Aden stood there, silently staring at the speech. Everything in his mind just stopped, until the Masters filed out of the room.
"We are betrayed." Aden's voice was quiet, but full of rage. "Humans coming here!? Invited with open arms!? What worm-ridden, mindless imbecile decided this was a good idea!? They have sought to oppress and contain and control us for centuries and now we invite them with open arms, with pledges to send away our best and brightest with them!? This is insanity!"
He clenched his fist and pushed through the crowd, his eyes blazing with rage. The Masters had finally done it, they had turned against their own students, no doubt for promises of some technology or other form of backscratching. His stomach churned, rising nausea threatening to bring up his breakfast.
"I will not stand for this."
We just traded everything we have for some technology. Hopefully the masters know what they are doing. For now I guess we just need to go with it. Not like there is another option really. Hopefully I can still continue my progress.
With the speech over he got up with the others. He decided to try and find out from one of the masters what would be expected of him. Though only after he had gathered his family letters in case he got picked. They could certainly wait that long.
The news slammed into him like a brick wall, it was alot of information in little time.
He felt betrayed a little, not that he invested himself into the school but he had friends.
Slowly he got up and walked to the mountain again thinking of what to do.
To best describe his rationalization of it it would look like he had a devil and an angel on his shoulder.
They are merely sacrificing the few for the many, pure and simple.
Its a good trade-even without consent and being complete dicks about it.
Worst case scenario I end up on one of those airship, hiccup, and then get stabbed by a guard for it!
"Perhaps I will be lucky and not be chosen, with my attendance they would never pick me"
The thought was entertaining but luck wasn't his strong point.
As the rest of the students got up and began filing out, Nydia stayed seated as she contemplated everything she had just heard. Even after she had gone over it in her head multiple times, she was still quite conflicted about this news. She had, of course, heard of Kerbones in her studies. Not that there was very much known about the isolated nation besides it's technological prowess, but still the opportunity to see such powerful technology at work may just be worth the trade. And the idea of visiting a new land with new knowledge for her to acquire was quite exciting.
But on the other hand, she had also heard about how feared her kind were out in the world without magic. And the idea of soldiers with weapons struck Nydia as somewhat barbaric, and she wasn't too thrilled to hear they would be coming to the academy. Not getting too close wouldn't be a problem for her though, as she really had no desire to do so.
Regardless of how she felt though, there were still preparations to be made. Not that she had much to worry about in that area, as she generally presented herself very well and had become accustomed to preparing for important guests at a young age. She finally got up and began to leave as well. I can only hope nothing bad comes of this, although I can already tell this isn't going over well with some of the others. Especially some of the more hot-tempered Pyromancers...
Grana stared at the stage, shell-shocked with the news. "Well. So, the Academy just traded a few mages, who have proved before to be able to wipe out all life on earth, for a couple of crossbows, that you might be able to kill one person with, if you get really lucky? Wow...Talk about trading cash cows for the 7th of the brood." Grana thought, using a common farm analogy. Grana resisted the urge to bleat like a sheep, to show the idiocy of the situation and how the students had no choice in the matter, like lambs to the slaughter. Grana stomped out of the Main Hall, seething with anger.
Grana remembered the absolute fear of the mages he had at his Focusing, how absolutely sure he was that he would be found as a fraud and die on the spot. Grana then imagined the same fear and projected it onto the soldiers who were to arrive, and then married that fear with their ability to kill any of the students with impunity. Finally, Grana just couldn't hold it in anymore. "This is bullshit!" Grana roared. He glared down any who looked at him, thinking his outburst was too much. "Godsdamned little brats. Most of them were probably mages before they turned 8, before they could even reason! I didn't come here until I was 15! I know the fear! The all-consuming fear and hate for us magicians! They want to kill us all, thinking we might kill them first! And now they let in soldiers who can kill us if we sneeze? Fuck... I need someone to duel, to cool my head."
