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Greywacke

Let's Play Academagia! Dolan Durn

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Welcome to a text based Let's Play intended to be roughly in the style of Bobbin Threadbare.

This is being created because due to a mistake I made when first attempting this lets play, the game crashed whenever I tried to adventure.  I may be the first person to ever reboot a lets play.  

Ordinarily this sort of thing involves making the character together and such, but I'm just going to jump right into it.  We're going to be playing as Dolan Durne, who possesses the following characteristics:

Spoiler

Fitness: 2
Finesse: 1 (3 total)
Charm: 2
Luck: 2
 Strength: 1
Intelligence: 2
Insight: 2

Heritage: Strozzan
 +3 Observation, +2 Debate and +1 Willpower. The People of Strozza are very perceptive, fond of argument and wilfull.
Strozza is a broad chain of islands, extending from the Renaglian chain in the north, to the wide deserts of Oursouk in the south. Pastoral and dry, Strozza is dominated by the Merchant Princes of Renaglia.

Omen: Three Suns
+1 to Finesse, as well as to your skill in Acrobatics, Composure, and Concealment.
At the moment of your birth, three suns were visible in the sky overhead. Tradition holds that this is a sign of trickery and deceit - and you've done your best to live up to it.

History: Descended of Traitors
You're resented by the Students of the Academagia, beginning the school year at -2 Relationship with 10 random Students. However, you gain an additional point to spend on Backgrounds.
"Ambition, thou beloved and bright star; all too often does the hour of thy ascendancy pass and, in wayward course, bring thee to Treachery's gate." Your family suffers from the crime of treachery, having betrayed some great trust put upon them. Though it is not your doing, this crime has passed to you, as well.
This is my personal favorite trait. It's fun, it gives a point and a relatively insignificant, and fun penalty.

Station: Nobility
+2 Diplomacy, +2 Intrigue, +1 Leadership and +1 Command.
Whether poor or rich, the nobility are heirs to long traditions of service and duty. In this day and age, the nobility still rule in many areas of Elumia, and even where they do not their influence matters a great deal. In your childhood you would have learned the important arts of maintaining one's position, intrigue and leadership.

Apprenticeship: Spy
+1 Finesse, +1 Poisons, and are informed of all Espionage and Blackmail subskills.
Dolan was sent to study under his uncle Oslatt, his father’s younger brother and the spymaster of the Durne family. He taught Dolan the skills needed to one day replace him, and serve as spymaster for his older brother. His letter to the Academagia arrived before he could put them to much use, but Dolan is still certain that these are the skills that he will be using for the rest of his life.

Familar Bond: Owl
By selecting this Background, you gain an Owl (specifically, Porridge, a Peace Owl) as a familiar. Note that you may have only one Familiar.
The Peace Owl is a stately bird, capable of flying for hours and of offering sage advice in matters of love, politics, and war; the honorary "Minister" precedes many of this breed's names. They don't have much of a sense of humor, from most accounts, but they make up for that, socially, in sheer intimidation power - and, of course, in devoted friendship to their chosen humans.

Inheritance: A Spy’s Stealth
By selecting this Background, you will receive Black Clothes and a Spy Glass. You also begin with an extra level to your skill at both Moving Silently and Hiding.
On the day Dolan left for the Academagia, his uncle handed over to him the items that once led to his own success.

 

 Dolan Durne comes from a family of Strozzan nobility. He is the third son, and the third son in his family is supposed to be the Spymaster serving his eldest brother. Learning he had talent for magic had been a surprise for everyone, even him, but his parents decided that knowing magic would never be a disadvantage, although they warned him against attracting too much attention at the Academagia.

image.png.991bf87a60384ce9bfa5c2c078fa7d3c.png

Dolan’s Familiar, Porridge was the first sign of Dolan’s magical skills. Dolan named the bird Porridge in the hope that it would be too offended to stay. Over time though, he learned to appreciate his partner somewhat, and secretly sees him as a friend. Sometimes though, Dolan thinks Porridge doesn’t approve of his future career as a spy, and would much prefer that Dolan became a proper wizard.

Now let’s start the actual game. In accordance with the way the text is written, and by the example of Bobbin Threadbare, this lets play will be written in second person. Some text will be altered in order to fit with the character and story we will create as we go.

 

Finding the Academagia was easy. The building was absolutely massive. But that was the same reason why now that you were inside, the task of actually finding your dorm was so impossible. You were lost, and Porridge was off doing who knows what, hunting rats or something. What you needed to do was find one of your classmates and ask for directions, or maybe a professor.

It’s a student that you manage to find first, a girl, wearing similar robes to yours, but with a much more ostentatious gold collar and trimmings. You’re glad you didn’t go for whatever college has robes like that.

Dolan50.png.2f8fad64634608b4f6cdebe90148e59c.png  “Hi, this is a little awkward, but I’m lost.”

She smiles, but there’s something cold about her blue eyes.

Cosetta.png.d6b28d29f7dfa0ff65c1067310603506.png  “Lost, or just trying to get somewhere you’re not supposed to?”

Dolan50.png.2f8fad64634608b4f6cdebe90148e59c.png  “Lost. I don’t plan on getting in trouble.” You smile, “But if you’re up to no good, it’s none of my business.”

Cosetta.png.d6b28d29f7dfa0ff65c1067310603506.png  “I’m not, and don’t smirk at me! Who are you, anyway?”

She sounds offended by your comment, and you suppose you’ve put your foot in your mouth somehow.

Dolan50.png.2f8fad64634608b4f6cdebe90148e59c.png  “Dolan Durne.”

Cosetta.png.d6b28d29f7dfa0ff65c1067310603506.png  “Oh. As in, the North Strozzan noble family? Then I’ll be sure not to take you at your word.”

She turns and stalks off, without giving you directions, or even telling you her name. What a weird girl.

 

After looking around a little longer, you find someone else, wearing less gaudy robes.

 

Dolan50.png.2f8fad64634608b4f6cdebe90148e59c.png  “Hello, my name’s Dolan.”

Aymeri.png.b5bbb4bbd4c61206fa38dd02abaa2db7.png  “Oh, hey. Aymeri Couer.”

Dolan50.png.2f8fad64634608b4f6cdebe90148e59c.png  “You wouldn’t happen to know where the Mordivus common room is?”

Aymeri.png.b5bbb4bbd4c61206fa38dd02abaa2db7.png  “Wow! Never thought I’d meet someone who didn’t know their own college. It’s Morvidus. Oh, yeah, I can get you there, but I’m technically not allowed in, since I’m from Aranaz.”

 

He takes you there, and you talk. It’s clear he thinks of himself as a sneaky person, but he makes more noise sneaking than you do just walking. He’d be thrilled if he knew you were a spy, but you’re not sure if he could actually keep it a secret.

 

You make it to your room, and find Porridge, already inside.

Dolan50.png.2f8fad64634608b4f6cdebe90148e59c.png  “Oh, of course. You know, I asked this weird girl for directions, and I think there’s something off about her. So, you and me are going to watch her today, see if we can figure anything out.”

Porridge.png.7f31cc52be7fc56b3daaeb2a36123942.png  “Hoo.”

Dolan50.png.2f8fad64634608b4f6cdebe90148e59c.png  “You would say that. We won’t do anything weird, just see what she’s up to, if there’s anything off about her. I’m not going to break into her room or anything. Although you could probably go in through the window.”

 Porridge.png.7f31cc52be7fc56b3daaeb2a36123942.png  “Hoot!”

Dolan50.png.2f8fad64634608b4f6cdebe90148e59c.png  “Fine, we’ll just follow her.”

This next part is the introduction, letter from Gera, and all of that. I'm going to be putting all of that in a spoiler tag, because it's boring and basically the same as every other first day of every other character.  If you've played the game before, or read another LP, especially one about Dolan Durne, I'd recommend skipping it

Spoiler

 

So, here it is. Past the disturbingly huge city of Mineta, past the famous gates of the Academagia, past days of sunburn and nights of motion sickness and all the other pleasures of traveling in a hurry, you find yourself in your new home: a big, warm dorm room with a sickly sweet smell and a window view of a big stretch of grass and churned mud that’s probably an athletic field. A good place to rest, but otherwise... well, just a room.

 For the first time in your life, you don’t have a family member nearby, unless you count Porridge. Your old life – your old destiny – has been left behind. Until you graduate or get yourself expelled, you’re at the Academagia, to learn magic, for all the good it will do you in the real world

There are a couple of boxes waiting for you in front of your armoire; some tiny amount of stuff inside them came from home, but the rest is of the school. Textbooks, uniform robes, gods only know what else. Putting them away will be work, and you’re not in the mood just yet.

You want to see magic. You want to see kids your own age. You want to see kids your own age using magic.

It’s at this point that you notice the letter on your bed – tips from the room’s last occupant. You skim it: you can change the plans on your calendar to determine what you’re going to do in a day. Check. If strange things happen around you, you shouldn’t be afraid to fail; failing teaches you new skills. A bit bleak, but fine. Train in skills to improve them, one step at a time. Good. Study for classes at the same time in order to excel at tests. Ugh. Familiars, Bonds, whatever.

Suddenly, you’re interrupted by an adult voice, magically amplified and booming from… well, somewhere else.

"Attention, students! The wyverns are under control! I repeat, the wyverns are under control! However, for your own safety, please avoid making eye contact with the pirates! As they are under a particularly unhelpful Glamour - three demerits for Miss Cossins’ College! - their behaviour can be difficult to predict! The situation should be resolved shortly!"

Well.

