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.