[Main Chapter] Keep a Candle Burning

Open to Gated Passives, Brunnhold Galdori PM to Join

Anaxas' oldest and most prestigious University of Sorcery, the de facto cultural capital of the kingdom and a city in its own right.
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Muse
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Fri Jan 11, 2019 2:38 pm

25th of Ophus, 2718
Brunnhold Cafeteria | The Lunch Hour
Fire may be represented as the destroyer of all sophistry, and as the image and demonstration of truth; because it is light and drives out darkness which conceals all subtle things.

Leonardo da Vinci
The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci: Studies and Sketches for Pictures and Decorations
The halls of Brunnhold had fallen quiet weeks ago in Achtus, just shortly after graduation. Snow blanketed the campus and further hushed the once-fortress-turned-bastion of education upon the beginning of winter. Peace settled in like a fat hingle hibernating in the woods for a few precious tendays before, of course, everything would begin again anew after Clock's Eve. While many of the faculty and staff remained behind after the end of the school year as always, having made the red-walled fortress not only their place of employment but also their home, many students had returned to visit with their families elsewhere across the Six Kingdoms. Only a few hundred or so young galdori of various ages continued to live on campus during Winter Break simply because they had nowhere else to go or no interest in going back to wherever they'd once come from.

Those students still ate in the cafeteria and still produced plenty of laundry. Those students still required tidying up after, even if there was no structured support for them in terms of academics or programming—all of them were left to their own devices under the watch of a few responsible adults, required to check in every few hours if they were older than thirteen and under constant watch if they were thirteen and under. Many of the older students had found jobs in the Stacks or internships with professors anyway, and so it was mostly the youngest of students who needed the most care.

Today was no exception.

Pascual was slow in the lunch line again, the freckled ginger passive who could have looked so at home among the handful of Anaxi pre-teens passing by his station lost in his own little world like always. Meticulously-shaped mounds of mashed potatoes were artfully topped with beautiful drizzles of gravy that oozed so perfectly down the lumpy slopes and over the hunks of roasted garmon meat that were fragrant with herbs and spices. All of it was beautiful and Pascual shaped it for each student as if they were the only galdor in line.

Only they weren't.

"Hey, crimp, speed it up, would you. I'm hungry too."

"Yeah, so am I."

"Gods, he said just scoop it on there. What the clock?"

"Can't you even hear me?"

The young passive looked up, blinking as if he'd been asleep, his bright green eyes washing over the very impatient line of students who weren't at all shy about mocking him while they all called for him to stop attempting to make such deliciously tempting and utterly useless creative works out of their lunches.

"I'll take over here." an older male voice hummed from behind the boy, startling him into dropping the gravy ladle, much to the loud amusement of everyone on the other side of the cafeteria serving tables. Thick brown liquid went everywhere and the lanky ginger finally squeaked, his hands moving to make words along with his lips although no other sound escaped him,

I'm sorry.

"Too late now. Go on. Wash duty for you." Terrence shrugged, the older but shorter passive not at all concerned or ruffled by the continued catcalls of the students in line as Pascual picked up the ladle and wiped up his mess before fleeing further back into the kitchen. The brunette passive didn't even bother looking up at the teasing and sniggering, slopping their portions onto their trays without rhyme or reason—a far cry from the careful works of art that had been made out of their meals just moments before. The line began to move at a more reasonable pace and the complaints slowly faded into a more content sort of murmur, just the way it should be.

Off Topic
Welcome to the next installment of the Main Chapter in the Passive Plotline.

If you are a Gated passive, you are free to join this thread as it is Open to you. If you are a galdor, please DM Muse on Discord or send a PM to join us, as this will be a very passive-centered story. If you are a human or wick in The Stacks, this thread is Closed to you.

I will be posting in this story every 72 hours or less—my caveat being weekends, when I won't be posting because I have a family and such. You do not have to keep up with that time in order to be included in this story, just make a reasonable effort to keep up. Please be advised there are no penalties for not keeping up.

