a little thing. I mean, I’d never been the sort of person to feel lonely or need other people around me constantly, after all. I guess I’d missed my friends while they were away for the summer, but I’m not sure that I had missed them in the same way that they’d missed me. There were nights where I woke up horny and there were times when I positively ached for Amaranth, but all in all… well, I’d never found myself bored and wanting company. When I was bored I’d gone over to the library, or wasted time on the ethernet. I’d had what you might call a lonely childhood, but a side effect of that was that I’d never acquired the habit of other people.
Still, having someone to hang out with and talk to and just be with made a huge difference when dealing with something huge and new.
My girlfriend Amaranth wasn’t due to arrive for another day. She and her fellow cereal nymph had agreed to take separate coaches from their home in Paradise Valley, and Barley had taken the first one. My boyfriend Ian was traveling from farther away and wouldn’t arrive until nightfall. Steff, my other girlfriend, had flown in the day before. She’d spent the night getting settled in with Viktor in their new dorm room on the third floor of Harlowe Hall, the designated non-human dorm, but she was spending the afternoon with me. Ogres are a nocturnal people, and even though Viktor’s half human, spending the day out in the bright sunlight wasn’t his idea of a good time.
The first time I’d met Steff had been when she’d been “personning”… to use her word… the table for the Prism Pride Coalition. We didn’t get to know each other until after we met again in history class the following Monday. Now that first meeting had come full circle, as I was helping her cover the table while her friends from the PPC were off getting food and chasing down the faculty advisor for something or other.
The first year, she’d been dressed androgynously for the task, as the group’s leadership had decided that a physically male half-elf wearing women’s clothing might give the wrong impression. I personally thought that it might give the impression that the PPC was accepting of people with any gender identity or expression, but I wasn’t even a member of the group.
This year either there was no issue, or Steff hadn’t cared what anyone thought. She was wearing a beautiful elven-style gown… it wasn’t authentic, of course. No elf would make a dress to fit the generous curves Steff’s narrow frame had gained through alchemical intervention in the time between last year’s festival and this one.
By this time, she’d looked like that for most of the time that I’d known her… but it was still her “new” look to me. First impressions can be a powerful thing. I’d taken Steff as a woman from the first time I’d seen her wearing a skirt. Her tendency to wear either loose blouses or modest false breasts had been enough to convince my eyes I was seeing a girl. The lack of hips hadn’t fazed me, as the pale-skinned elves of the surface were never known for their sexual dimorphism.
Learning… eventually… that she had a penis hadn’t changed the impression of her as a girl one bit. It had taken a bit of explanation for me to grasp how that worked… or maybe to realize that how was less important in such cases than who. Steff was who she was, and a girl was part of who she was.
Credit went to my one-time roommate, current suitemate, and informally adopted sister Two for helping me work that out.
Likewise, I now accepted curvy Steff as being Steff… she still had the same pale and angular face with only a little more roundness to it. She still had the same wispy whitish-blonde hair. I knew the body she wore was her real body, the only one she had. Most of the time when I closed my eyes and thought of her, it was what I saw… let’s face it, picturing big breasts didn’t exactly strain my brain.
Steff was still Steff. She still excited me, frustrated me, cheered me up, and occasionally frightened me. But I’d seen her before, I’d grown fond of and familiar with her before… I’d seen the change, and so it would always register to me as being a change.
It was possible I might get used to it, though, as other things in my life changed. There was probably a finite number of things that could seem new, different, and strange at one time.
For one thing, the festival was larger than it had been the year before, in that there were more booths. More merchants from the nearby town of Enwich and the surrounding environment were participating, as MU was in the process of expanding. More housing and classrooms had been added to the campus. There were more concessions available for retail and fast food businesses and more would be added in the next two years.
It was larger but it seemed smaller, because it was more spread out. The crowd was thinner. In fact, there were pretty much two crowds as the tables and booths were clustered in two main areas, one in the five-sided field and plaza in front of the old student union and the other in front of the new student life center and the bardic arts building.