This is your new life. You hope you can get a handle on it. At least you know can start with the letter. You take a seat at the windowsill, while Porridge looks over your shoulder.

What did this former occupant have to say?

 

Hello, new student!

My name’s Gera Tolmin, and your dorm room here was mine this time last year. Sorry about the smell - making your own candy isn’t as easy and splatter-free as they’d make you think! Stupid candy liars.

Anyway, I’m gone. By the time you read this, I’ve gone back home. It’s a long story, it involves pirates, and you’re probably better off not knowing it. And, look, I know you’re going to get a mentor by the end of your first day, and maybe it’ll be a good one. Mine just made me carry her books and told me to keep my eyes open, though, so maybe not. For what it’s worth, here’s what I wish someone had told me at the start.

In one of the boxes the College set out for you, you’re going to find a calendar. It’ll show you a week of your life at a time, and the people who run the school have already set it out for you. Five days a week they want you going to class, then going to class again, then resting. And, sure, you can do that!

At the start of every single day, though, you have the option of changing your plans. Change any and all entries you like – instead of going to class, you can try to cast a Spell! Instead of resting, you can go on an Adventure! If you go overboard, they’ll make you pay, but for the most part no one’s going to force you to do anything. Up until you Validate your actions – our funny way of saying "walk out the door," committing yourself to the day’s choices – your imagination is the limit!

 

You keep reading, there’s bound to be something useful, eventually.

 

Gera Continues:

The most interesting and unpredictable things will hit you when you’re not trying to do school stuff, let’s say that up-front. Random events will just wander up and smack you on the side of the head while you’re in the middle of your own business, and you’ll probably go out looking for Adventures (which usually continue off and on for days at a time). What both have in common is that they’re going to challenge you; you’ll find a problem, you’ll think of two or three ways you might get around it – or maybe you’ll Investigate and find a better way – and you’ll make a choice.

Here’s one of the places where I went wrong: it’s fine if you make mistakes. You’re young! You’re magical! The world is your oyster, or whatever seafood you like! If you fail a challenge, sure, you’ll get stressed out, or confused, or even beaten up, but you’ll also learn enough about the skill you tried to use to be able to train in it. [If you succeed, you’ll learn stuff and find stuff and impress people and become super-awesome and all the rest. But I figure that goes without saying.]

 

Not exactly the trove of knowledge you were hoping for, but it’s something.

 

Gera Continues

Training is a big deal – you can find it listed as a choice on your calendar under "Action." Here, too, learn from my lousy example: I didn’t do enough. There are hundreds of little skills out there for a kid to master, and some of them combine together to make big skills – so, like, if you learn about Hiding and Lying and working Lockpicks, you’re going to find out you’re learning how to be a Spy. Learn about Baking and being a Greengrocer and learning Recipes, and you’re learning how to be a Cook. Right? Right.

Now, when you Train, you take a Step toward mastering whatever little skill you choose. Some skills take more Steps than others, both because they’re harder and because... well, maybe they’re Intelligence skills, and you’re kind of a moron. If so, hey! Me too! Or maybe they’re skills that require Finesse, and your strengths are of the mind. Whatever. Work at any skill long enough, though, you can get it to its Maximum (usually around level 10), no matter how dense or clumsy you might be.

By the way, if you want to give yourself number scores... well, let’s talk about your skill with Music. If you can read Notation like a 3, you have a Voice like a 2, play Harpsichord like a 1, and all your other music-y skills are at 0, you’re a level 1 Musician. The level of the Parent Skill is always that of the weakest of your three best subskills. Which, yeah, is unfair a lot of the time. Sorry about that!

 

You’re a little surprised she talked about learning to be a spy. Could she know more about you than she was letting on?

 

Anyway, back to Training. A good place to start is with what we call the School Survival skills – making the most of your natural curiosity, getting to know your familiar (more on that in a minute), learning to study effectively, learning to keep the other kids from making your life miserable. All good stuff! Some of those little skills can also teach you enough to Train other skills, or show you how to pull off cool Actions or complicated Abilities – so getting good enough at general Social Skills will let you learn how to guide Conversations, or Listen to a friend grumble for hours at a time without yawning. A Schoolyard Education will teach you how to throw a Punch without breaking your hand. That kind of thing.

I know, it sounds complicated. I promise, though, once you start you pick it up fast.

 

Not a bad idea from Gera! Your experience with people your own age is rather limited, but a friend could be a useful tool in the right circumstances, especially if that friend is a wizard. You’re even starting to get used to the smell in your dorm room!

 

Gera Continues:

Right, what else? Oh, for the record: Training isn’t the same thing as Studying. They're separate Actions. Basically, Training teaches you how to use a skill; Studying teaches you how to talk about a subject in class to get good grades. You'd think they'd be the same thing, but they're not.

All Classes will actually Train you off and on in various skills; all you have to do is sit in your desk every day. Studying you have to do outside of Class. It raises your Study Level, and the Study Level is a big part of how well you’re going to do on tests. [The good news is that every Class only has the one Study Level. It's not like skills, where you have to Train in three at a time to raise a Parent Skill Level.] You can be the most amazing Glamour wizard in all Elumia, and if your Study Level is 1, you’re just going to choke when it comes to writing out what you know how to do. Alternatively, there are people out there who can’t cast a single spell without breaking their fingers, but can end a year of Glamour classes with 102%.

Here’s a basic tip. To get the best grades in your Classes, make sure your main Skill and your Study Levels are all at 5 by the start of your fourth month in the school (which would be Cheimare, unless they’ve really moved the calendar around because of those idiot pirates), and make sure they’re all at 10 by the end of the academic year. So, come Cheimare, if you’re taking Incantation, you’re going to want three of your four Incantation subskills (Incantation Methods, Incantation Phemes, Incantation Spells and Theory of Incantation) at 5, and you’ll want your Study Level at 5. Simple!

 

The end is in sight.

 

Gera Continues:

Now, I said earlier I’d come back to familiars. Actually, wizards capitalize that word in formal settings, so "Familiars." Most kids get them early – dogs or cats start following them around, and then those dogs and cats start getting more able to understand humans, and then the next thing you know things are getting set on fire right and left. Here’s the thing: magic is weird. If you don’t have a Familiar now, something will probably find you. You may not like what comes looking, but neither one of you is going to have much choice at first. Something to do with the ley lines and imbalanced reactions and who knows what.

The connection between you and your Familiar is called a Bond, and you can kind of treat it like a skill – you can Train it. What we call the Bond of Iron has to do with the physical connection between you and your whatever it turns out to be – as Iron goes up, it just means as one of you gets more physically capable, the other’s likely to do the same. The Bond of Silver is the same, but with brainy stuff, and the Bond of Stars is... I don’t know. Fate. Astrology. Not my subject. The Parent Skill for those three – like the skill being a Spy to Hiding and Lockpicking and Lying – is just called Bond.

 

You look over your shoulder at Porridge. You’d never thought about why he’d picked you before. Porridge was still looking at the note from Gera. Well, one more reading session. Then Gera’s behind you.

 

Gera Concludes:

There’s a lot more you’ll pick up. Exploring will Inform you of new Locations, all of which give you either temporary bonuses or new things to do. Just be warned, if you’re exploring where you don’t have Visitation Rights, there’s a Chance you’ll be Discovered and get in trouble.

You’ll build Relationships, you’ll make Friends, and those friendships will make some things easier for you. You’ll annoy people and fight Duels. You'll obviously learn about Spells and Phemes - that's kind of the point. Maybe you’ll even run into pirates and monsters. I kind of hope you don’t, for your own sake, but... well, from the time the first dragon reared its evil head, it seems like humanity’s hopes haven’t always counted for very much.

Anyway, take care of the room, please. I always liked it.

Yours in magically burning things,

Gera.

 

All those pages of guidance, and Gera never told you where to find the kitchens. Typical.

Ah, well. Time to meet the school!

 

image.png.5781a24cd7a991fae984ba20fa8c71e1.png

You spend your day trying to memorize every movement made by the girl, who you quickly learn is named Cosetta Re, once you find her again. Cosetta talks to a number of students, but other than that, spends her day studying and working on schoolwork. It’s not until you’re hiding between bookshelves in the Venalicium Library that you notice that of the students she’s talked to today, a lot of them have been wearing robes like yours, even more than the ones from Avila, her own college. Porridge doesn’t think it’s suspicious, but you know better.

And luckily, you remember what everyone looked like. The girl wearing the same Aranaz robes as Aymeri with the pigtails turns out to be named Aveline Cincebeaux. The other girl with pigtails had been wearing a purple robes that turned out to belong to Hedi. Her name was Ausdauer Mollers. The girl in red and white robes was Honors Plafox, of Durand. In her own college, she spent a long time talking to Avgust Kostrodyrets and Aaran Ledale.

The kids from Morvidus she talked to were named Vettor Conta, Philippe Marchant, and Eliana Carosi.

Spoiler

Knock-knock-knock

Wondering who could be calling on you so soon, you cross the small room over to the door and open it hesitantly. “Yes?” you say.

A bright smile greets your nervous question. “Hi,” says the woman as her hand snakes out to grab yours in a firm shake. “I’m Oan…Oan Sung. I’m your Mentor.” Seeing the confused look you give her, she continues with, “And I’m guessing no one told you I was coming, did they?”

You shake your head – there was the thing in the letter, which you made sure to memorize, but it didn't give you much information. She smiles politely. “I remember what it was like,” she says. “Day before classes, barely settled in your room, no idea what’s in store…let me tell you, it’s better that way. People who come here full of stories about how things should be don’t have the easiest of times; they’re the ones who get stuck in detention the first day.”