Seth sat for a time after everyone began leaving. He barely even noticed Aden as he stormed off, outraged that the masters had sold them out. He was much more interested in what had been announced.
Kerbones...City of Airships eh? And are randomly going to be choosing people to come along? What exactly are the Masters playing at? I wonder what the hell was paid for this privilege.
"I wonder if they would trade an airship? Now that would be something. Pryos in the sky. HAH!" Seth mused mostly to himself. As he sat there though, he came to realize that other than the classes he was to host, he actually had no idea what he would be doing.
Well, if they are the usual soldiers, chances are that I will actually be able to practice with more than the random mercenary that wanders into the port town. Perhaps an actual challenge. Perhaps I will go practice.
Rising from his seat, he realized he wasn't the only one who had stuck around a while longer. He really couldn't claim to know many of them, but then perhaps he would be chosen with them. Seth found himself chuckling at the thought as he simply wandered the halls, waiting for the crowd to thin out.
The crowd seemed to be somewhat mixed on reactions. Many of the younger students where much happier that they did not seem to have classes for the next few days, giving them a chance to do what they wanted to. While some were unhappy or downright angry with the decision, the most vocal about these seemed to be the pyromancers, which no one seemed to care or notice as that was usually the case.
However, the weather was more than happy to quickly change any amount of attitudes which were lingering. The storm which had been rumbling and windy before had decided now was the time to unleash it's own fury. It began to rain, with the wind making it much more hectic as the rain slowly seemed to get heavier until it seemed to be coming down in buckets. Students were soon sprinting to their dorms, the mess hall, or anywhere to get some relative shelter from the rain and winds.
Marcus, unlike many other masters who had gone to prepare for tomorrow, patiently waited outside of the pyromancer caves. He knew all too well that he would have the biggest task of all the masters, which was making sure pyromancers didn't get out of hand. He was expecting quite a few visitors, and while he could probably share their fury, he hoped he could get them to understand that the path was chosen before a choice could even be made.
At least the only thing that Raven could take after the announcement of the Masters' Bargain Basement Student Sell-off was the fact that the weather was improving. A massive storm had kicked up, showering everything, whipping across the campus. Maybe there will be some thunder coming in. That should cheer me up.
She took her time walking back to the dorms, she didn't care if her robes got a little wet. She was enjoying the collective misery of the other students fleeing to shelter. Run, little minions, run. Avoid the fury of nature. Pathetic.
"Drew! Drew let's make lightning!" Fei shouted excitedly. She wasn't much for the wind part of the storm, seeing as she wasn't exactly big enough to not get blown away. The water part made her excited. "This storm is AWESOME!!! Do you think the masters will mind if we make thunder? Or do you think there will already be thunder? I think the Airshifters will make lightning anyways. But you can make the BEST lightning, Drew~"
Under more normal circumstances, Aden would have conjured a sheet of fire to keep him dry from the rain. At the moment, however, he was too angry to even care. Up ahead, he could see Marcus standing at the entry into their caves. He gritted his teeth and approached.
"Marcus!" Right at this moment, he could shove the honorifics up his ass. "What the hell is the meaning of this? You're inviting Humans to come here and then take our most promising students away? Without ever consulting the students, or even the Weavers? Have you completely lost your mind? You know what they do to our kind!" Aden seethed. In his head, he knew that Marcus was probably not one of the ones who had pushed for this, but he was the closest one he could vent his rage to.
"I'm going to warn you - if they try to take anyone against their will, there will be bloodshed."
Drew sighed. "We can do it later. I just want to get back to my room right about now." He started walking back with Fei. "Honestly, we don't have that much to worry about. I'm not exactly the best with Airshifting, and I doubt they're interested in my little talents. And you're too young to go. Just stay out of their way and we should be fine." Who knows? Maybe some of the people I don't like will end up being the ones leaving. One can dream...
The rain didn't bother him that much. He took his time getting back, watching the other students mutter and talk among themselves. He turned back to Fei. "So how was Seth? You two seemed to be having quite the conversation."