There may be consequences for all Gated passives for the choices you make in this thread, whether its for the good of your fellow scraps or not will be seen in the end.

While you are welcome to include whatever NPCs you'd like, please do not write about the actions of the NPCs I mention by name in your replies.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
word count: 961

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Renard Verene
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Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:15 pm

brunnhold cafeteria ❋
25 of ophus, 2718; during the lunch hour
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He wondered if he would’ve been this messy.

Of course, it was a moot point; Alioe, in Her wisdom and watchfulness, had intended him to be a servant and not a student. At best, speculation as to how things might have been was foolish and pointless, and at worst, it was blasphemy. Still, he could hardly help the corridors his mind wandered down when his hands were occupied. In some other world, years ago, he saw a little Renard Vérène in the line, chattering with his peers – pestering the servants to move more quickly? Spilling gravy everywhere during some inane bit of horseplay? Perhaps even intentionally smearing a bit of potato here or there, knowing that there would be somebody to clean it up?

He had woken up tired that morning, the cold kneading itself into his bones underneath his poor bedclothes. The winter was his least favorite time of year. When he was younger, before he had come to Brunnhold, it had been a curiosity; he had loved the brusque bite of the wind, the flurry of snowflakes outside his window, the whisper of secret languages in the glass. No longer. In particular, this year’s preternatural cold stung at his sensitive scar tissue, and no amount of writhing or bundling his blankets around himself could keep the cold from numbing his fingers and toes at night. He barely slept, and his skin was on fire, and he had less of that endless patience for which he was known and appreciated.

Still, they were over halfway through Ophus, and Intas reared its head just over the hill, with Clock’s Eve and then the springtime, the bloom and all the world’s warm breaths. Each day he counted down, reminded himself of the year’s end’s closeness. Just over the hill, just around the bend. Busy the hands, busy the mind with prayer. Idleness, Renard had always thought, was what bred rebelliousness, violence, cruelty. So he’d redoubled his efforts – his shifts yielded spotless classrooms, halls with glistening-polished floorboards – and prayed twice as hard for some loosening of his tight-wound heart.

And then they gave him a shift in the cafeteria.

“What’s that?” he’d already heard a young voice crow, followed by a flurry of giggles. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a student point.

Patience, he thought. Benea grant me patience, light my path; gracious moon, look down upon the children of your waters; lady of time, lady of the tides, watchful eye…

He dipped the mop in the bucket, sighed, slopped it gently against the floor. They’re children. I would’ve been just like this. A student had dropped their tray – a genuine accident, thought Renard, the sort that could happen to even the most well-intentioned of fine, well-bred, mannerly galdori children – and mashed potatoes and gravy had gone everywhere. He had already gotten the tray up, along with most of the picked-apart garmon and the footprint-splodged potato (“mashed” was no longer an applicable descriptor). Now there remained a veritable sea of gravy and gravy-liquefied potato.

Just like this, he thought. I would’ve been just like this. Patience. I would’ve.

He pressed his lips tightly together, frowned so deeply that his jaw hurt. Mopped, round and round. Though he tried to keep his head down, he glanced up once, hearing some commotion in the line. When he noticed Pascual, his brow furrowed. He had always liked Pascual, but he had no doubt that the young red-head was the source of the conflict. He usually tried to have compassion for those passives that struggled with following basic instructions – adjusting to a life of servitude was not always easy – but this afternoon, his nerves frayed and jittering, the commotion only irritated him further. Why couldn’t they all just do their jobs as they were told?

It didn’t help that as soon as he looked up, he made eye contact with a dark-haired boy in a student uniform, who was passing with a tray. The boy promptly stuck out his tongue, raised up his cup of milk, and dashed a little on the tile near Renard’s mop. His closest peer, a rather short boy with flaming red hair, gave him congratulations by way of a cuff on the shoulder. It made him spatter a little more.