Detention on the first day? How does that happen? Still nervous, you find it difficult to talk. Oan’s polite smile turns into a gentle one. “Come on, I’ll explain as we walk.” Pulling you out the door, Oan closes it behind you and leads you out of the Morvidus dormitories and into the fresh air; as she walks, she keeps up a steady patter that is as soothing as it is informative.

“Like I said, my name’s Oan, and before you can ask, yes, I’m from Sae’on. And before you can ask, let me say that yes, we know just how important magic is to our survival and no, I don’t plan on taking what I’ve learned and going back to spend my life there. Growing up in a city that needs to be under a bubble of air just to protect it from the volcano isn’t as interesting as people think it is, but yes, you do learn an awful lot about magic from an early age.” She looks over and smiles at you. “But now you can tell your friends that you’ve met someone from Sae’on. I’ll bet you none of them have.”

You smile awkwardly, mentally filing away the possibility that your classmates would be impressed by this, while reminding Oan of why she’s there. “Right…you’ve barely had time to unpack, let alone make friends. Don’t worry, you’ll get there.” Turning, she directs you to a worn pebble-lined path and steps up beside you as you start down the path. “You’re obviously curious about things, or you wouldn’t be here, so that’s a start. Everything you need to start with is right in here anyway,” she says, tapping your head lightly with her finger. “After all, you must have decent study habits to have come this far. Your social skills must have been good enough to pass the interview, and since the Academagia doesn’t accept total wimps, your ‘schoolyard education’ couldn’t be too bad off, now could it?”

Schoolyard education? She must be talking about that time in the yard when your supposed friend…but how did she know about that? Your confused look gives your thoughts away, and...

“I’m sorry,” she says, “I didn’t even explain what I’m doing here. Okay, here’s the quick version. Each incoming First Year is assigned a Second Year as a mentor, someone to help guide them during their first year at the Academagia. As tradition dictates, this Second Year -me- greets the First Year -you- on Juvenalia. Appropriate, is it not? You're like my new apprentice. Don't worry though, I won't treat you like one," she gives a little laugh. "Anyway, it seems there was a little mix up in the registrar’s office this year, though, because they took in three last-minute additions and ran out of mentors. Legate Orsi asked around for the best mentor from last year, and my name popped up enough that he asked me personally to draw a name from a hat and mentor that student.” Her smile crinkled the corners of her eyes. “And when the Legate asks you personally to do him a favor, you don’t really say no, do you? Still, some First Years don’t want to be hassled by someone older than them, so you have a choice to make. Do you want to have me as a mentor, or should I just let you go back to your room?”

“Well, I’d be happy to hear anything you can tell me,” you say, trying not to sound like you need the information too badly.

Oan nods. “I figured as much, but it never hurts to ask. Come on, let’s head over to the Great Hall and we’ll talk about a few things.”

“See that building over there, the one with all the arches and white marble?” Squinting, you see buildings everywhere, most of which are encased in some kind of marble. Following her finger, though, you find the building she’s pointing at and raise your eyebrows. No wonder they call it the Great Hall!

Tall and cylindrical in design, the building seems made more of arched windows than of marble. From the outside, you can see a veritable forest of columns, and for a moment, you find yourself losing perspective as you see several gnomes walking in front of the Hall; it’s only when one of those ‘gnomes’ starts walking up the stairs that you realize they’re students like you!

“Yeah, it took my breath away the first time I saw it too,” Oan says. “The Great Hall is where you’ll take your meals, but it’s much more than that. It’s a meeting place, a study hall, a dueling ground…but only when there aren’t any Professors around, obviously; it’s also where students go when they’re assigned Hall Session and Detention, so we’d better talk about how to avoid those two things.

“I don’t know how it was at your last school, or even if you went to any schools before this, but here at the Academagia, there are two kinds of Reprimands: Academic and Conduct. Most people only get Academic Reprimands if they stink at a class during the Midterm exams; Professors don’t like failing students, but they won’t pass someone just because of their family connections. Well, they usually don’t pass students because of that, but it’s happened before, so I’m sure it’ll happen again. Still, if you don’t have good connections and stink up a class, you’ll get assigned to a Hall Session, which takes up the whole first day of your weekend, so make sure you don’t neglect your studies for your fun.

“The second kind of Reprimand is a Conduct Reprimand.” Oan tosses a smile over her shoulder and laughs. “Everyone gets at least one of these during a year, so don’t panic when you get hit with your first one. Lots of things can get you a Conduct Reprimand here, things like being in the wrong place and getting caught, being on the wrong side of a Professor’s temper, royally stinking-up an answer in class…lots of things, really.

"I think it's fair to say that the easiest way to get in trouble is just by being somewhere where you haven't been invited. Basically, almost anywhere you go, if you don't have official Visitation Rights, you have a chance of being discovered by someone who'd worry about what a kid your age alone is up to – even in a lot of shops, unfortunately – and who'd file a complaint with the school. Or with the guards. Or both.

"I don't mean to make you panic – usually, the odds are really low. Like, four or five in a hundred. But if you're seen carrying a flaming sword and giggling like a maniac, the odds can go way up.

"Don't ask me how I know that.

“Anyway.

“You’ll have to discover some things on your own, of course, but I’ll give you a quick brief on Conduct Reprimands. There are three grades, each of which goes hand-in-hand with a Detention. The first is a Caution, which isn’t so bad, really; you get three of these a month before moving up to the second grade, which is a Review. You get two Reviews a month before you’re in real trouble, which is the third grade. You don’t want to deal with a Discipline, but if you do, expect to spend a long time in Detention.” Oan’s voice takes on a personal hitch as she says, “Detention’s not all that bad, really, but the stuff that comes with a Discipline isn’t worth the hassle, believe me."

Oan leads you up the wide marble steps of the Great Hall, taking a single step with each extended stride. You’re forced to take two steps to her one, a fact that doesn’t escape Oan’s observant eye. “This whole building was built to remind students of two things. First, it was meant to remind us that we’re smaller than we think we are; no matter how important we all think we were when we got here, we have to remember that there’s a bigger world waiting for us after graduation. Secondly, it’s supposed to remind us of the days when the Wyrms ruled Men, thus pushing us to the perfection of our preferred crafts so we can fight the Dragons should the Empire call upon us.” She shook her head and laughed. “As if any Dragon Flights had made it past the Wall in the last century!”

Cresting the final step, she turns and waits for you to make the last few steps before continuing. “Now that the bad part is out of the way, let’s talk about the good stuff. There are two kinds of Exams: Midterms and Finals. The purpose of Midterms is to sort out who is failing and who is on the bubble. Finals, on the other hand, are meant to find the best of the best and shower them with honors. I’ve already told you what happens if you do poorly in your Midterms, so I won’t waste your time with that again. Suffice it to say that you’ll want to study at least enough to pass them comfortably. And before you ask, no, I don’t know how much is enough for you; each person is different, so you’ll just have to pace yourself and take your own risks. Finals boil down to this…pass your class or don’t plan on moving on with the rest of your friends. Skills and Studying are very important, got it?”

You nod your head, so Oan continues. “Spend as much time Studying as you want, but don’t forget to Train your Skills too. Training is easy…just take a couple of hours and work on something you already know about.” By now, Oan knows your confused look, so it’s easy for her to shift directions when she sees you’re lost. “Take Negation for an example. Negation is composed of Negation Methods, Negation Phemes, Negation Spells, and Theory of Negation. The more you train yourself on these Skills, the better your overall Negation will be. Some things you’ll want to do require you to be very good at Negation Methods or the Theory of Negation, but some things require you to be good at overall Negation. You can’t study Negation itself, only its component parts. The better you understand those parts, the better you understand the whole. Make sense?”

She pauses, thinking for a moment. "But don't get so wrapped up in studying that you neglect to have fun! You have got to mind your Emotions or you will definitely be burned out. It's all right to take a break from time to time, go shopping, chat with friends or play a prank."

Nodding, you let Oan lead you into the building. Her voice takes on an awed tone as she leads you through the forest of columns and towards center of the building. A great granite dais rises from the marble floor, a good ten paces square. On top of the dais are seven different colored clay pots, each holding a single incredibly dead looking flower. “These are the Flos Fragi,” she says.

She turns to you. “No matter how poor your Elumian is, everyone in the Academagia knows these words,” she says. “The Flos Fragi, or Exploding Flowers, are the symbol of each College’s Merit. When a student does something that makes a Professor happy, they award a point or two to that student’s College; the Flos Fragi grow a bit for each Merit point until, when a threshold is crossed, a seed shoots out of the plant’s flower through the hole in the ceiling and explodes into the College’s colors! The plant doesn’t die, but the flower loses its leaves until the College is awarded Merit again. The plant grows with each Merit point too, so even after your College’s flower explodes, you know how far ahead of the other Colleges you are.”

Oan’s broad smile tells you she’s seen her fair share of her College’s colors displayed over the school’s sky. “Here’s the rub, though. Only the first College to cross the Merit threshold gets to have their plant explode…the others just drop their flowers’ petals when they cross the threshold and start over. And the best part is that the winners of each level of Merit win something from the Professors! The first prize is always a small purse of Pims, but after that, it’s different every year. Only the winners get the prize, so the competition is fierce!”

Oan walks you around the rest of the building, pointing out where Hall Sessions are usually held and where each College usually takes their meals. When she finishes the tour, she says, “So, now it’s time I got to know a bit more about you. What would you say your best strength is, the thing that really makes you deserve to be here at the finest school in all of Elumia?”