Edward just walked outside the great hall and into the rain when he heard someone curse the masters.
He had to smile knowing someone felt the same.
The masters disagread with it too it seemed, all those disaproving looks.
I can guess that one guy made that deal behind their backs.
The rain felt good, his cloths would stick to him later but there was no way to avoid the down pour so why waste his energy against it.
The soil would soon become saturated with water and become muddy.
He took off his shoes and walked along slowly enjoying the sight of the soon comming thunder and lightning.
Many students were running from the water even the Earthshifters too.
How silly its not hail or anything.
Perhaps I should have been a Hydro.
Along the way he looked out for anyone else taking their time.
With out that man and his black chicken he needed someone to talk too.
He saw someone ahead of him and he called out.
"Excuse me? Mind if we walk together?"
"It took you long enough to get here Aden, you crazy bastard. Try not to shout everything, its not like half the Academy needs to hear this." Marcus said, looking about to see no other students willing to get close to both Aden and himself.
"You really think I had a say in this kind of disaster? I thought I made it clear for even braindead fools on stage, but I guess it wasn't clear enough. IT WAS DARNELL. Is that a clear enough message for you? I didn't invite anyone to the goddamned Academy. And by the time any of us got the message, the deal had been made. You know damn well that I wouldn't do something so colossally stupid, so stop being so goddamned hotheaded and try to use that brain that is supposed to exist in your head." Marcus growled, somewhat irritated himself. He took a deeper breath, and sighed.
"Aden, are you familiar at all with the particular city of Kerbones and the technology they have? War machines, tactics, and people?" Marcus said, gesturing into the caverns, mostly an invitation to walk them while they talked.
With the change in the weather, many students who were at home with the elements. Some of the Airshifters began to play around with the high winds, causing things to spin about, or even causing thunder or lightning in the storms. The Hydromancers were also enjoying the weather, though some of them took to escorting some of the other students to the dorms.
Seth watched from the doorway of the now nearly empty Grand Hall, seeing how many of the students were enjoying the late afternoon weather. He didn't imagine it staying after tomorrow, seeing as it would likely be better weather for their arrivals.
Maybe some blade practice can wait. Too wet, too crowded, and just too damn inconvenient right now. Maybe some food would be better.
Bringing the flames to spin about himself to keep the rain away, Seth wondered when was the last time students had even had a proper break. Things had always seemed so busy, which meant time for entertainment tended to need to be planned. Seth himself wasn't even sure what he should really do other than what he usually did. Seth paused as a particular woman walked past him. A Lightdweller, and one of higher stature if how she walked was any indication.
Perhaps be social or something? That might be fun....Why not? Could be very good times.
"Bit wet to simply be walking back, don't you think? Might be better if you waited for a Hydromancer or something?" Seth said to Nydia as he began to walk next to her. Seth further manipulated his flames to block some additional rain.
Alexander was walking back towards his room when someone came up and asked if he could walk with him.
"So long as we are going in the same direction I don't see why not. I'm Alexander, and you are?" He asked while extending his hand to shake said part with the other person.
"Edward, nice to meet you Alexander."
He shaked his hand while walking along with him.
"Got to say today was full of more suprises then usual."
"Mind if I call you Alex for short?"
Ezekial slowly walked back to the now somewhat deserted cafeteria, spotting an uneaten slice of bread he grabbed it and crushed it into smaller pieces for Sir Taco. Ezekial quickly left and started walking towards the Waterfall Fortress
Nydia had been walking somewhat aimlessly, lost in her thoughts, when suddenly a man approached her, began talking to her, and shielded her from the rain with his flames. "Oh!Thank you, sir. Yes, I suppose I should have waited but... my thoughts were elsewhere."
