[Main Chapter] Brave New World [Lars]

The misadventures of a mischievous Magister, et al.

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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Fri May 31, 2019 3:49 pm

23rd of Hamis, 2719
Laboratory Beta | Late Afternoon
“O, brave new world
that has such people in't!”


William Shakespeare
The Tempest
"Magister Devlin, you can't just go about all of the Kingdom of Anaxas as if you have no schedule to keep!" It was not often that Professor Harper Moore raised his voice so loudly, the man difficult to anger and even more difficult to express such anger. Red-faced and disheveled, the monic theorist stood in the lab proper, nearly a full room away from the older galdor, his voice ringing through the entire laboratory, full of emotion, "I don't understand why you just can't tell me what in Alioe's name is even going on."

"The time isn't right, Harper. It's simply not—"

"—you should be in Vienda, anyway, after Dorhaven—"

"—I'm not talking about that again. This has nothing to do with that act of terrorism wrapped in lies. I know what my responsibilities are and I must—"

"—what? Run away from them? That's all I see anymore and I surely do hope that I'm mistaken, friend." Harper came into the study, slowly uncurling fingers from his dark locks while tossing down a pile of notes with all the vehemence of a petulant child. He had considered tossing them at his older peer, but he actually needed them and just couldn't bear to make the mess that he knew he'd get too distracted to properly clean up, "I can't make any more excuses for you."

"I've never asked you to, damn it all." Growled Castor, slamming shut the small suitcase he'd shoved two grimoires from the shelf into and glaring at the other man. A thumb ran listlessly over the dent in his finger where his wedding band had once been and dark eyes narrowed, the powerful Perceptive sorcerer's field weighed down by so much unspoken hurt and anger that it was enough to nearly make Harper nauseated, "I can't share this, either. It's too dangerous this time—it's always been too dangerous."

"What do you even mean? You're a Magister, sure, and Anaxas is just about ready to explode, but every time you tell me politics is dragging you away from classes, Ophelia tells me you've used some completely different excuse. Are you cheating? Do you have some woman on the side in the Harbor of all places? Gods, Castor, it's not like I care what you—"

He was laughing, shaking his head, but the sound was harsh and devoid of humor,

"No. Just like your nexus and your rift, Harper, this is bigger than just pleasing myself. This is bigger than my academic career. This is bigger than all of us. And I simply cannot abide by the same calendar right now."

"You'll lose your position eventually. And your tenure. Ophelia is—"

"—very pissed off at me, I'm aware. Now, Harper, really. Please. I must go and I don't know when I'll be back. Please give Miss Lux all of my lesson plans. Please forgive me for leaving you to this research. I just—"

"—I don't even know how to feel anymore. About all we've worked for. You're the only one who's stood up for me in the Parliament. To the King and Queen. To Headmistress Servalis. How can you not know when you'll even be back? What kind of trouble are you in?"

"I promise you'll know when I can tell you, and I swear if you just spoke up for yourself, everyone would listen. Or they will. One day. I just don't want it to be a day too late for this Kingdom."

Professor Moore simply stared at the man he thought was his friend, the older galdor's words so cryptic and stressful that he found himself weak-kneed and angry. Castor clasped his shoulder, gave the man a squeeze, and then began to bustle his way out the laboratory door. He'd made it but a handful of steps into the hall when he heard yet another voice calling his name with loud irritation,

"Castor Devlin! Don't you dare walk away from me, sir!" Headmistress Servalis herself pointed at the man, her heels drown out by the sheer volume of her anger. Behind her were two collies and the sight of them caused the older galdor visible distress, dark eyes widening. What was happening? Why did she feel the need to bring the Seventen to Laboratory Beta ... for him!

The Magister met her gaze with a level, dark-eyed stare, lips drawn into a thin line and knuckles white on the handle of his modest suit case. With a slow exhale through his teeth, he turned around and began to walk away as quickly as possible.

"What are you doing! I just received word of how you stormed out of the Assembly two nights ago. You can't just—wait. Magister! I'll have your credentials!"

He was not in the best shape, but his legs were far longer than the Headmistress and his motivations were questionable at best. The older galdor ducked down a side hall, hoping to make his way to one of the many lesser known passages downward into the tunnels beneath the school, hoping he could perhaps make as quick an exit as possible. He was not expecting any company in his escape, but he certainly wasn't trying to be inconspicuous, either.