You aren’t sure what you can say to that. She obviously wants something a little more personal than that you have some sort of magical talent, but you’re not about to tell her that you’re a spy. You flash back to the memory training you were doing when she walked in. Being able to memorize things would be a good trait for a wizard as much as anyone else.

“I’ve got a pretty good memory.” you tell her.

Oan nods. “I thought as much,” she says. “My advice to you is to Train to your strength, at least for the first few weeks. Don’t neglect your studies, of course, but focusing on your strengths for a little bit might pay off big for the next time we meet.”

“Next time?” you say.

“Of course! Mentors don’t just do one thing and disappear. Tell you what; let’s plan on meeting again when you feel ready. You can fill me in on how things are going then, and maybe we can see about answering a few more questions. Any time you want to meet, you can look me up with the Adventure Action. The Adventure you are looking for is called 'Request a Meeting with your Mentor'. Good luck, and enjoy your time at the Academagia!”

It isn’t until you’re heading back to the common room that you learn what’s happened. Philippe bumps into you so hard you almost fall over. Eliana walks up to you.

Eliana.png.349e9146896989b51d5c73402eca35d2.png  “Are you really a Durne?”

Dolan50.png.2f8fad64634608b4f6cdebe90148e59c.png  “Yes.”

She makes a face like she just swallowed something foul, and walks away. As she walks past Vettor, he sticks out his tongue at you.

Well, it looks like Cosetta didn’t like you either, and she’s spread some nasty rumor. Knowing your family, and how she recognized the name, it’s probably something true, too. Well, hopefully she isn’t going to do anything worse, but she obviously targeted other Morvidus students. You’d admire her cunning if you didn’t want to punch her.

That’s right, 30% of our college already doesn’t like us. If you’re wondering why the total number of students that hate us is only nine, I think some of random bonuses canceled someone out. 

Gains for the day
Porridge’s Bond of Iron increased by 1
Memorization increased by 3
--Added 1 Reminder Sheet
--Air Pheme Learned

That's day one down.  Tomorrow, Dolan takes his "first" classes, and we'll see what he thinks of them.

Edited by Greywacke

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Your first class is Dialectic, taught by Tarvixio Sido. There are some mutterings when you walk in, Aaran Ledale saying something about you to Honors Plafox, but you ignore them, sure you know what they’re talking about. Professor Sido’s class is interesting, but you feel like you walk out the door without having learned anything real about his subject.

Next is Glamour with Professor Ringraeyer. The moment she walks through the door, you straighten in your seat. Iustus doesn’t, and she seems happy to criticize him, and anyone else who slouches. She starts off by explaining the dress code. It’s hard to adjust so quickly after the lax professor Sido, who probably wouldn’t have blinked if you had walked in wearing, well, anything.

Your last class before lunch is History. No sooner has the last student sat, than Viada began to speak, telling you about the height of the Empire’s power in so much detail you wonder if he had lived through it. He ends class by teaching you how to draw the Intelligence pheme, so you can’t say he isn’t teaching you magic.

 

 

After lunch, you have some time before your next class, so you wander through the halls, checking that you know where your teachers’ offices are. As you walk past Professor Knoht’s office, her door slams shut, and a gust of wind almost knocks you off your feet. You hear the professor shout at you for help.

Marlein.png.e763a4d2fab43e14d70bc711b83ecc5e.png  “I opened a new book and triggered some sort of magical defense mechanism. It seems I’m now locked in my office.”

She asks you to go into town to find the bookseller.

Marlein.png.e763a4d2fab43e14d70bc711b83ecc5e.png  “He sold me this book, so perhaps he knows how to disarm the spell.”

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She probably hasn’t seen you, and you’re not taking incantation, so you could just keep on walking, but it’s not like you’re in a big rush. Besides, it’s never bad to be on a teacher’s good side.

You’re already on your way when you realize that just barging in and asking the bookseller for help might cause him to get angry at you. Still, you want to get the solution.

You watch the bookseller for a few minutes, but you really can’t see anything helpful. Frustrated, you pace back up the street, and only a few stalls before the bookseller’s, you find a petseller. You notice a collection of mini tortoises on sale… maybe this would be a good idea? You look at the tortoises in the glass tank and see one with a particular pattern on its shell that you remember to be rare, and buy that one.

The bookseller gives you a surly look when you ask for help and barks at you angrily for disrupting his business, but his eyes widen when he sees the tortoise; apparently, he’s a collector of rare tortoises. He goes into the back and returns with a slip of old parchment almost happily, and is ecstatic when you hand the tortoise over to him. Back at school, after you have Porridge fly the document in through a window, Professor Knoht reads it over and opens the door. You receive a surprisingly enthusiastic handshake, and then the professor hurries off to spend some time outdoors.

I loved this event. There were a few typos, but it was a lot of fun.

 

You manage to free her just in time to make it to Revision. Lisle Aventyrare is young, and seems more excited than a teacher ought to be. She tells you that she plans to teach you exciting magic, and you get the feeling that what she means is that she’ll never teach you anything subtle.

I have always and probably will always pronounce her name as Lisa in my head.

Calligraphy is taught by Sixt von Rupprecht. He seems charming, but there’s a light in his eye that makes you uneasy, like he’s measuring you for something and you’re not sure what it is. He makes everyone write a few lines and sign them in the front of their books, so that you have something to compare yourself to on your last day.

Finally is Zoology, taught by a scarred Regnault Pachait. The first day is spent mostly looking at dead bugs, and he encourages the students to get a really good look at their horrifying little faces. It’s not a great class to have right before dinner, but you guess it’s better than if it was after lunch.

Gains for the day:
The Middle Empire increased by 1
--Intelligence pheme learned
Insects increased by 1
Opacity pheme learned
Persuasion increased by 1
Relationship with Marlein Knoht increased by 1

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During dinner, you find yourself sitting next to a girl you recognize from your Glamour class.

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  “Hi, those purple robes mean you’re in Hedi, right?  I'm trying to get a handle on the colleges.”

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  “Huh? Oh, yeah. I’m Isabeau.”

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  “My name is Dolan Durne.”

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  “I know, actually. Sorry, Aveline is in Rhetoric with me, and she’s kind of...”

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  “She doesn’t like me, I take it. That’s sort of going around.”

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  “Don’t worry too much about it, this sort of thing never gets far, and you seem nice, so once people get to know you, it’ll die off.”

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  “That’s comforting, I guess. Anyway, I wanted to ask, what’s Hedi like?”

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  “Oh, it’s great! You might think Grammar and Rhetoric are boring, but they’re not. Well, Grammar’s a little boring, I suppose, but Rhetoric is great. What about Morvidus? How is Zoology?”

You crack a smile.

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  “Well, it’s not what I expected. The other students are kind of strange, and Zoology is a little weird. I’ve never much liked animals.”

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  “Then how did you wind up in Morvidus? I mean, if you don’t like animals, it’s a little weird.”

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  “Porridge wanted me to take Zoology to learn more about birds, and he seemed to like Morvidus. As my Familiar, we’re in the same college, so I figured he deserved a say.”

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  “Well, I think I know why you’re in Morvidus, then,” she laughs, “but if you ever want to switch, I’ll put in a good word for Hedi.”

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  “Hey, Isabeau, come on.”

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  “Coming! I promised I’d help Herbert look for his ink, but I’ll see you around.

Did I spend hours save scumming to redo what happened the first time?  Yes.

Did I completely forget that because I wasn't informed of her I couldn't reuse the same text as the first time.  Also yes.

Gains for the day:
Infiltration increased by 1
--Relationship with Isabeau Glorieux increased by 2

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Gains for the day:
Glamour Methods increased by 1
--Impression Pheme learned
Birds increased by 1
--Bird Pheme learned
Acrobatics increased by 1
--Unleash Pheme learned

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Red means it’s not very likely to work, but even if Befriend fails, you get a bonus to your relationship (I think this is a bug but it's a useful bug), so I figure it’s worth a shot.

During Glamour class, you watch Isabeau interact with the other students. It’s kind of amazing to you how friendly everyone is towards her. She’s got making people like her down to a science, or an art form, or something like that, it’s really quite impressive.  Your thought the previous day was correct, she would make a great spy.  If you’re going to be a wizard spymaster, you might as well have wizard spies. 

You scribble a note asking her to meet you in the Great Hall after dinner, but Contzel Ringraeyer notices that you're not paying attention, and asks to see you in her office after class.  You pass Isabeau the note when you leave.

While waiting in Ringraeyer's office, you notice a small book on the desk. It keeps drawing your attention, no matter how much you try to turn away.

In fact, it seems to be beckoning you with little flutters of its cover and first few pages. You find yourself edging closer and closer to the desk and the alluring book.

She did say she would be back soon, but does that mean in a couple of minutes…or perhaps you have enough time for a little spying?

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You suddenly feel a slight hint of shame for even considering rummaging through someone’s property when they could be back at any moment, and you aren’t even looking for anything specific. You quickly grab the book and prepare to put it away, but as soon as you take hold of it, you can’t seem to toss it out of your hands.

Finally, unable to resist despite your misgivings, you open the book and take a look inside.

You find Contzel Ringraeyer’s face staring back at you.

Contzel.png.5a50efc18afb666c7b05cf6a068dfedf.png  “I knew it! Another troublemaker!”

Looks like you fell for one of her “mischief” traps, and you will no doubt hear of it from her when she arrives in person.

 

When you get to the Great Hall, Isabeau's already there.

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  "Hey Dolan, how did it go with Ringraeyer?"