"Ah, but where are my manners? I am Nydia Freecs, LightDweller Adept. A pleasure to meet you." Nydia introduced herself with her usual smile and slight bow. It had been awhile since she had had to introduce herself though. It wasn't often people came to talk to her and Nydia was usually too busy with her studies to go out and talk to her peers.
"I don't mind at all Edward. As for today, it is more than I expected. Though I hope the masters know what they are doing. To give them information about all of us in exchange for some kind of technology I have to wonder if it is worth it. Not to mention some of us will be going with them. What do you think?" Alexander replied after releasing Edward's hand and starting to continue back to the light temple. He did his best to avoid the outside, he would rather stay as dry as possible.
Aden seethed for a moment, then began breathing slowly. "I apologize, Marcus. You know Humans get me...aggravated." He turned to walk with Marcus. "Darnell did this alone? Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole idea of the Council to make sure no one of you can make decisions? Expel her from the Council and tell Kerbones that the deal is off. If they decide to refuse to take 'go away' for an answer, we can knock them out of the sky. They're just Humans."
Aden rubbed his chin. "Kerbones is one of the more dangerous of the Human nations from what I've heard. Highly technically advanced. Most of their war machinery is kept secret, but I've talked to traders and travelers who've mentioned massive airships powered by hot air or special gasses. Either both, a mixture, or neither, and the truth is some secret." Aden's eyes gleamed. "I must admit, I would love to see how one worked."
"Still. I don't think they'll be a threat. Army or no army, they need an invasion force. The Hydromancers can block passage by sea and the Airshifters can block passage by airship." He turned his head to face Marcus. "We are going to block them passage, right? We can't possibly allow them to land, start picking the best and brightest of us. That's insanity."
"No worries, the mind is always something interesting to explore. I am Seth. Seth Darius, if you need a last name. A Pyromancer Adept, and it is a pleasure to meet you as well." Seth said, doing his best to return the small bow and smile.
"I simply figured that you could use a companion, especially when you simply started walking into the rain without noting anything....That, and I find myself somewhat unsure of what exactly to do with this 'day off' that we have been given. Too much fighting and teaching, I imagine. So, what exactly are your plans Ms. Freecs?"
Seth walked, along, his mind starting to run, realizing the name, especially the last one, had a familiar ring to it. However, Seth couldn't quite recall who it was had the name.
Lets see.....wasn't distant past I don't think. Who had that name? Hmmm....Well, it will come to me eventually.
Durant had wandered over to the tree where he usually expected to find local drunk and troublemaker, Ezekial Fried. Upon not seeing him there, he proceeded about to see if he could find him just on natural luck. As usual, it won out and he spotted the wayward, and often lazy, hydromancer with his pet chicken. Durant grinned upon seeing the odd boy wandering about, but decided he needed to make sure that Ezekial would not ruin the upcoming project. While what these particular outsiders thought of them didn't matter, he wasn't going to have one of his element killed first because he drunkenly approached a soldier and got himself killed.
"Ezekial. Sir Taco. I have a feeling I need to make sure that you understand that you stay alive during the coming days. Especially with some more violent guests possibly being on the way." Durant said, approaching the hydromancer as the rain and wind flew about.
"I know Aden, you do not need to apologize. All too well I know your dislike of humans. They are a presence we need to tolerate." Marcus said, taking a look about before he took out a small scroll.
"While the Council is in place to make sure the Academy isn't run by any one entity, there isn't really any way for us to keep tabs on all of us. Especially Darnell. Better off trying to make sure when you sleep your shadow doesn't wander off. And telling Kerbones to simply 'go away' isn't quite valid when they have this." Marcus said, opening the scroll to show a drawing of a particular airship. This one seemed to bristle with all sorts of crossbows, Scorpios , and even some odd steel plating.
"I bought this some time ago. It is one of their airships supposedly. Bristling with bow weaponry, and if I hear correctly, they could even drop metals or rocks on their foes if they wanted. Crossbows which can easily fire several bolts at once, and explosive weaponry, if more legend and hearsay has any truth to it. If we did tell them 'no' and they pushed, I am not so confident that the Airshifters could bring such a monstrosity down, especially with bolts flying at them." Marcus explained as he would point out the many weapons he spotted on the drawn picture.