It wasn't every day one saw a Magister rushing through the halls while Ophelia's voice reverberated against every window pane just out of sight behind him.
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@Lars
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Lars
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Location: brunnhold
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: hates you/r laundry
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Sat Jun 01, 2019 12:37 am

BENEATH BRUNNHOLD
HAMIS 23, 2719 LATE AFTERNOON
Image
The ashes stirred, floating upward into the air below his nose, almost leading the Hessean to sneeze in the little dorm he'd been afforded. Fortunately for him, both roommates were currently out for one reason or another - one was on shift somewhere, one was eating in the cafeteria; he knew their schedules subconsciously, remembered their habits purely because he'd experienced them enough times to know. He'd never cared enough to listen to their conversations or ask them anything about where they went or what they did, didn't care enough now to put much thought into how they were doing or when they'd be back.

Lars sifted through the ash, the pile suspiciously large after so many unnecessary fires in the hearth as of late. They should've cleaned it out a while ago, part of his head reminded, shouldn't have let it build up like this in the first place. But he wasn't there to clean it now, and he wouldn't be here to clean it later.

He had no intentions of ever returning to this room. Not alive.

His fingers brushed against something solid in the pile of darkened, thick powder, a rounded handle slipping easily into his grip as he pulled it from beneath. It hardly glinted in the low light of the lantern by the beds, covered as it was with ash, having been stored and removed repetitively for far too long now. At night, it was stored within his bed - a hole was made in the side of the pathetic excuse for a mattress, hidden beneath sheets and blankets, and during the day the object was shoved deep within the hearth's fiery residue.

Brushing each side against the material of his trousers, the heavy metal loomed within his grasp for only a moment, his fingers flexing against the handle as if testing the grip. Just as soon as he'd taken the knife from it's hiding place, it was stashed within his uniform, without any real care for if it decided to jab into his delicate pale skin or not.

The servant slipped from the room, shutting the door quietly behind him, leaving the lantern inside to light the way for his weary roommates when they returned later on. Ignoring greetings from his fellow passives, Lars walked through the halls with a newfound confidence, his head held high and his pale gaze facing forward.

He didn't stop moving until he'd made it all the way to the student dorms, then all the way to that of his brother and Donatien's little partner - the door was left unlocked, the room devoid of it's usual conversation. No one had been in there for at least a house, Lars knew, and he found his way to the dresser with ease. He knew what he was looking for; he'd had to clean it after the latest formal red tie - how Donatien managed to spill juice on everything he owned, the older brother would never truly know. Although, the habit of spilling things during formal dinners did appear to run in the family.

Rifling through the bottom drawer, Lars tossed everything unneeded to the side. Under normal circumstances, he'd have been as careful as could be - he'd need to clean all of those garments, after all.

It took only a minute for his hands to once again find what they were looking for. Pulling red fabric from underneath black blazers and socks, the old red suit sure was a sight for sore eyes, and the passive had to take a deep breath to steady himself. The suit had belonged to his father, at one time - a dead man's suit now, he supposed, something that'd been given to Donatien probably around his fifteenth birthday, but now it would be his, as it should've been in the first place. Swallowing the nervous ball of anxiety in his throat, Lars stood, moving to set the garments on Morgan's bed while he removed the pale blue uniform he'd donned for seventeen years.



Deep breaths, he reminded himself, struggling to breathe as he was, deep breaths.

Shoulders forward - defensive - and hair a mess of wild, dark blonde waves that fell about his face and threatened to cover his widened blue eyes, Lars was red, dressed in wine. His face was splashed and spattered with it, his blazer darkened with it, his sleeves dripping with darker scarlet substance.

Deep breaths, he reminded again, but still each breath was a struggle within his lungs, catching in his throat and threatening hyperventilation. He tried to swallow, to stop the ragged, quick influx of air, but was left to close his eyes in frustration as it only made things harder. His fingers flexed, releasing their grips, dropping his hidden treasure to clamor uselessly against the floor.

What's the plan here? Walking back into our room like this, with the blood of three people staining our skin?

It's the only option, unless they've suddenly decided passives can just walk out.

Not if this was an attack by two students against two helpless, deluded passives.

Dropping to his knees, he felt liquid seep into the red fabric, even as his hands scrambled to retrieve the knife he'd dropped moments before. Of course, he thought, of course, of course; we're fine. Harper will take care of us.

I think we've made a mistake.