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  "Oh, it was terrible.  She left this book out, and I think she did some sort of glamour on it to make me open it, and then yelled at me about it.  Between her and Cosetta Ru, I think I'm going to end up in detention sooner or later."

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  "That's awful!  Don't worry about it though, even if you get detention.  Herbert Downes was actually given detention on Tuesday, so you won't be the first."

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  "Thanks.  I wanted to ask you about something.  Like I said, I've got a lot of enemies, and no real allies.

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  "Enemies?  You mean Cosetta?"

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  "Exactly.  But I don't really have anyone on my side.  I was thinking the two of us could work together, help each other out when we need help."

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  "..."

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  "You want to be friends with me?"

Dolan50.png.72777a4b0b218f47c19335346888fe52.png  ""Yeah, what do you think?"

Isabeau.png.2c1d09cdd08d6a826b5512dd5829cd37.png  "I guess you seem alright, what'll we call ourselves?”'

Dolan50.png.3723590aabe1ae02a4b8686b2627da1b.png  “Call ourselves?”

Isabeau.png.51b060f7c8eeb31c48dd80435c165303.png  “We’re forming a Clique, right? We need to give it a name.”

Dolan50.png.3723590aabe1ae02a4b8686b2627da1b.png  “...Why?”

Isabeau.png.51b060f7c8eeb31c48dd80435c165303.png  “We just do.  It’s tradition.”

Dolan50.png.3723590aabe1ae02a4b8686b2627da1b.png  "Fine.  How about The Network?”

Isabeau.png.51b060f7c8eeb31c48dd80435c165303.png  “The Network? What does that mean?”

You shift your weight back and forth uncertainly.

Dolan50.png.3723590aabe1ae02a4b8686b2627da1b.png  “My uncle said that I could use my time at the Academagia for Networking.”

Before she can realize that you don’t fully understand it either, you tell her your secret.

Dolan50.png.3723590aabe1ae02a4b8686b2627da1b.png  "He’s my family’s Spymaster, and I’m his successor. I’m a spy.”

Isabeau.png.51b060f7c8eeb31c48dd80435c165303.png  “Really? Sounds interesting, what'll we do?”

Dolan50.png.3723590aabe1ae02a4b8686b2627da1b.png  "I think we should pass secret information around between us, have secrets, try to learn other people’s secrets, stuff like that.”

 Isabeau.png.51b060f7c8eeb31c48dd80435c165303.png  “Kind of like stealing information.  I've got fast hands, so we could communicate by passing notes in secret.  See you around, Dolan”

Gains for the day:
Revision Spells increased by 1
Became friends with Isabeau Glorieux
--Gained the Big Haul
Stress increased by 1

Alright, we got our first friend and formed our Clique!  Unfortunately we haven't actually gotten to the part of the Tutorial where Oan tells us what that means.  Let's do that over the weekend.

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Gains for the day:
Famous Dilemmas increased by 1
Revision Methods increased by 1
--Teach pheme learned
Escape Artist increased by 1
--Finesse pheme learned

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Deciding that the time is right, you send Oan a message asking her to meet you in the afternoon. In reply, she asks you to meet her in the Garden Gallery, telling you how to find it in case you haven’t been there on your own yet. At the proper time, you make your way to the garden and take a bench in the middle of the lush area. Cradled between the two buildings, the Garden Gallery has many tall, leafy trees seemingly interspersed at random by shocks of tall grasses; though the placement of the grasses is supposed to seem random, you feel as if you detect a pattern if you let your eyes unfocus just so….

The sound of a familiar voice draws your attention to a small clump of girls walking lazily down the center of the garden. Students everywhere are flitting about hither and thither, but Oan and her friends are taking things slow. You wave tentatively, wondering if Oan meant for you to meet at another time, but Oan sees you and, saying a few words of goodbye to her friends, strolls over.

“Sorry if I’m late, but one of my friends needed some help with a little project of hers, and since I’m better at Incantation than she is, she asked if I’d step in and do her a small favor. What are friends for? Of course I helped her…that’s what members of a Clique do.”

 “Clique?” you say, “That’s what Is- that’s what someone I know said. What does it mean?”

The corners of Oan’s mouth jump down. “Sorry, it sounds kind of exclusive. It’s not meant to; it’s just that the Professors have taken to calling groups of friends Cliques, and when Professors keep saying things like that, it’s only a matter of time before the students are too. Look, I’ll explain about Relationships and Cliques.”

“Relationships are pretty easy to define; it’s just how one person feels about another person, be it good or bad. Relationships can be changed by actions, abilities, and even certain spells. Having a good relationship with a person can mean having good help to draw on while you’re here at the Academagia, but it also means putting up with their problems as well as their triumphs. Good friends might ask you to be their Second in a Duel, which is a whole ‘nuther story, but they might also ask you to sneak around with them for a midnight kitchen raid. Friends are constant sources of amusement, believe you me.”

 “Only good friends can form Cliques, and that’s where the real fun is. Cliques are groups of like-minded people, or at least people who can get along together better than most. People who are in Cliques can take advantage of each others’ skills, abilities...great stuff, really. You can’t just force someone to be in your Clique, though; you have to ask before you can Befriend someone. I’ll give you this hint...the better your Relationship is with a person, the better your chance of Befriending them into your Clique. Got it?

 You nod, thinking that you’ve taken it all in. Oan asks if you got all that, and you nod. She says “Good. Now there are many ways to increase your relationship with someone. Learning how to Gossip is one way to do do it. Just helping someone out at the right time is another. Now, look over there. Do you see that person?”

You look and see Catherine Chard struggling to get a book back from a plant, which has lashed several vines around the book and is engaging the poor student in an embarrassing game of tug-of-war.

 “Why don’t you go over there and see if you can help her get that book away from the five-hand tree,” Oan says. “It might help start you down the path of friendship we were just talking about.”

Catherine Chard is in a couple of your classes, but you don’t know her very well.

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You clearly remember something that was said in the common room a few days ago about some of the flora around the school. “The five-hand tree just likes to play.” you remember hearing one of the older students say. “If you just let it think it’s won, it’ll give up whatever it took and leave you be.” Confident in your ability, you walk over to Catherine and ask to take a shot. Raising her eyebrows, she gestures for you to take your best shot. At least, she gives you some sort of gesture. With a confidence born straight out of memory, you take a hold of the book and loudly weep at your loss, bemoaning the fact that neither you nor your very good friend could possibly be strong enough to manhandle the book away from such a winning tree. Upon hearing these wonderful words, the five-hand tree promptly releases the book and returns to its starting position, eager to play and win against someone else.

Catherine.png.b2458c5c29ff72e01120d32517e1a792.png  “Thanks.  You’re the Durne boy, right?  It’s nice to see someone else who actually deserves to be here.  Not like all the impoverished riff-raff they let in.”

Catherine Chard's goal in life is to raise the fee of the Academagia so that only elites can go here.  She's the worst.

Catherine gives you a smile before rushing off to class. Walking back to Oan, she says, “Great job, just like that! I promise that she already thinks of you as a better friend now than a day ago, which means you’re that much closer to building your first Clique.” Oan tilts her head not noticing your doubtful look, and listens to the Bell Tower chime the quarter hour. Heaving a sigh, she says, “Sorry, but I promised one of my friends that I’d meet them in fifteen minutes at...well, it doesn’t matter where. How about this...you work on what we talked about the last two times and send me a note when you’re ready to learn some more, okay?” Before you can answer, Oan dashes off the same way she came, leaving you to ponder your next move and looking forward to the next meeting.

Gains for the day:
Composure increased by 1
Porridge’s Bond of Silver increased by 1
Relationship with Catherine Chard increased by 1
--No, she’s the worst.
Flowers increased by 1
Charm pheme learned

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“Woah, woah kid, you can’t go in there!” The guard’s lowered pike brings you to a half more so than his words, but just because he can stop your body doesn’t mean he can stop your eyes. You watch as the chipmunk scurries under the pike and through the gate to the Imperial Reserve with your extra credit report for Zoology mashed firmly between its teeth. Pointing at the escaping rodent, you shout at the guard that you need your parchment for tomorrow’s class and you don’t have time to redo everything – it’s already past your normal bedtime. “Better to redo your work than lose your life,” the guard says as he returns his pike to the ready position. “You do know what’s in there, right?”

 You’ve heard the stories, of course; according to them, every manner of enchanted creature just shy of a dragon lives at the heart of the Reserve, and some of the more outlandish stories don’t stop shy of dragons. It’s tough to decide which rumor is your favorite, really; do you prefer the one with the ancient Automaton factory in the heart of the Reserve or do you like the one with the lighthouse that lets you see exactly seventeen days into the future. Still, if the guard knows something you don’t….

 Dolan50.png.e453849d5c979887e6553060c7c7b6ce.png  "What's in there, exactly?"

“I don’t know either, and it’s better that way,” the guard replies to your questioning. “All I know is that it’s dangerous for students to enter without some sort of pass from a Professor.”

Dolan50.png.e453849d5c979887e6553060c7c7b6ce.png  “But there are ways in, aren’t there?”

Looking uncomfortable, the guard says, “Well, I suppose there are ways in and out, but I don’t know of any, and that’s the way I want it to stay. Now move along, shoo!”

You slink away feeling more upset over being called ‘kid’ and stuff more than losing your paper. You could get in if you wanted to; the question is why would you want to?

Because it's there?

That's good enough for you, but starting the year with extra credit in at least one class might buy you some breathing room too.

But, of course, there are other questions you might ask.  What’s in the Reserve? Is it really that dangerous?