"And....they will have to land somewhere near here. I don't think anyone anticipated in shaping the land to accommodate an airship, especially if they are as big as this. Also....I don't think they will be taking only the best and brightest. Why would they want all the information on any student they could get if they wanted only the brightest? Something is....off about this, but Darnell right now has the bag of answers. Until our guests arrive, we won't know much more than what Darnell would even say." Marcus said, his frustration growing again, only to sigh, and look to Aden.
"The problem is that they are on their way, and who would tell them to 'go away'? They are likely already almost here, and we know little of these people. They could just want to observe some elements without outside eyes, or perhaps are coming to gauge our strength. Either way, backing out on the deal now would be problematic at best, or catastrophic at worst. We don't need a war right now, especially with someone who we know nothing about." Marcus said, still sounding annoyed with things so far out of his hands.
Edward put his hands back into his pockets keeping to his side of the trail without the trees shade.
"Can't say I am happy, a warning is all I would have wanted."
"Now that I think about it a chance to leave the Acadamy is really huge but I have alot of planning to do just in case I am chosen."
"All my stuff, where to put it."
"It is so much trouble for me."
"Very well." Aden tucked his hands into his coat. "Just want you to be aware...if they try to take anyone against their will, I will fight them. I've seen what Humans will do to our kind firsthand...I don't expect Kerbones to be kind to their 'guests'." Flashes of horror went through Aden's mind - students and colleagues of his covered ghastly machinery, tubes and wires going through their bodies, their powers being used to animate some technological monstrosity.
"I take it Darnell has given no explanation as to...it's reasoning for making these overtures?"
"When does Darnell offer a damned explanation for the burning hells anything?" Marcus muttered, putting away the scroll. "But I am on the same side as you Aden. If I have to watch as they 'attempt' to take anyone away by force, they will be met with hot steel and flames from me personally. That, and probably every other pyromancer within the Academy. I get the feeling they are going to be clever about this though. This is all new territory, so we need to be cautious, just as I am sure these paranoid people will be cautious as well."
With a reassuring nod, Marcus turned, obviously with something on his mind as he spoke.
"Aden, we need to keep an eye on these strangers coming here. I have no doubt that the Nightshades will do the usual to find out anything they can, but they are limited in their abilities, and I doubt they will even kill off possibly problems. You, on the other hand, don't have any such reservations, and I'm confident can incinerate any possible technical intruders where they shouldn't be. This isn't a public command, mind you, but you have my....support that if you find someone sneaking around and they happen to be incinerated, lets just say that they somehow arrive at the pyromancer dorms. Clear?" Marcus had lowered his voice, even though there were not any notable people in the area. He made sure the gravity of the situation would get across in his voice.
Here we go. Taking the steps to make enemies, or a pointless preparation. Better an unused ambush than needing one.
"I understand. There was an accident, he tripped, fell down the caves into the lava flows." Aden grinned. "I can't be everywhere at once, though. If we need to keep these Humans under control, I'm going to need to talk to some people, get some backup. There are a few people I have in mind. Assuming you don't think letting this go beyond the two of us is risky?"
"I don't have anything the academy hasn't provided for me except the suns on my shoulders. I come from a family of blacksmiths in the city. We don't have much, just enough to get us by. Other than that I have the robes and books that an adept of light should have. What about you? How much do you have to back?" Alexander continued to walk as he talked to what appeared to be a new friend.
"Ah, well that's rather kind of you to approach a stranger who looks to be in need of companionship. I will admit it's not often I have the pleasure of conversing with my peers often." Nydia replied, then paused when he asked of her plans. She wasn't entirely sure what she would do next herself.