It wasn't until his skin was marred with thin cuts and his suit was scattered with rips here and there that the passive was moving again, showing his face. The upward line of his cheekbone dripped down his pale skin, rolled down his neck and seeped into his collar - Lars was a frenzied, wild mess, practically dashing through the open halls until voices reached his ears and slowed his pace.

"Magister! I'll have your creden -" the passive stopped listening as he rounded a corner. He was so close - the laboratory was so close, he couldn't get caught up in politics now. But, as the gods apparently saw fit, the passive was greeted by the nauseating, all-too-close barrage of a familiar Magister's field approaching behind, following him downward into the tunnels beneath the university.

He wasn't coming after him, no, he couldn't be. News couldn't have spread that fast, no one knew yet, none of those disturbed by his fleeting red appearance could've alerted a fucking magister already.

Slowing down nonetheless, Lars turned his head, glancing backward into the darkness to await the sight of his tag-along.

"N - not to bother you, sir, but what th' fuck is going on?"
word count: 1167
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Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:00 pm

23rd of Hamis, 2719
Beneath Brunnhold | Late Afternoon
The Magister was fumbling for keys, quite confident that Headmistress Servalis was not aware of every tunnel beneath Brunnhold despite her status as one of the most powerful galdori in all of Anaxas, though he had been wrong on so many things in his life thus far that he could also have been wrong about such an assumption as well. Castor had turned the hall, quite a long moment ahead of the Collies and Ophelia, dark eyes catching what he'd later call more than just a flash of red at the edges of his otherwise very focused vision. There were only a few people who'd been shown this particular stairwell, and while it wasn't hidden from view, it was made to be a supply closet more than an actual escape route.

The older galdor inhaled sharply in an uncharacteristic gasp of unfiltered surprise, not in a state of mind to take in the sight that Lars presented but unable to avoid the obviousness of not only the gated passive's attire but also his state of existence. The question from the younger man's lips was surely some kind of ironic observation instead of actually a search for an answer, and so Castor's hand shot out, snatching the collar of the bloodied thing, and tugged them both into the thicker, stale darkness down a flight of steps, the door behind them shutting silently without a word of Monite spoken as Professor Devlin huffed and puffed for them both,

"Not now." He hissed somewhere on the third or eighth step, not loosening his grip until he'd lumbered them both into the dark, not bothering with a spell of illumination, staggering here and there over loose stones and madly attempting not to rattle his suitcase or bash it against the other warm body in the dark in his quick escape.

There was shouting, muffled and confused, intelligible but angry, from up the stairs. Castor seemed to pause, holding them both still as his barrel chest rose and fell and sweat trickled down the back of his neck. The metallic tang of blood filled the older galdor's senses and his face twisted in concern and frustration, fingers slowly uncurling from wet fabric while his breath hitched. Lars would feel the shift of mona as it moved quickly around them both, the Magister apparently completely able to cast without speaking out loud, though his now-free hand moved and his lips made a few shapes that would have been sound had he breath to give them. Instead, the shadows around them in the inky darkness of the tunnels beneath the school seemed to grow thicker, tangible, and real. Heavier than any cloud, clinging to them as he implored the mona to hide them both.

It was like being under water for a moment, lungs crushed by unseen pressure, ears popping, head lighter than it should have been, so powerful was the man that was casting and so strong was the reaction of the sentient, invisible particles in the world.

The sound of hands or objects against a wall was heard, banging as if searching for some hidden door.

Castor wavered on his feet, clearly in a state of concentration.

When he finally moved again, the thudding and scraping had grown desperately louder but the weight of the darkness had become bearable like silt settling on the bottom of a vast, black lake,

"I'm taking an unauthorized sabbatical, Mister Savatier—"

He whispered, finally coming into some form of focus on Lars even while he began to walk in one of the many available directions in the complete darkness, apparently expecting the passive to follow despite the lack of illumination. It was like being blind, but it seemed as though the Magister had some sense of direction despite appearances. He set a grueling pace almost immediately in direct defiance of just how winded he really was,

"—and you were going to lie to Harper Moore about the kind of trouble you were in. Shame. I hope you didn't leave our better Professor too much to cover for after all he's done for passivekind." Deadpan was the Magister of Perceptive Conversation's tone, but there was no judgment in it, either. It wasn't accusatory so much as honest, and slowly the faintest of lights grew in the air in front of them, just enough to see the loose stones on the floor by and barely anything else.