Hmm...your uncle always said with great danger usually comes great reward. It’s a gutsy task, but you could probably sneak your way into the Reserve and at least take a look, right? What harm could come in that?

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We've got a few options here, plus a Negotiate and Perception option, but Scouting is green, so let's do this!

This is an awful big wall to patrol; surely there are a few spots where you can cross. As casually as you can, you walk away from the guards and head back towards the school. When you’re out of sight, you dash to the left and run parallel to the wall for several minutes before cutting back towards the Imperial Reserve. Arriving at the wall, you begin scouring the length, looking for a place that is low enough for you to cross. You catch sight of a small indentation in the top of the wall just across from a small hill and realize you’ve found your candidate, for hanging down from the indentation are several thick vines that look to be just within reach. Positioning yourself on the hill, you leap towards the wall and grab hold of the vines. Using your superior strength and climbing skills, you muscle your way up the vine and drop down to the other side.

As soon as your feet touch the ground, you are overwhelmed by the sheer size of the trees with leaves the size of a horse’s head towering over you. Why didn’t you see this from your side? Confused, you climb back over the wall and drop down on the school’s side. Taking several steps back, you confirm that you can’t see the giant trees on the other side, but now that you know something’s off, you can see the shimmering of an invisibility spell cutting off sight of the Imperial Reserve from the prying eyes of the children at school.

Hmm...what is it again that they’re hiding in there?

That’s a concern for a later day though. For now, you content yourself with crossing back over one last time, collecting your paper, and getting back to your room.

Gains for the day:
Porridge’s Bond of Stars increased by 1
Curiosity increased by 1
--Learned about Cartography.
Climb increased by 1
Zoology extra credit increased by 2

Uliva competed for merit
--Morvidus won the first merit prize for 20 pims!

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While working on this one, I realized that I haven't been putting the skill increases that we get from our classes into the gains for the day.  I've gone back and done that.  It's kind of weird, but they're never actually stated in the results of the day.

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Gains for the day:
Theory of Revision increased by 1
--Amplify pheme learned
--Power pheme learned
Illustration increased by 1
--Learned about Illumination cubicle
----Gained Limning
----
It says we got this from Zoology, but that can’t be right.
Porridge’s infiltration increased by 1

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Gains for the day:
Revision Phemes increased by 1
--Corporeal pheme learned
--Solid pheme learned
----This Pheme increases your violin and lute skills, obviously.
Curiosity increased by 1

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You pause a moment to rest.

You take a seat on the ground, wipe the sweat from your brow, and regain your breath. When your strength returns, you rise to your feet, and brush off your robe. However, you’re soon startled by the sudden discovery of a large red troll standing in front of you.

The troll has red skin, big white eyes and a huge mouth. Oddly enough, the troll seems to be even more startled by you than you are of him.

Unfortunately, the troll regains his wits quicker than you do.

Before you can even move a muscle, the troll strikes an aggressive pose and readies himself to attack.

From the way you’re both positioned, your only escape is through the fierce looking troll.

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You don’t really want to fight but you’re going to have to do something to get this troll to leave you alone. You don’t think the creature is going to respond well to a “fighting is not the answer” speech so you decide to use your voice in a different way. You open your mouth and let loose with the loudest, most menacing scream you can manage. Your eyeballs bulge, your throat strains, and you’re pretty sure you must look like a crazy person as you take a threatening step forward and puff out your chest.

Your concerns are confirmed a moment later when the troll jumps back and gives you a clear “crazy person alert” look. He shakes his fist and promptly vanishes. Well done! If only your dignity had escaped quite so unscathed.

Wait, what? We actually didn’t get hit with stress or vitality damage. I can’t believe it.  

 

Gains for the day:
The Early Empire increased by 1
--Learned about Haejar Enthifal Cortath, Pages 19-22 (Shop)

----This sells something really great, but in order to use it properly, we’re going to need to up our skill in Elumian.
Mammals increased by 1
--Animal pheme learned
First Principles increased by 1
Relationship with Tarvixio Sido increased by 1
Intimidation increased by 1
--Gained Extortion
--Follow pheme learned

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Despite the way that the end-of-day-rapport is phrased Classes only report skill level increases, not skill step increases. And yes, classes do teach skill steps outside of their own subskills on occasion. Zoology, for reference, teaches Anatomy, Animal Husbandry, Biology, 2× Conceal, Dance, 2× Illustration, 2× Library Knowledge, Painting, Practical Jokes and Seeds as it's outliners.

As for that...RE? Adventure stage? Either or, there are the odd exits that don't do anything, either by design or by accident. Other oddities you might run into are events that give you an Emotion (which will promptly vanish because if you could maintain it you'd already have it) and one exit that adds a random student to your Clique for some reason. Last time I got it it rolled Sigalis du Sonmeil so...that was fun.

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Oh, that's actually not true, at least for me.  Could be a bug, but it's not reporting skill level increases.  I reverse engineer them from the wiki and something like this.

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It didn't do nothing, technically, but it gave me a skill step in intimidation (lost one in composure, but that doesn't do anything if you're at a skill rung, so I was fine).  I was mostly surprised that nothing bad happened, even though it was a green out in a random event.

Anyway, special bonus day because I started in on the next post and I have no idea what to do about anything that's going on now.

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You are wandering around the city of Mineta, minding your own business when you realize you must have taken a wrong turn. The walls look strange, and there is a disconcerting lack of people around you. “Hey you, I’ve got something for you!”

A suspicious hooded man stands in the shadows of an alley which you could have sworn wasn’t there before. You try to look into his eyes, but you are compelled to look at the glistening objects in his hand. He smiles. You’re not sure if the smile is kindly or menacing. “It’s good for your gesundheit!”

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You decide to take the glistening little gems.  Even though you were taught not to.  It’s not like you’re actually going to eat them!

Gains for the day:
Logic increased by 1
Glamour Spells increased by 1
--Saving Face spell learned
----Requires Appearance (unknown)
----Requires Impression (known)
The Middle Empire increased by 1
The History of Magic increased by 1
--Magic pheme learned
Forms increased by 1
Illustration increased by 1
Orthography increased by 1
--Wow, three bonuses from Calligraphy!
Mammals increased by 1
--Insincere pheme learned
--Fun fact:  In the academagia, zoology includes:  Worms.  Insects.  Fish.  Zoology does not include:  Lizards, snakes.
Elumian increased by 1
--Learned about Professor Sido’s office
----Gained Attend a Tutoring session with Professor Sido.
------This ability lets us gain two random language points, and our relationship with our Dialectic Professor, but we will only get the one we want, Elumian, 40% of the time.  Thoughts? 

And that’s everything for this day, no loose ends to tie up at all.  See you next time!

The candies start shuddering in your pocket.

You have gained CANDIES OF THE GNAWING VOID
--Eating these candies will open your mind to horrors from beyond time and space, informing you of all Gates skills and Expanding your Stress by 8.

Dolan’s curious, sure, but Gates magic is illegal, and he’s trying to keep his head down.  Then again, keeping these candies on him might be even worse, and just because he learns about them doesn't mean he has to learn to use them.  What should he do?

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Eh, been too long since I last played the game. Starting to forget stuff :rolleyes:. Anyway, you could manipulate the language lessons with Sido to give out +1 or, if you're a real masochist, +2 Elumian every time, but that would involve a lot of save/loading. I'd say it depends on whether you're interested in (inevitably save/load manipulating) cashing in a Favor with Professor Sido and/or the Bassan language adventure. I'd say the easiest and most fitting for a spy to manipulate is +1 Sleuthing skill max, which is a 1/8 chance to get (50% for +1 random Dialectic skill max, 25% it picks Sleuthing as the random skill).

As for Zoology, Reptiles are a part of it, but given the whole "twice enslaved by Dragons" thing it's not a very...celebrated field of study. Not available to first years.

As for the Candies I say keep them on you until you get the chance sell them for the 1 Pim they're worth, story-wise say you toss/destroy them somewhere. You'd think that a spy, of all people, should have the ability to teleport, but for that exact reason you're the last person who should have the ability to teleport - you'll use it, and that means that inevitably someone will notice your suspiciously speedy transits/entrances/exits and discover your hobbies. Not to mention the chance of randomly teleporting yourself into an elephant, because Chaos Factor.

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I'm gonna be honest, I literally had all of this ready a week ago.  I've just been busy with midterms.

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Not sure of what to do wit these candies that hold the promise of dark magic, you stow them in the back of your dresser for now.  If anyone finds them, you can just say someone gave them to you, and never told you that they were anything other than normal candy.  True enough.  Just throwing them out of the window or something seems dangerous in a way you can't quite describe.

You receive Oan’s note to meet you at the Campanile Walk with your Familiar; as you’ve come to expect, she leaves excellent directions as to how to find the location in case you didn’t already know. At the appropriate time, Oan meets you under the broad, leaf covered walk in a semi-private area, “Thanks for coming,” she says. She dips her hand into her pocket and pulls out a white mouse no larger than her palm.  You look at Porridge, but the owl doesn't seem hungry.  You're glad you did this in the morning, when he's just spent the night hunting, and is ready to sleep.  “This is Anastasia,” she says. “Anastasia is my Familiar; I’ve had her since before coming to the Academagia, and we’ve worked very hard together to train her so she can help me in my search for...well, for whatever I want to search for,” she says.