Whoever had handled the logistics of the thing had made some deft decisions in assigning spaces to avoid traditional rivalries. Last year, I’d witnessed an illusion fight between the queer pride PPC and a religious group… religious meaning Khersian, of course. In the plains of central Magisteria it almost always did, at least among humans. That was one of the internalized attitudes I’d brought with me that had only eroded slowly and over time.
The conflict between the gay and Khersian groups was avoided this year by distance. We were stationed on the pent, in sight of where the fountain with the three dragon fountains had stood last year, spewing illusionary fire and actual water. That familiar landmark was also now gone. It had been removed over the summer quietly and without fanfare, having been inextricably associated with the violent death of an MU student inside of what was supposed to be the protective aegis of the network of enchanted paths.
The death of Leda the swan princess had been officially attributed to a freak monster attack. I was one of the few people who knew that the “monster” had been another student. I was also one of only two people who knew exactly what had happened to her murderer.
In the place of the fountain where Leda had died stood a stunning illusionary sculpture of MU’s tri-dragon mascot as it would look rendered in icy-white crystal. The ground around it was covered with a shimmering illusion of water. It would have looked cool, but for what struck me as a rather ghoulish touch: at the dragons’ feet was the figure of a swan that slowly shifted into a tall, thin girl of regal bearing. Part of the funds for the illusion display had been donated by Leda’s family, but I imagined that its existence in the first place was part of the off-the-books settlement they’d reached with the Imperium.
Even knowing what had happened there, I missed the real fountain. It was familiar… it fit in with the surrounding architecture better… and it couldn’t begin to be as much of a haunting reminder of Leda and her fate as a life-like but ghostly image of Leda herself that we’d have to walk past every day was.
The fountain had also incidentally been the site of my first spanking, at the oh-so-knowledgeable hands of Amaranth. I hadn’t been a fan of the public aspect of that, but the experience had been a revelation. I never had completely got over the idea of sex as something shameful, but I had learned to enjoy the shame… and I wasn’t ashamed of that.
For all the changes, there were some familiar aspects to the festival. Illusionists still used it as a prime chance to show off. The show-stopping centerpiece was the official tri-dragon mascot… a flight of three dragons that looped about overhead, occasionally forming into one dragon with three heads for a while and then splitting again. I’d missed the merge-and-split routine last year, but I hadn’t exactly lingered long. I’d also arrived later in the day, when there was less supervision and the people casting the illusion and maintaining it had cared less and the dragons started changing colors and sporting wacky headgear. At this point, they were still proudly wearing the school colors of purple and green.
One of the crew running them was my former floormate, Celia the nagakin. During a break in the dragonflight, she wandered over to us.
“What’s up, snatch-hatchers?” she said by way of greeting.
That, too, was a mixture of the familiar and the new. Celia’s kind had a mixture of mammalian and reptilian traits, though she’d always firmly identified as a reptile and had disdained mammalian folk as “pink skins”… never mind that we weren’t all pink, or that she was, too. If you excused her almost non-existent nose and ears, overlooked her snake eyes, and didn’t see her open her mouth, she could have passed for a hairless flat-chested human girl.
Apparently she’d spent her months off learning new and more accurate ways to insult us… it took me a few seconds to parse what she’d said, but once I did I had to admit it was actually a pretty good one.
I didn’t have to admit it out loud, though. I was working on controlling my temper. I’d never exactly been a raging berserker or anything… the thought of violence still had a tendency to turn my stomach… but I did have a problem with what Amaranth called volume control. For most of my life, I’d either clammed up completely under stress or vomited out my naked reactions without any restraint… all or nothing. Under Amaranth’s guidance… and with a little help from Teddi Lundegard, one of the school’s certified mental healers, I’d made some strides in things like letting things roll off my back or acknowledging them without losing control.
Given that I was nominally representing an organization that I didn’t even belong to, this seemed like a “roll off my back” kind of moment.
“Hello, Celia,” I said. I tried to smile at her. I couldn’t say how successful I was. “You volunteered for dragon duty this year?”
“Volunteered? Nah, I had to,” she said. “I’m on scholastic probation because of my grades last semester. My advisor got some of them adjusted but I have to be on the drill team. It’s not all bad, though… I’m getting lots of practice on scales.”