By the fading sounds behind them, the Headmistress had decided to find a different route to pursuing her wayward Professor. He was aware how little time he had to work with if he truly wanted to avoid arrest.

"You're stuck with me now, lad. Neither of us are going to be back to Brunnhold any time soon, I'm afraid."
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Lars
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Location: brunnhold
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: hates you/r laundry
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Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:24 am

BENEATH BRUNNHOLD
HAMIS 23, 2719 LATE AFTERNOON
Image
Lars barely had the time to react as his collar was grabbed, his body tugged to follow the professor down the stairwell. He didn't protest or otherwise fight the older galdor's grip, the passive compliant in his moment of pure, unadulterated adrenaline, uncaring for wherever the man intended on taking him. Wasn't going to just turn around and give him to the Headmistress and her collies, that was clear enough, so what did it matter where they went? He didn't even bother straining his eyes against the darkness, fully aware that a deeper darkness would be the only thing he'd find ahead.

If only he'd had a field of his own, it would've shaken all around him as he felt the air shift. It seemed to contract, pulling closer and closer to their bodies until all he could feel was an almost overwhelming pressure; perhaps the passive would've noticed the professor's lack of audible words if only he'd cared to pay attention in the darkness. However, Lars couldn't care less in the moment - too focused was he on keeping himself upright and stopping himself from giving in to the wave of nausea that rippled through his abdomen.

Fortunately for Lars, being that close to Professor Devlin had provided him some sense of stability, but the galdor was moving again just as soon, leaving the bloodied passive to stumble blindly behind him. It took another moment, then, to register what the man was actually saying - his accusations weren't that far from the truth, but still they cut the blonde to his bloody, burning core.

Shame, he repeated wordlessly, picking up the pace behind the Magister as he regained his sense of balance and direction, it's shameful of me, but it wasn't shameful of you to do the same?

He's helping us, it doesn't matter.

"I wasn't expecting it to work," he admitted instead, quietly, his pale gaze narrowed as he looked ahead to the faintest of lights before them. He left everything else unsaid, as it was meant to be, and allowed the emotions to tumble and twist within so as not to let them out - not now - not when they were on borrowed time and his only chance of salvation was the man ahead.

Still, the thoughts drove on like carriages through his mind, like horses splashing through puddles and spraying onlookers with mud as they passed. Shame. Shame. The professor found his actions to be a shame - what a gross understatement; the only shame was that he couldn't have taken more of them down with him in his own descent. The "better Professor," Devlin had dubbed him, that kind and caring and wonderful man, gods he would've loved to have gotten him. He never could've gotten close enough, he'd missed his chance he knew... but the thoughts wrapped about his anger like tendrils and warped his focus, the passive's eyes downcast and faraway as they got closer and closer to the lights.

It would have been beautiful. The shame was that he'd never see his hands wrapped about Harper Moore's neck. The shame was that he'd never get to see that optimistic, awkward, intelligent little light leave his eyes, that he'd never get to pull out Harper's soul and know that he'd taken it, it was his, and his alone. Instead, the professor would probably just ramble on oh so delightfully as he dealt with the aftermath of what his partner and his little passive ward had done. Lars swallowed, dragging his gaze upward, taking in the silhouette of the Perceptive Magister with a curious glint to blue eyes.

"That's quite alright with me, professor," he gave, "it's a little too hot to stay in the kitchen this time. Can I ask where we're going?"
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Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:30 am

23rd of Hamis, 2719
Outside of Brunnhold's Clutches | Late Afternoon
"Work?" Castor murmured, mind clearly occupied by whatever had him fleeing the second most powerful woman in all Anaxas, if not the first, "This time you're not claiming self-defense, are you?"

Professor Devlin didn't mince words, didn't mingle them with emotions, and didn't for one moment believe in the kind natures of anyone, regardless of their race. If he was a sympathizer, if he really had convinced Serro of his use to the Resistance back when this new uprising was in its infancy, if his roots were tangled in the deep mire of campaigning for equality it was not because humans were at all a better species than his own kind, no: it was because all of them were just as capable of the same cruelties and therefore no different from one another other than the makeup of their bodies and the way invisible sentience had decided to listen.

Passives, as he'd seen, were not the helpless, innocent children that his supposedly well-educated, intellectual peers pretended to tout them as. No. They were galdor flesh and blood and therefore clearly bred as conquerers just like their god-blessed, magic-wielding parents.