 Today’s lesson is going to be pretty short, since I have somewhere to be in a few minutes, but I wanted to give you a quick primer on Familiars. Most students don’t have their Familiar before coming to the Academagia, but my parents thought I should have a bit of an edge, given the stereotypes against our culture.” She holds out her hand and gestures for you to pet her mouse. Tentatively, you reach out and stroke the mouse. With a glance towards Oan, Anastasia carefully climbs onto the back of your hand and scurries up your arm to nose your neck. “She likes you,” Oan says with a giggle. “That’s good...I’ve worked hard on getting Anastasia to help judge character. The fact that she likes you says a lot about you; either you’re a good person at heart, or you’re pretty good at hiding your real tendencies.

Anyway, let me explain a bit about Familiars and how they act. See, Familiars are like close friends, only they’ve got almost no resources that you don’t give them. They can help or hinder you depending on how well you train them. Put it like this...when it comes to Familiars, you get out of them what you put into them. If you don’t train them, they won’t be useful. If you train them, they’ll come in handy. Of course, like everything else, spending time training your Familiar comes at a price; the more time you spend training them, the less time you have to train yourself.”

So far, everything Oan has said makes perfect sense, leaving you little to ponder. “Now that I’ve told you that,” she says, “there’s something to be said for spending time with your Familiar. You see, each Familiar has certain abilities that are unique to its breed, abilities that you’ll only get out of them by training and spending quality time with them. For example, you may not know it now, but Anastasia is a pretty good tracker. Now that she’s got your scent, she’ll be able to follow you around wherever you go for a good couple of days. She didn’t come that way...I had to work darn hard to make her this good. Now that she knows how to do this, she can’t unlearn it, so the time we spent together working on it was well worth the sacrifice in my own studies. Of course, that’s just my opinion, but there you go. So...feel like training your own Familiar a bit?”

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This won't be the last time I train a skill before we do an adventure that needs it.  I'd rather train up a skill to make it green than save scum or worse, experience failure.



“Sneakier, huh? Well, as it turns out, I have an idea that just might work.” Stepping back, Oan looks your Familiar over a few times. Once she has the measure of your Familiar, she lays out a small obstacle course for Porridge to fly. “If all goes well, this might stretch his abilities enough to boost coordination a bit - let him move a bit more quickly and quietly.”

You tack a step back and run over the game plan together with Porridge. When you’re sure everything is ready, you release your Familiar and sit back. From the beginning, Porridge does a fantastic job of running Oan’s course, showing off more than enough skills to be useful in a sneaky situation. By the time he’s done, you know you’re seeing improvement already.

 “Great job,” Oan says. Tucking Anastasia away in her robes, she says “Well, I hate to do this, but I have to run...the life of a Third Year is never dull! Slip me a note under my door when you’re ready for more instruction; I’ll get back to you as soon as I have the time. Keep practicing!”

 The original text talked about running the obstacle course, a little funny for our owl.

  

Gains for the day:
Porridge’s Move Silently increased by 1
Elumian increased by 1
Purchased A Guide to Statues from the Early Empire from Haejar Enthifal Cortath Catalog, Pages 19-22 for 250 pims. It should arrive in 5-10 days.

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I decided to test out our new ability, maybe just see if it was actually possible to get two of the same language in one, but the moment I tried, this happened.

Gains for the day:
Elumian increased by 1
--Confound pheme learned
Bassan increased by 1
--Sight pheme learned
Relationship with Tarvixio Sido increased by 1
Elumian increased by 1
--Wind pheme learned
Merilian increased by 1
--Learned about The Venalicium Library: Linguistics Section
----Gained Consult the Linguistics Section
------Increases two random languages, and Library Knowledge
Relationship with Tarvixio Sido increased by 1
Bassan increased by 1
--Preparedness pheme learned.
Elumian skill step increased by 1 (1/2)
Relationship with Tarvixio Sido increased by 1

As evidence I wasn't save scumming, I give that the odds of doing this well are less than 4.7%.  I'm still just gonna be training normally, I only care about Elumian.

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I'm training Elumian today because if you leave your character with skillsteps, failure can actually cause you to lose progress, which I can't stand.

Around the edge of the campus you’ve found one of the students casting a revision spell over a tree. You try to stop him, but you find that it’s not even a real tree. The trunk is made of clay, the branches are made of hardened rubber, and the leaves are of cloth drifting in the wind. You should leave your mark too, in a unique way.

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I’m crying, what does this mean. What should I do? Whatever, initials.

You take a dagger and begin to mark the tree with your initials. After you’re done, you cast a spell to revise the surface with a yellow metallic color that’s similar to gold. You’re now immortalized on the Academagian campus… at least until someone else comes along to change it.

Gains for the day:
Glamour Methods increased by 1
--Glamour pheme learned
Insects increased by 1
Conceal increased by 1
--Water pheme learned
Elumian increased by 1
Confidence increased by 1
Learned about The Changing Tree

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Generally speaking, calligraphy class is amongst the most boring; couple that with one overly judgmental Professor Sixt von Rupprecht and what you have is the academic equivalent to a nightmare.

Unbeknownst to anyone, including yourself, things are about to become far worse.

As the final bell rings to start class, in strolls the professor with a sizable stack of what you surmise to be work booklets. You also note the rather odd detail of a perpetual grin playing across that geezer’s face. He places the stack of booklets onto his desk before strolling back and closing the door to the classroom.

 Sixt.png.4624c06787bfe11b342b98e119cd2a3d.png  “Everyone!” he begins in an oddly jovial tone, “Today is a special treat for all of you.” He walks back to the stack of booklets, places his right hand on top of them and says, “Pop quiz.”

First the copying and now this? He’s quickly becoming your least favorite teacher.  A deafening series of groans issues from the class.

Sixt.png.4624c06787bfe11b342b98e119cd2a3d.png  “What’s wrong? This is a fine opportunity to demonstrate that you’re more than a mere seat warmer, right, Mr. von Zoedorf?”

 You turn to notice that Everwine looks up at the professor bashfully to reply.

Everwine.png.43e08351d4fd7c9d05c06dcf5a0ee254.png  “Y-yessir.”

He’d been doodling again, and von Rupprecht’s made it his personal mission to make this awkward student even more so.

 Basia.png.dacb07478968909deed371fe6030b36d.png  “I know I’m looking forward to this quiz,” Basia Rydz states with irritating confidence, and earning her a reflexive series of groans from much of the class.

Sixt.png.4624c06787bfe11b342b98e119cd2a3d.png  “Silence, heathens,” von Rupprecht commands – while pointing his finger threateningly at the groaners. He turns to Basia with a smile and says, “Ah, my star pupil weighs in. For your sake, Miss Rydz, my sincere hope is that your confidence is well justified; certain aspects of your quiz, in particular, shall be less forgiving of sloppiness.”

He proceeds to hand each booklet out with the instruction of not to do anything beyond signing your name on the cover, on the designated line next to the word NAME.

Sixt.png.4624c06787bfe11b342b98e119cd2a3d.png  “Now, this is where things get fun. On each page shall consist of the name of a magical pheme, as well as its corresponding symbol at the top half. The bottom half is left blank; that’s where you come in. For each page you are to faithfully duplicate the calligraphic representation above. Now, I understand that all of this sounds basic so far, but in signing your names on the booklets, you’ve done more than merely claim ownership to today’s efforts; you’ve also activated the enchantment I’ve woven into your booklet. Every sloppy line or inappropriate mark shall result in something… unlpeasant occuring to you.”

He takes a moment to look back to von Zoedorf.

Sixt.png.4624c06787bfe11b342b98e119cd2a3d.png  “Go on, lad. Doodle on this one. I dare you.”

Everwine gulps nervously before the professor ads,

Sixt.png.4624c06787bfe11b342b98e119cd2a3d.png  “Of course, if you find all this to be too much pressure, you may place your booklet on my desk, and dismiss yourself from my class for the day, receiving a zero for a grade. However, the enchantment on that booklet is also connected to an invisible barrier at the doorway of this classroom. It shall only permit you to leave once you’ve left your booklet on my desk. There shall be no taking the booklet with you to have someone more skilled do this quiz for you. As for myself, I spent a goodly chunk of last night preparing this diabolical examination, and I’ve very much earned a nap.”

He proceeds to sit down, kick his feet up on the desk, and says, with a yawn and eyes already closed,

Sixt.png.4624c06787bfe11b342b98e119cd2a3d.png  “You maaay begin nowwww.”

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You look around to see that you’re not the only one that’s apprehensive about this particular quiz. Even Basia seems reluctant to start. It’s not long before you hear “ZzzzpOW” from the other side of you. You turn to see Everwine nursing the fingers of his right hand, blowing on them gently.

Aymeri.png.854bd030e55154581c872c76c87f0164.png  “I’m done,” Aymeri Couer mutters.

Every student watches him approach the desk. However, before he reaches the professor’s desk, he stops, as if considering something, then turns toward the door. As he approaches, he carefully extends the reach of his right arm to find that von Rupprecht wasn’t bluffing; an invisible, magic barrier prevented Aymeri from even reaching the doorknob. Accepting final defeat, he leaves his booklet on von Rupprecht’s desk and heads for the door again. Sure enough, the barrier no longer impedes his departure as he leaves.

That gives us a skill increase and doesn't even require a roll.  Now lets get to forgery.

Not that you’re a stranger to outright copying, but the idea of punishment for doing this poorly does cause you a level of inward amusement as you duplicate the symbols with painstaking attention to detail.

Sure, at the end of the class you end up being one of the last students to leave, but you’re satisfied in knowing that you leave this quiz with fingertips in working order.

 

This adventure has a really fun alternate path if you fail your attempt, but we didn’t. It was a little overt for Dolan’s head down personality anyway.  