After they passed, Renard rolled his shoulders, feeling about a dozen little cracks. Then he drew in breath through his teeth, composed himself, and began mopping again.

Lady, grant me patience: I am grateful for the stream of my life…
word count: 834
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Muse
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:36 pm

25th of Ophus, 2718
Brunnhold Cafeteria | The Lunch Hour
Petulant that he'd been sent away from his creativity simply because a few students were impatient for well-crafted food, Pascual didn't slip back to the kitchens right away as he was told. He hovered just in the doorway, hazel eyes watching the students with the kind of angst only a teenager was capable of mustering until his gaze was drawn to someone else in his pale uniform. More than that, the young passive was drawn to the giggles and whispers. Fingers curled tighter around the ladle he still held in his hand, watching students who didn't need to be in uniform over winter break mock the taller, older man whose back was to him.

"I said wash duty." Terrence huffed, his words catching the attention of a couple of students with his very un-passive tone of voice.

Pascual's hand-signed motions of objection were visibly rude to look upon, emotion clear from the youth who couldn't speak but could definitely hear. He glanced one more time in Renard's direction, holding his gaze instead of staring at the marred visage that was impossible to forget. As if being magic-less wasn't enough, the older passive had been harmed by his own diablerie—or so the boy had heard from someone else who had heard from someone else who'd claimed to hear it from a professor or at least a student or maybe their osta for all he knew. He smiled—an expression of defiant camaraderie and genuine cheerfulness—before ducking his head back into the kitchens in reluctant obedience.

The turn into the warm, noisy cooking area nearly sent Pascual crashing into a couple of young women, hardly older than himself, cafeteria duty one of the rare times shifts of both genders mixed for even the briefest of moments. The girls with their large trays of fresh food to bring out to the servers squeaked and scattered, barely managing to avoid the red-headed boy as he ducked and scrambled further in.

Meanwhile, Professor Moore stood oblivious as usual behind a gaggle of other professors and faculty who had managed to crawl away from their research or curriculum writing or naps just in time for the last open hour of lunch, only a handful of them never leaving campus because, like Harper, they didn't have families of their own to spend time with. His mind was very far away, back in the lab, still lingering over notes he'd scribbled just half a house before, still lingering on data he had no idea what to do with.

All of it felt so alarming and strange and yet no one really wanted to hear about it. The bespectacled man frowned, focused on the back of Professor Jyo'zet's dark-haired head as empirical measurements drifted through his thoughts, the theory of ley lines slowly beginning to make sense—

The commotion of passives behind the counter caught his attention, dragging him reluctantly back to the present in time to watch Pascual rush away into the kitchens. He smirked, always interested in the interaction between the gated folk, if only because he was far more aware of them than the rest of galdorkind.

"Gods, only on winter break would Mrs. Rogers let things like that out into plain view." One of the junior professors chided while Terrence scooped potatoes and garmon and gravy onto her tray with tight-lipped indifference.

"Only on winter break would an esteemed member of Brunnhold's staff allow such talk to slip from their mouths in front of the handful of students still living on campus." Harper spoke up above the two other adult gadori in line, glancing toward Renard before he offered a stern, judgmental glare in the woman who objected to his scarred presence in the cafeteria.

The library secretary chuckled, unfazed by the strange views of Professor Moore, "Oh, Good Lady, I didn't realize you were in line. I'll keep my thoughts to myself then, Sir."

The dark-haired passive serving glanced up at the man who'd spoken up on behalf of one of his own, perhaps a bit more generous with the slow-roasted hunks of garmon than he had been with the other galdori, giving the monic theorist a wan smile before going back to his work as if nothing had happened.

"I have heard the Headmistress will be speaking about the treatment of passives in the new year, especially after that one that died a few months ago. I don't see why it concerns my students—the less they know the better." Professor Jyo'zet spoke up, the Hoxian with a deadpan expression, blatantly ignoring both Harper and the secretary's exchange as if it didn't matter at all to her. She was older than both of them, and her greying hair was pulled up in a tight up-do that revealed the well-aged features of her displeased face when she turned to Harper, "I'm sure you had something to do with it. You and Castor Devlin."