"I guess I'm not too sure myself what to do in light of recent developments. I'd have liked to pay a visit to my father at his estate and inform him of what will be happening in the days to come. He's getting on in years, you see and doesn't get out as often as he'd like. But in this weather, that doesn't seem like a good idea. I'll have to wait until it clears up. Maybe I'll try to research Kerbones a little more, since that knowledge may come in handy soon. Or practice healing in the infirmary. Though I hope that ability will not be needed in the days to come..."
Nydia trailed off at that thought. She truly hoped that the soldiers would not turn out to be as hostile as the masters had implied, but from what she had heard of the outside world she doubted that. Oh... I hope I'm not making it sound like I have better things to do and want to be rid of Seth! It's that sort of careless talking that makes people think I'm stuck up...
"B-but of course, I doubt there's much I could find out about Kerbones, since they're so isolated. And I already practice healing daily, so missing out on today wouldn't be a problem. So, if you're still looking for something to do it would be my pleaseure to accompany you if you want, Seth."
"Well that is a hard question... um well got a couple dozen books I "barrowed". He confessed scratching his back in irritation.
"Got it all stored in a little inn I have took lodging too."
"I owe some
of money since I haven't been able to do any odd jobs with my last injury."
"Other than books that is it."
"And who the fuck are you?" Ezekial swore shoving his finger in Durant's face, "I couldent give any less of a damn about our guests, everyone else may be pissed but I know I'm not going to be chosen and this whole..." Ezekial waved around his hands grasping for the word "Ordeal? Scenario? Issue? Whatever is just going to annoy and take away from my oh so important life" Ezekial spit and quickly took a hefty swig from his jug " and don't even bother telling me to not drink cause it's empty" Ezekial scowled turning the jug upside down.
"He's fine~" she nodded, spinning a little. "I think you might be picked to go Drew. If they ask you to go can you take me too?" she didn't seem to wait for n answer, biting down on he lollipop in her mouth. "Do you think maybe I can learn something from the people that are coming that would help me become an Adept? It's almost my birthday soon, and I want to get promoted as soon as possible."
"I don't think they'll pick me. They probably would only want the best-looking, hardest-working and the best ass-kissers. And we all know I don't meet those qualifications. But don't worry. these little party-crashers will be here and gone before you know it. We'll get you up to Adept soon, I promise." he smiled at her.
Seth found himself grinning widely as Nydia went onward trying to figure out what she would do. It became quickly apparent that she had as much of an idea of what to do as he did. He found himself simply watching for some time, not even realizing that she had stopped speaking and almost jumped when she started again with a stutter.
Whew...OK...Estate? That must mean...she has some royalty or something? Well, too late to simply duck and run now.
"Uh....Heh, well I don't really know what else to do myself. I mean, I would be more than happy to accompany you to your father's estate if that is what you wished to do. The wind is a slight bother, but I can keep the rain off of both of us all day and then some." Seth said with a grin and a nod.
"Besides, I would only end up practicing with my s-...skills in pyromancy, probably fighting a few other students angry about the news. I think doing something you had in mind would probably be a bit healthier for me." Seth said, mentally berating himself.
Gods burn me alive, I almost said I was going to practice with my blade! Stupid stupid stupid.
Marcus stood for a time, looking about. After seeming to think a long time, he finally nodded to Aden. He wasn't sure about the entire idea, but Aden was right, he couldn't be everywhere, and Marcus himself would be entertaining higher guests.
"It is fine, but as long as it doesn't balloon out of control. If our guests so much as thought we wouldn't give a second thought of roasting their people, I get the feeling they would be all too happy to return the favor. Just make sure the people you have in mind don't run their mouths. That would be the last thing we need." Marcus said finally.
"Ah, drunk then from its contents. Very well." Durant effortlessly manipulated the water from the outside to sweep inwards and wash the jug right from Ezekial's hands, to then use another collection of water to slam into the face and over the entire student. Now holding on to the jug, the older Hydromancer spoke.