“You know, I used to think illusion was a soft option,” Steff said with a great big smile on her face. Steff’s snark rarely sounded anything other than absolutely, delightfully chipper… only if she were really upset by something would it sound nasty. And she was being snarky. I knew her enough to know that. I could even guess the shape of the next thing that would come out of her mouth before she said it. “Then I realized it’s actually an intangible one.”
“Ha fucking ha,” Celia said. Illusion was one of the easier schools of magic, in terms of power drain… but in fairness to illusionists, there was a lot of skill involved. Not that Celia had necessarily mastered them. “Do you know what the difference between illusion and necromancy is?”
“If you’re confused about that, that might explain the probation,” Steff said.
“Illusionists never get in trouble for fucking their homework,” Celia said.
“Don’t be silly… all sex is illusory, ultimately,” Steff said. “Any time we fuck someone, we’re fucking an illusion.”
“That’s pretty cynical for someone who believes in love,” I said, a little stung. I knew Steff had her cynical side. I knew she could use people for pleasure… I knew that she used me for pleasure. But she also cared, and she loved. She liked to act like these things were unrelated… she liked my company and she loved me, and she also enjoyed fucking me… but I didn’t see how they could be.
“We fall in love with illusions, too,” Steff said. “Don’t look at me like that, hon. It doesn’t mean the love isn’t real… or that the sex isn’t. But how the fuck are we supposed to know what another person’s really like when we can barely even know ourselves?”
“Says you,” Celia said. “I know who I am. That’s why I stayed with Harlowe instead of trying to shed my skin and walk with the humans.”
With that, she turned and walked back to where the rest of the drill team was. Steff had been the one who’d pissed her off, but she’d thrown her last barb at me.
“I know you had your reasons for switching dorms, and I almost switched, too… but I do kind of wish you hadn’t,” Steff said. “It seems so empty over there. I mean, the lower floors have always been less full than the upper floors, because of people dropping out or finding other accommodations, but it seems emptier than it was. The fourth floor, too.”
“People are still arriving,” I reminded her.
“Yeah, but the crowd’s… less crowded,” she said. “And everyone’s talking about… well, they’re talking about you.”
“Nice to know some things don’t change.”
“I mean as the ringleader of the whole Harlowe Exodus,” she said.
“Is that what they’re calling it?” I asked. “I just wanted a different living situation for my sophomore year.”
“Yeah, but you’ve got three other Harlowe girls with you… you’ve personally decimated the sophomore floor of the girls’ side,” Steff said. “And other people followed your lead.”
“I don’t have a lead,” I said. “If anything, they’re probably following Shiel… she’s the one who actually made a bunch of noise about moving out. Considering that I moved dorms in part to get away from nosey people, I’d really rather that nobody noticed. Besides, we aren’t ‘Harlowe girls’. We lived in Harlowe last year. This year in Gilcrease. If the tower doesn’t work out the way we want it to, or we don’t all want to live with each other next year, we’ll end up being somewhere else.”
“You see?” Steff said.
“No,” I said. “What am I supposed to see?”
“You’re pretending your move wasn’t political, but then you say you’re not Harlowe girls.”
“I’m not being political,” I said. “I didn’t break some rule or smash down some barrier to go live in Gilcrease… you said yourself that a few people find other accommodations each year.”
“Right, but that’s just people drifting away or finding human friends to room with. It’s not purposeful movement, like when four Harlowe residents all move out at once,” Steff said. “And three of you are known political agitators.”
“Amaranth wouldn’t like to be called any kind of an agitator,” I said. “She’s a political soother.” I couldn’t really argue that Dee was politically minded, as she’d become more involved in campus protests and awareness campaigns as she came to learn more about the surface world. “And I’ve never agitated politically on purpose.”
“You’re just a natural born rebel, Mack,” Steff said. “Have you seen much of Dee?”
“She got in on Wednesday,” I said. “Well, Tuesday, but she was staying with her entourage until they checked out the dorm situation. I haven’t seen much of her since then. She’s been spending most of her time meditating in her room. The only time I’ve seen her is when she needed to use the sink while I was taking a bath.”