"You are correct, but the treatment of those we've taken responsibility for is a subject for even the youngest of minds to be taught about. Passives aren't a secret that should be hidden in the dark." He nodded, turning away with his tray of food before the conversation could turn to his experiments and his so-called sympathizing views. Disappointed that Professor Devlin was once again somewhere other than in Brunnhold proper, Harper made his way to sit by himself, aware of the eyes on his person from behind from the faculty who disapproved of his sense of decency and purpose. The bespectacled galdor made sure to take a circuitous route to a small table by the large cafeteria windows that let in a dreary light from the windy day outside. Clouds on the horizon were heavy and promised more snow, the ground crusty with icy white leftovers from a dusting earlier in the week.

"At least you're inside today. It's much more dreadful outside, even if it's quieter." Professor Moore flashed a brief smile in Renard's direction, stepping to cut off a few swift-moving students on their way to turn in their trays from passing too close to the passive and his mop. It was clearly purposeful, and he made his way to sit down once the youths had passed them both.
word count: 1125
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Netheneale Rami-Savatier
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Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:39 pm

25th of Orphus, 2718
Brunnhold Cafeteria | Lunch Hour
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Netheneale silently stood with his fellow galdori as he awaited his food and observed the people around him. The silent traveler had only arrived at the snow covered campus a few nights ago, and was still settling himself and his animals in the apartment he had purchased in the Stacks. Netheneale tried to keep up with the conversation around him, but the only thing that seemed somewhat interesting in the cafeteria was a hold up in the line for food. The bored galdor stared at his shoes to pass the time, but quickly found himself marvelling at the floors of the room he found himself in. The university that Neth had attended in Hesse was nice and accomodating, but it failed to match the beauty of Brunnhold. The greatest minds around were here in Brunnhold, and for some reason, Neth had thought continuing his education in Hesse was a wise idea.

I was a fool for not transferring here. Neth's mind then drifted to his pets and his new home, and then his towards research. The raised voice of a woman next to Neth quickly awoke him back to reality. Staring up from his shoes, he quickly glanced over at the woman next to him who had spoken. Confused at the remark she had made, Neth followed her eyes and found himself staring at Renard. He had never seen the passive before and the unexpected facial burns shocked him. Neth nodded at the passive, and then slowly looked away in an attempt to not humiliate the man. Out of shock, Neth glanced over to the woman next to him in irritation.

"How much of a clocking idiot are you?" Neth had only grumbled the statement and hoped it had only been heard by himself. Being unprofessional with his colleagues would only make things worse. Feeling something fall onto his tray, as Neth looked downwards he found that his eyes were pleased with the food he had been given and his stomach as well. If only the people were as nice as the food here.

A voice from behind spoke up from behind Neth and scolded the woman for her remark on the passive. It didn't faze the woman at all, but the act alone was, in its own way, brave. Turning around and looking behind a man in line, Neth found himself staring at Professor Harper Moore. Neth had heard much about the professor and was very interested in learning from the man on his research with passives. Neth walked out of the line but stood close by, curious about where the conversation was going. After the galdori that were talking had dispersed, Harper passed by Renard and then made his way towards an empty table near a window. Neth took a step towards the man and then stopped. What would I even say to the man if I went over there?

Neth sighed to himself and began walking towards his own lone table, but his thoughts interrupted him once more. No, I can do this. How am I supposed to learn if I'm too afraid to even ask a single question? At that, he turned around and slowly walked his way towards Professor Moore. Once he was about five feet away from the man, he stopped himself and coughed to get the man's attention.

Netheneale quickly looked at his shoes after he knew he had the man's attention. "Professor Moore? My name is Nepheneale Rami-Savatier, and I've heard much about your work," it felt like he was out of breath, and Neth took a deep breath before speaking again. "Would you be interested in.... Some more.. help?"


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