"While you perhaps might not think too much of the Pyromancer's threats, maybe you will pay more attention to a personal lesson. You are going to be looking your best and being the best for the guests that arrive, and whether you are picked or not doesn't matter. You so much as do something stupid enough that you make Hydromancers and this Academy look foolish, I will freeze and slowly drown you several times in front of our guests to show that we take things seriously. While the gravity of the situation is lost on your hazy mind right now, I get the feeling the loss of your jug will suffice for the moment." Durant said softly, not even raising his voice as he told what he felt he needed to say.
Grana arrived in the Caverns of Fire, raising his own body temperature in order to evaporate most of the water that had soaked him through and through. It worked as the rising steam began to take some of his anger with it. Not all of it, but enough that Grana wasnt considering human homicide anymore. Grana sat down, pressing his back against the warm rock as he watched duels between Pyromancers below him. Grana chuckled to himself. "Probably the same kinda bastards as me, angry at the Kerbonian humans intruding upon our lands. Problem is, infighting is just gonna make us putty in their hands. And us Pyro's just can't get it through our red hot tempers that kicking the nearest ass to solve a problem doesn't always work." Grana shook his head in despair. A Pyromancer, about 20 or so, approached Grana quickly. The same fire Pyromancers controlled burned in his eyes as the Mage stalked towards his prey. "Hey, fucker, why are you laughing? We just were sold out by the godsdamn Masters, and you're making fun of the situation? What are you, a human lover?" Grana sighed. "No. I understand their fear. They have the right to be, considering what we can do. That's why we were put on this island in the first place. However, they shouldn't be able to do whatever they want. But killing all of them will make you no better than they are!"
"Are you fucking mocking me? Me, Cathal Murdoch?" The mage roared. Grana sighed as he grabbed Cathal's hand and squeezed, causing Cathal the cry out in pain. "No I'm not, pig. You're doing a fine job of it yourself, so go squeal in pain off in the corner, and stop screwing with me, or you'll regret it, I promise you." Grana said these words softly, not needing to yell to get his point across. Grana realize seemingly aimlessly, but in truth bs was heading towards an unused Arena, so he could claim complete immunity for what was about to happen. Just as Grana was fully inside the arena, Cathal bellowed with rage and rushed towards Grana, flames burning in his hands. Grana shook his head. "Oh gods above, he can't be more than a Mage if he's stupid enough to charge instead of hurling a fireball. His loss." Grana internally shrugged as he turned around and crouched down, bunching up his leg muscles. Grana grinned just as Cathal reached out to burn him, and jumped high in the air. Grana flipped, pulling his center of gravity into his chest, artificially lengthening his air time. Just as Cathal harmlessly tripped past him, Grana hurled a fireball at the back of the unlucky mage. Cathal turned around in time to leap out of the way. Grana spread his stance and bent his knees, now lowering his center of gravity. "I warned you you'd regret all this. Now hurry up- I've fought Hydromancers more aggressive than you are." Grana shook his head as the barb worked perfectly. This time Cathal was a bit more careful, and waited for Grana to attack. Grana complied, leaping forward to generate momentum as he fell forward onto his hands, propelling himself forward as flame gathered at his heel. Grana spun once more, launching a vertical wave of flame at Cathal, who quickly threw up a small shield of flame, obstructing his own view. Grana's momentum carried him past Cathal unseen, smirking as the Mage dropped his shield and spun around, wondering where his opponent had disappeared. As Cathal turned to face Grana, his heart sunk as he saw a ball of flame aimed right at it. Grana let loose, scorching Cathal's jacket. The odor of Burning hide filled the air as the leather turned black and became ash. Grana launched one more fireball next to Cathal's head, indicating the duel was over. "Stay down. Don't push your luck again, or I won't be lenient next time." Grana looked up and saw many students looking down at him. One of the faces was quite familiar though- Felicia, the Master Pyromancer. For once, her famous motormouth had stopped, though Grana realized this blissful silence couldn't and wouldn't last long with her there.