“She just walked in while you were bathing?” Steff said. I could tell from her voice… and from the fact that it was Steff saying it… that she was less scandalized by the idea than she was turned on by envisioning a version of events that was pornier than anything likely to have actually happened.
“She asked first,” I said. “I didn’t mind. Really, I’m the last person who should be monopolizing the bathroom since I don’t need to use the, you know, facilities.”
“Neither does Amy,” Steff said, using the pet name she used for Amaranth to get around the fact that her name was uncomfortably close to that of Steff’s elven father. “I guess Two and Dee really lucked out there, if they have to share one toilet with two other girls.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Though it’s still one bathroom for the four of us. We’re going to have to figure out how to work that stuff out in the mornings, once everyone’s here.”
“Well, on the plus side Amy’s intrinsically clean and never has to do anything more with her hair than give it a little shake and watch it fall into place,” Steff said.
“I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right,” I said. I had fond memories of showering with Amaranth, and I knew she enjoyed steamy hot showers, but there would be no reason she’d need to be in line for the tub every morning before class.
“And Dee and Two are both early risers, so they’ll probably be done and gone before you get in there,” Steff said. “Hey… I feel dumb for not thinking to ask what her summer plans were before, but Two didn’t go back to that shitty golem group home, did she?”
“No,” I said. “She went to Logfallen with her friend Hazel.”
“Oh, good for her,” Steff said. “And for her friend Hazel. I’m surprised she’s allowed to bring ‘big people’ back to the shire, though.”
“It’s probably a little scandalous, but I have the impression Hazel’s already pretty scandalous there,” I said.
A couple people drifted over from the next table, and I faded into the background to let her deal with them. She was a lot better at talking to strangers than I was, and she was actually a member of the Prism Pride Coalition where I was just sort of hanging out behind their table. While she talked to them and the next group of people who followed, I opened up my notebook and resumed work on my plans.
A year ago, the idea of enchanting weapons would have filled me with distaste. There were so many better things… cooler things, more useful things, less violent things… that could be done with modern enchantment techniques than making magic weapons. That was one reason why Applied Enchantment was a whole separate major from Armoury.
But the necessity of dealing with weapons had helped me to see that the things that drew me to enchantment didn’t disappear when the subject was a weapon rather than some other sort of tool or device. Especially after I lost my knife and started fighting with staves instead… a staff was a traditional wizard’s tool, after all. It had most of the properties of a wand, and a few others besides.
I couldn’t begin to afford the sort of wizard’s staff that would be worth paying for, of course, even without throwing in the need for it to be useful as a melee weapon.
“Journaling again?” Steff asked me when there was a break.
“I told you I gave that up,” I said.
That was just another example of how easy it was for people to get the wrong impression based on a few interactions. I’d tried keeping a journal during part of my freshman year, and even though nothing had really come of it, anybody who’d seen me writing in it and asked what I was doing now gave me a knowing look any time I pulled out a notebook. Given that we were at university and I liked to write and sketch out random spell and enchantment ideas, this was often.
“So what are you doing, then?” she asked.
“Just streamlining some of my ideas for my staff,” I said.
“You haven’t taken care of your weapon already? Class starts next week, and Jilly’s not going to go easy on you this year.”
“I have a staff,” I said. “But the one I bought is a blank.”
“It’s a weapon that’s enchanted to be enchantable,” I said. “It has its own susceptibility to enchantment enhanced, and it also has spells in place to sustain and power temporary enchantments put on it… makes it good for practicing complex enchantment work, but it also means I can lay enchantments on it before the start of class and they’ll last all the way through the end of it.”
“Oh, cool!” Steff said. “Also: nerd.”
“Anyway, Coach Callahan has never gone easy on anybody,” I said. “The fact that she could be harder doesn’t make her easy.”
“No, you’re right, that’s not what makes her easy.”
“And now we’re in territory I really don’t want to hear about,” I said.
“Don’t worry, we’re not fucking,” Steff said. “At the moment, I mean. Though I guess you’d probably notice if that were the case.”