"As my title as Magister was never meant to hold me, so too, I see, was the work of a servant never meant to keep your hands satisfactorily occupied, Lars—where are we going? Old Rose Harbor, I'm afraid. I have a bone to pick with a particular criminal and, by the looks of things, you'll fit right in there."

Castor didn't have time to assess the moment for his personal safety, didn't have the margin to judge the passive for whatever he'd done that he didn't think he'd get away with. He'd defended the young man. He'd kept him safe from Mrs. Rogers' rather thorough and unforgiving sweep of the passive ward, and he'd allowed Professor Moore his kindnesses because the other galdor truly believed he could find some way to make a difference through science and research.

So had the Magister once, but now, well. Now he was just about ready to shut the books on a few subjects.

"By Alioe's sweet wisdom, I hope that Moore figures something out sooner rather than later, for your sake—for all our sakes—before all of Anaxas turns in on itself like you gated passives turned on each other right there on campus under the noses of those meant to care for you. I can't understand how equality by pure bloodshed is really worthwhile freedom at all, and this is where I seem to stand at odds with the entire Kingdom." The older galdor grumbled in the dark, his senses far keener than any man his age should have possessed thanks to his indescribably intimate connection with the mona and his familiarity with these particular tunnels he'd spent far too long memorizing the twists and turns of. He walked in silence for quite some time, though the exact length of which was hard to determine in the etherial blackness so deep under the school despite not apparently intersecting the Crypts as if the two had been built in awareness of each others' existence. Perhaps he even doubling back at least once before he found them both a very tight, narrow passage unlike anything they'd carried Fred's body through all those months ago,

"Brunnhold isn't for everyone, and if folks could clocking stop and see clearly, then perhaps you wouldn't have been dealt the same hand of cards you feel so compelled to play this sort of ... mess from." Castor whispered, "That said, I'll tell you now that it requires magic to fly an airship properly so if you get any fancy ideas while we're above the clouds, well, the fall's a hard one. Are we clear, lad?"

The jingle of keys in his coat pocket could be heard and in the dim light of his magical illumination, his serious features were drawn into a shadowy scowl. Glancing over his shoulder for far too long, he would have run smack into the narrow door this tiny hall ended in had he not been able to sense the space it occupied first. He stopped, small luminescent sphere growing brighter but smaller, and he focused on choosing the correct key for the door as if, of all the extraordinary things he was capable of this one thing ... he forgot.

Sighing in audible relief once he found the right key, he opened the door and immediately the smell of yesterday's rain and grass filled their senses. It was dark, but not dark enough that one couldn't see at all, and at the end of an upward sloping hall and a handful of steps, there was mist curling through a metal gate and droplets of moisture on the walls. Part of the small passage way was at least two inches deep with water, and the pair couldn't avoid splashing through it all while walking.

Professor Devlin led the way, his magical light dissolving and their eyes slowly adjusting to an afternoon under the heavy clouds of Hamis. It wasn't rainy, but the fog was thick and Magister Devlin was scowling in the late afternoon haze. The red walls of Brunnhold proper were behind them—how long had they walked, anyway?

Some of the Stacks spilled outside of the fortress-turned-school's walls, it was true. Rolling farmland and animal pastures spread out in many directions in the fertile valley the red walls had first been erected in thousands of years ago, both for educational purposes as well as to feed and sustain a university full of the future hope of Anaxi galdorkind. The unlikely pair had been deposited in some no-man's land between stretches of farmland. A forgotten meadow with hedgerows and a red stone territory marker in the distance.

"The rest of Anaxas welcomes you, Mister Savatier, because clearly we've both overstayed our welcomes in Brunnhold." There was no sun visible to squint at but everything still seemed so bright after being in such total darkness in the bizarre tunnels hidden beneath the school. In the light, Castor was blatantly staring at Lars, finally given a moment to take in his bloodied appearance and just how clearly out of uniform he was. Where did a gated passive get a suit? What had happened?

"Dare I ask?" The lilt of a question was barely there, the older galdor's delivery of his concern near deadpan. He pulled out his pocketwatch and glanced down at its face with a hiss, "There's still a bit of walking—if you're sticking with me that is, lad."

That was simple. Castor began walking again, barely pausing to catch his breath and clearly aware of where he was going in the wilds outside university walls. He had no interest in being seen by patrols of more collies, after all.
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