Alexander couldn't help but laugh at the way he phrased his "borrowing" of the books in his possession. He knew he shouldn't be so accepting of thievery but he also had been on the other end of it.
"I think everyone here has taken out books and never returned them. I know I have anyway. I am sorry to hear about your inability to work though, perhaps if you find yourself in the city you could look for my family's smithy. I'm sure if you mention my name my father can find you some work. It won't make you rich, but you should be able to get by. Father could always an extra set set of hands around the shop anyway I'm sure of it."
Felicia had been specifically ordered not to lose her temper on any of the students. If the Pyromancers hadn't been doing such a good job at beating each other up she would have done it herself. Her eyes darted back and forth between all the fights that had broken out, occasionally breaking up a fight that got too noisy. "Hey assfuck! Stay the fuck out of the lava! I hope you have someone to heal those burns, you pussy!" "What the hell kind of bitch ass fireball was that? You can't even beat a Pyro half your rank? You're fucking useless!" "Oh. My. Gods. What are you, a Hydromancer? Man the fuck up and hurl a fireball back!" Her voice was loud and clear, even through the din. She walked around the main arena, then noticed a pair of mages in the corner. Grana and Cathral... She didn't particularly like either of them, but watched the fight. After they stopped, she noticed some of the closer mages looking on curiously. "What in the Flames are you all shits looking at!? Mind your own goddamn fights! *turns back to Grana* "Well? Are you just going to look at me? The fight's not over until this little bitch either gives up or gets burnt to a crisp."
Grana shrugged. "Looking's enough for now. Besides, he's already beaten- it's just hard to see a crushed pride. But perhaps you heard the rush of air as his barn-sized ego deflated." Grana stepped on Cathal's chest and leaned forward, placing weight on his foot to make sure Cathal couldn't get enough oxygen to make fire. "Now. You've lost. I'm gonna walk away, and you're gonna walk back to your buddies, and all this will be behind us. Oh, and if I see you screwing with another student here, I won't go so easy next time." Grana pushed off and turned around, showing his back to Cathal as he began to wander towards the library, planning to research all he could about Kerbones. Cathal stood up behind Grana, rage pulsing through his veins as he summoned the biggest fire he could.
Grana felt the heat and sighed. "I give you a chance to leave in one piece, and you kick it to the ground." He turned around and widened his stance once more, this time firmly planting his feet on the ground. Grana's right hand stayed out in front of his body, fingers spread as if to grab at the air. Grana smiled as Cathral launched his sphere of flame. "time to see if all those fights with Hydromancers were worth it." Grana thought. As the large fireball approached Grana, he raised his left hand, creating a thick but small wall of flame. As the fireball impacted harmlessly on the shield, Grana's flames enveloped Cathal's fireball. Grana brought his front hand down, forcing the combined fire across his body into his dominant left hand. Grana added as much of his own fire as he could to the behemoth of flame before twisting his body and thrusting his hand forward, sending the flame rocketing towards Cathal, who stood there, dumbstruck. The flames enveloped him as fellow Pyromancers quickly jumped into the Arena to put out the blazing Cathal. Grana looked at his right hand, the bandages burned from the incomplete technique. He ripped off the charred wrappings, which turned into ashes as he threw them away. He was grateful to see his actual palm was mostly undamaged. Grana stared at Cathal, who was yelling in pain. "I warned you. Enjoy the aftereffects of Usurpation of Flame." Grana looked up once more at Felicia and yelled up to her. "Is that crispy enough for you, or do you like meat a little more well done?"
The offer was unexpected but welcomed.
"Could you really?"
" Earthshifters and blacksmithing go hand in hand it would be perfect!"
"Thanks so much!"
"If you need to barrow a good read I am sure I got something of interest just ask."
"You can find the inn near the water fountain off the harbor."
"Just ask for Ed, sure he has a lot to say about me.. mostly complaints." He laughed