“There really should be a rule about that,” I said.
“There is… but it only applies if I’m in one of her classes,” Steff said. “I’m already ahead of the game in weapon proficiency credits, so I can go all the way to graduation without putting myself off-limits.”
“I meant a rule against you having sex with her,” I said. “Or her having sex with anyone.”
“I don’t think you’d like that,” Steff said. “Jillybean gets violent when she’s not getting laid. Or when she is. At the same time she’s getting laid, I mean. But also before and after. Let me try this again: she remains violent regardless of whether or not…”
“Basement,” I said. This was my safeword. Was it meant to be used to end a conversation I didn’t want to hear? Probably not specifically. But as a shorthand way of letting Steff know how serious I was about not wanting to hear about her sex with “Jillybean” Callahan, it got the job done.
“Oh, here comes Markel again,” Steff said. “Finally.”
“His name is Marcel,” I corrected her. I couldn’t see him, but I didn’t doubt her word. Steff’s senses weren’t as sharp as a full elf’s, but they were far more acute than mine. “You should be nicer to the freshmen.”
“Was anyone nice to you?”
“Some people were,” I said. “Present company sort of intermittently included.”
Steff stood up, pushed her long, straight hair back off of her shoulders, and then leaned towards me. Her lips formed a tight, wicked little smile.
“You wouldn’t like me if I were nice all the time,” she said without moving them, her voice tickling in both my ears like a faint wind. Elven voice magic was one of Steff’s favorite tricks. It had lost most of its power to startle me, but now that it was familiar, it felt intimate.
“I might,” I said. “I’d like you differently but I’d still like you.”
“No, you wouldn’t,” Steff said, taking my hands and pulling me up out of the folding chair. She put her face very close to mine and stared into my eyes, deeply and without blinking. “I know you, Mack. Amaranth is your safety. Ian, even when he’s doing his Lord High Dongmaster routine and making you crawl, is your security. I’m your thrill, Mack. You like me a little nasty. You like me dangerous. You like my edge.”
I blushed. That much was also still the same. No matter how much better I got at controlling my reactions, I still blushed at the drop of a fashionable but clumsy hydra’s hat.
“I thought you said we never really know other people,” I said, even though a big part of why I was blushing was that she was right… I wasn’t sure that there wasn’t room in my heart for a nice, safe Steff, but I did like her to be wicked. Steff took my breath away, and it just wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t have the lurking worry that she might not give it back.
“Well, if you’re an illusion, then I must be better at doing color changes than Celia,” she said, reaching up to touch the rosy part of my cheek with the back of her fingers.
“You’re still needling her even when she’s not here to hear it,” I said, ducking my head slightly.
“You know what they say… character is what you do when no one’s around,” Steff said.
“Hey, girls,” Marcel said. “Oh, don’t stop on my account,” he added as I jumped away from Steff. He was a human boy, small and wiry and with spiky purple hair. He wore a long-sleeved shirt of loose mail under a black t-shirt with the sleeves torn off, and black studded leather pants. A small mace made of gleaming black metal hung from one of the belt loops. “Sorry I took so long… I swung by my room on my way back and my roommate was just getting in.”
“Hey, Markel… any problems with the roomie?” Steff asked.
“No, he already knew I was queer from our a-mails,” he said. “But I helped him move his stuff in. I hope that’s okay. Professor Thorne said it wouldn’t be busy until three or so, and we should have more help then.”
“I’m probably going to take off before then,” I said. “I’m not really a fan of crowds.”
“Okay. Have you decided to join up?” Marcel asked.
“I’m not much of a joiner,” I said, which was what I’d said the first time he asked. Marcel was a joiner. He’d signed up for the coalition right away and then volunteered to help staff the table. He couldn’t understand why I wasn’t interested in the same, as a bisexual girl who was out and clearly had no problem with the organization.
“No, Mack is more of a leader,” Steff said.
“Oh, that’s cool,” Marcel said. “What groups are you involved in?”
“None,” I said. “I’m seriously not a group person.”
“She led the Harlowe Exodus, delivering the oppressed non-humans to the promised dorm,” Steff said.
