Ezre was not where he should have been. He was not dressed in formal attire: the expected high collar of an Anaxi suit he should have been wearing would have been adorned with a red tie. Instead, he was not dressed in uniform at all; the loose, flowing layers of traditional Hoxian clothing kept him comfortable in the growing warmth of Bethas. While most of his peers were still dressed to keep warm, the student born in the heart of the Spondola Mountains already found spring to be quite toasty.
He'd waited in his room, fasting and meditating, until the bells rang out across campus that the dinner hour had begun. He'd heard his classmates file out into the dorm room hall and shuffle their way downstairs into the evening, all ninth year students expected to be in the Banquet Hall at formal dinner tonight to sit amongst their professors and to talk politics as was the hottest of topics this time of year.
Ezre was homesick.
He'd hid it well, truly. An admirable Hoxian whose rhakor was enviable, he'd kept his longing to be away from the bustle of Brunnhold with its high-strung, overly emotional students and its noisy, crowded Stacks from everyone for well over an entire year now. He'd held it all in, squirreled it away in the dark places of his being, buried it in silence and studies. But meeting Tom just a week ago had really brought everything writhing back to the surface.
Ezre missed his family. He missed Lreya, his mother.
Once he was sure everyone was settled in their seats, once he knew everyone would notice his was empty, he slipped quietly from his room and out into the twilit campus. The ruddy glow of electric lampposts and phosphor lights cast lovely shadows and the Hoxian's soft-soled sandals made very little noise as he carefully made his way along the less-trafficked trails and sidewalks, slipping between buildings and making his way toward the Library.
Rosie Opkins would know him, unfortunately. As one of the few Hoxians in Anaxas, in Brunnhold proper, he wasn't easy to forget. They'd already spoken so much at length about scrying that either she was quite convinced he'd been flirting with her or she pitied him for his odd theories. Ezre wasn't sure which. But she knew him to be a ninth form and she knew what day today was, surely. He didn't even have a study pass.
He just had the gnawing desire to pour over a few spectographic books about the landscape of Hox and daydream about home for an hour or two. He just wanted to find a couple of theory books and distract his longing mind from both the strange hum of Tom's field and the warm calm of his mother's that the not-Incumbent's state of being made him miss.
Lilanee would notice his absence. They'd sat together at red ties since school began in Intas. It meant she'd make sure he wasn't ill later.
He had no interest in lying. He just didn't want to be crammed in a brightly lit room full of gossip and Anaxi cuisine. He wanted quiet. He wanted peace.
So, like a shadow, the Hexxos acolyte drifted into the Library, head down but moving as if he had every right to be there.
"Mister Vks." Rosie waggled fingers at him before he'd made it five steps past her desk, her eyes made far larger than necessary by the specific curvature of her glasses as well as the strength of her kohl-drawn decorations, "Aren't you in the wrong place?"
Ezre didn't balk. He didn't frown. He didn't make excuses. Stopping and turning, he looked at the older red head and nodded, "Yes, Ms. Opkins—"
"Yes, Rosie. I needed a bit of space tonight." There was no point coming up with any elaboration. Dark eyes met green ones and the Hoxian shifted from one foot to the other, ready to move if she told him to leave, "Sometimes Red Ties are overwhelming in their expectations of my personality, let alone my study schedule."
"Mmmreally? If you say so. Do you have a study pass? Are you ill?"
"I'm going to have to report you. Missing Formal Dinner without an approved excuse is a demerit. I'm sure of it. Are you sure that's something you want on your record, Ezre?"
"My record is only for this lifetime. It won't follow me into the next. And, really, it's only for my time here in Brunnhold, brief as it will be." The dark-haired young man didn't smile and there was absolutely no sarcasm in his tone of voice. He stood simply before the librarian's desk, feeling the fields of other students pass by him even as his was as bold as ever.
"Wha—well, yes, but. That's hardly the point. Fine." Rosie was already writing, glancing up to glare at him once or twice.