“The what?” Marcel said.
“Don’t listen to her,” I said. “I just moved dorms from Harlowe this year. A lot of people did. Well, not a lot, but more than me. For some reason, some people think everyone else who had the same idea was inspired by me. It wasn’t even my idea in the first place.”
“You were in Harlowe?” Marcel said. “Oh, that’s cool… I mean, I shouldn’t have assumed… well, you look human.”
“You don’t know who I am?” I asked.
“Well, there’s no reason you’d need to… but I did get to be kind of semi-infamous last year,” I said.
“This is my first year here.”
“I made the news a little,” I said.
“Really? What for?”
“Well, you know this whole province used to be under the thumb of a powerful necromantic warlock,” Steff said.
“Yeah, but he died thousands of years ago,” Marcel said.
“Hundreds,” I corrected. The Merovian habitation of the plains hadn’t even begun thousands of years ago. “Steff, what are you…?”
“Right,” Steff said. “But… necromancer. No necromancer worth his zombie-killing salt would let a little thing like death stop him for long. He’s never managed to come all the way back, but he’s never gone away, exactly. Even today he’s so feared that locals fear to speak his name.”
“His name is Praxis,” I said. “And seriously, Marcel, she’s…”
“Except for Mack, of course,” Steff added. “She’s the only one brave enough to say it openly.”
“Was Praxis, I mean,” I amended, but Marcel was already looking at me. “He’s dead. Dead-dead. And this has nothing to do with…”
“She’s too modest,” Steff said. “The permanent, final death of the Necromancer-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has everything to do with her, the chosen one who saved the school… and the whole world… from his tyranny.”
“And this made the news?” Marcel asked, looking at me with the look of someone who’s pretty sure he’s being bullshitted but doesn’t want to look stupid if he’s wrong.
“No,” I said. “Because it didn’t happen. There was just a series of events… well, I kind of got attached to them, because I’m, well… a half-demon.”
“Heh,” Marcel said. “That’s a good one. You’re almost making Steff’s story believable.”
“It’s true,” I said.
“A demon at university?”
“Half-demon,” I said. “My father was… is… a demon. My mother was human. It happens. Not very often, but it happens.”
“Demons are destroyed on sight.”
“Half-demons aren’t,” I said. “Because we’re half-human. We have souls. We have rights.”
“And they just let you enroll?”
“We have rights,” I said again. My modulation of my voice started to slip, but I pushed it back down to a normal level as best as I could… with sort of mixed results. “Come on, I’d think someone in the Prism Pride Coalition would be a little more open-minded than that.”
“Being queer isn’t the same thing as being a demon,” he said.
“I didn’t say it was!”
“Are you serious?” he said.
“I’m serious that I’m a half-demon and that I have the same rights as anyone else who’s here,” I said.
“Is she serious?” he asked Steff.
“Yes,” Steff said. “Mackenzie Blaise is the half-demon princess who defeated the necromancer underlord of Prax and saved Magisterius University in accordance with the prophecies.”
Marcel snorted and rolled his eyes.
“I knew you were full of shit,” he said. “Half-demon student.”
I shut my notebook.
“Excuse me… I think I’m going to go work on my staff,” I said.
If I needed a concrete reason to not join the PPC, I had it… eventually Marcel would learn the truth, and the sort of person whose reaction to learning that I’m a half-demon is to insist that such a creature couldn’t possibly be admitted to a major university is not the sort of person I wanted to be around.
I’d spent too much of my first year learning and then re-learning the lesson that I didn’t have to give my time or my life over to people who had no use for me… or, for that matter, people who had nothing but uses for me.
Still, Marcel’s reaction was helpful in one regard: it served as a sharp reminder that not everything that was familiar was comforting.
Soon: In Friday’s chapter… hail, hail, the gang’s all here. Then next Monday the academic term properly begins. Watch my Livejournal this week for more details about my plans for book one of this volume!
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Setting: MU grounds, the pent
Topics In This Story: campus life, campus politics, enchantment, fantasy racial politics, khampus khrusade for khersis, Leda's death, Prax Province, Praxis, prism pride coalition