Gains for the day:
Illustration increased by 1
Awareness increased by 1
--Insight pheme learned
--You have gained Socialize
Forms increased by 1
Calligraphy Study level increased by 1
Relationship with Sixt von Rupprecht increased by 1

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Gains for the day:
Glamour Phemes increased by 1
--Disorientation pheme learned
Ink Compounds increased by 1
--Oh man, I was wondering what we were going to do with our ink compounds skill so low. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about that anymore.
--Gained Gelcined Recline, Catalog
Acrobatics increased by 1
--Gained Athletic Ability
----Fitness increased by 1

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Honestly, Oan making an owl run an obstacle course isn't even in the top five of weird things she can do with Familiars. The only Familiars excluded from those options are Pamela and...rock Familiar, come on brain work what's his name...Mister Pebbles! Just those two. So to name a few, you can run that obstacle course with a Goldfish, a sentient Shadow creature, a Carnivorous Plant, or even a Turtle.

That weird RE is Morvidus only, and I've never seen it before ingame. If you're curious the "proper" answer seems to be leaving it alone, since that gives you -1 Stress and Visitation Rights to the revealed Location instead of just revealing it as other options do. Except that it's a base 1% discovery chance and you've got Rest, so in practice it's probably better to go with either engraving a lion (+1 Creativity) or the name of Morvidus college (+1 Romance), depending on a few factors. Your name is +1 Confidence, which is arguably the least worthwhile outcome since you can get Confidence from Gera's letter and it's a subskill that tends to get raised a fair bit by itself anyway.

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Mod tools. Which, yes, means the information might be outdated, but usually that's not the case. I happened to find it because it's one of the ones that's vaguely named. Random Event - The Changing Tree if you're curious.

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Good news and bad news.  I got the adventure crash glitch again, but not only have I fixed it, I found a steam page saying what causes it, so I shouldn't encounter it again.  Also, I hate to say it, but I'm going back on our decision as to what to do with the candies due to unavoidably wacky circumstances.  I apologize in advance to Metis and Ana Flavia Bessa.

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We’re going to try to get the favor ability, so we can cash in our relationships with our professors.

Gains for the day:
Increased Familiar Kinship by 1
--Familiar pheme learned

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Deciding that the time is right, you send word to Oan that you’re ready to meet again. She tells you where to be, and in her letter of response, she reminds you to bring your wand. With this in mind, you find yourself on the second floor of the Venalicium Library. Browsing the shelves, you notice Isabeau studying nearby. You’re wondering if you should say hi, when Oan taps you on the shoulder.

“So, are you ready for the hardest part?” You nod, and Oan leads you back through a maze of shelves and books to a row of doors against the wall. She leads you to a door seemingly at random, opens it, and ushers you inside. Only after the door is closed does Oan cast a spell to give you light.

“The Librarians heavily discourage the use of spells in the Library proper,” she says, “but inside these study cubicles, pretty much anything magical goes.” Containing naught but a sturdy desk and a pair of chairs, the study cubicle is exactly what it sounds like – a very small place to do nothing but study. “This is one area where I know I don’t need to ask what you do or don’t know,” Oan says, “The actual mastery of Phemes and Spells are tough even for Fifth Year students, so I know they’ll be hard to understand for you. No offence, of course…I just want you to know that you shouldn’t expect everything to fall too easily into place. However, it is important to every wizard that you learn about Spells and Phemes.”

Oan takes a seat and gestures for you to sit in the one across from her. The cold wood of the unyielding seat serves as a reminder that this is a place to study, not to play. “Spells and Phemes can be boiled down to two oversimplified sentences,” Oan says. “The first is that Phemes are indivisible building blocks of magic that can be rearranged to create infinite combinations. The second is that Spells are manifestations of the magical forces triggered by certain combinations of Phemes combined with the proper application of mental strength. Make sense?

Oan smiles and lets out a little laugh. “No it doesn’t,” she says, “but that’s okay. I’ll explain what you need to know, and when you need to understand it, you will. Phemes are the smallest bit of ‘pure’ magic, which is to say it can’t be broken down any further. Take the Mirabilis Pheme for example. This Pheme is the absolute essence of excitement combined with a tinge of safety. No other Pheme is drawn the same, even though they may have effects so similar as to be indistinguishable to any but a master of magic. Here, let me show you how to draw the Mirabilis Pheme.”

Oan runs through the necessary motions several times, although really, you only needed to see it once. “Just being Informed about this Pheme doesn’t do you much good, though. You have to know what to do with it once you have it. That’s what Spells are all about. Spells consist of at least two Phemes; no spell can be cast with a single Pheme, period.” Oan sticks out two fingers and shakes them vigorously. Without two Phemes, nothing can happen. Go ahead, draw a single Mirabilis Pheme and see what happens.”

You raise your wand, and for the first time since you got it, try to use magic. You’re almost surprised to see the light flow out of it as you repeat Oan’s movements, like you’re a real wizard. You stare intently as the symbols you traced flair faintly and fade. No matter how readily Oan takes it in stride, that would still impress just about everybody you knew back home. Well, not Uncle Oslatt, but everyone else.

Her, though? Yeah: in stride. “See,” she says, “Nothing. String two Phemes together, though, and you have a Spell. Still, you can’t just string two random Phemes together and hope for the best. You have to be Informed of a Spell before you can use it. Confusing, right?”

You shrug your shoulders, not sure how to answer. Clearly more excited to be teaching the subject than you are to be learning it, Oan plows on as if you agree that it’s confusing. “Alright, now let me explain it the way my Gam’ma explained it. Think of Phemes as Ingredients and Spells as the recipe. Even if you know what each ingredient tastes like, you can’t just throw everything into a pot and hope for cake to come out; you have to know the recipe and follow it. Spells are the recipes of Magic. If you don’t have the ingredients, you can’t make a cake, but if you don’t have a recipe, your ingredients are useless.”

“Let me show you this,” she says. With her wand, Oan draws a small rectangle on the table; once the rectangle is complete, she chains together two Mirabilis Phemes without lifting her wand. When she’s finished, she releases her wand. The moment she does, the rectangle and the Pheme symbols inside disappear. “I’ve just cast the Glow of Victory Spell,” she says. “Now that you’ve seen it done, you’ll be able to do it too. It isn’t that powerful...in fact, it’s rarely used at all, but it’s better than nothing.”

“Of course, Master Wizards don’t need to be shown how to cast a Spell in order to do it; if they did, no one would ever learn anything new. In fact…”

“Well, hang on. Let me go back to my cooking analogy. You have a recipe and you have the ingredients, so you can bake your cake just fine. But what if you want to make something special? As long as you’re already baking a cake, why not add something extra in? Once you’ve satisfied a Spell’s requirements for Phemes, you can add in more Phemes to enhance the Spell’s effects. Every extra Pheme you insert, though, makes a Spell more difficult to cast, so you have to balance your needs against you wants. You’ll know how difficult a Pheme is to draw based on its Magnitude; the higher the number, the harder the Pheme is to draw.”

Oan leans in as if delivering a great secret. “I was saying that Master Wizards in their fields are always looking to create or discover new Spells or Phemes. It isn’t something students are encouraged to do, but I’ve found out that some of the Fifth Year students are trying to create a Spell that will let them walk on water. They’re looking to bypass the guards at the various bridges over the canal system. If they can do that, they can pull off some incredible pranks before the school year ends. They think they’re almost done, but I can tell you they’re way off. If you get to be good enough, I might let you in on a few more of their secrets, but for now, concentrate on your studies and learn as many Phemes and Spells as you can.”

“Okay, you’ve probably learned enough for one day. Contact me when you are ready for your next lesson. You remember your way out?” Nodding, you take your cue and back out of the door, leaving Oan plenty of time to practice her Magic while you make your way back to your room.

  

With all the pranks going around lately, you’re a bit wary about leaving your supplies out where just anyone can get to them; but you really just didn’t have a choice earlier.

Carefully, you pick up your pen to begin writing your assignment.

Should you test it first, just to make sure?

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Everyone seems to be engrossed in their own studies.

That’s no help, let’s try Lesser Form Betrayal

 

While you struggle with the spell, you’re fairly certain that you can pull this off. Maybe. If you do succeed, well, then perhaps other students will think twice before pranking you in the future.

Of course, all of this ends up wishful thinking, as you’re unable to discern anything from the spell. To make matters worse, more than a few students saw your failed attempt.

You glare down at your supplies, wondering if there’s a way to salvage some dignity – and then your paper explodes into a cloud of fuschia dust. It sticks to your skin and makes you cough like you’ve just gotten sick of your lungs. Super.

 

At the urging of your professors, you and your classmates are exploring the streets of Mineta, absorbing the sights and sounds of the guild festivals held all over the city. Brightly colored tents dot the packed streets, and jugglers, dancers, and magicians try to capture the crowd’s attention.

You’re passing by the blacksmiths’ booth, admiring the sharp axes and jeweled swords, when you hear shouts and screams. Your mind immediately leaps to the unpleasant thought of a brawl. This day is known for clashing guilds after all. But isn’t it a bit early in the day? Curiosity gets the better of you, and you follow to where the sounds of conflict seem to be coming from.

Yep, it’s a fight all right-between magicians and wizards! You recognize Zorzi Galea and Philippe Marchant trading insults with the entertainers.

“We don’t need to draw phemes to manipulate the environment, nor gain insight into the human mind,” shouts the masked magician. “We practice a more refined, natural magic.”

“You don’t need to draw phemes?” Zorzi sneers. “More like you can’t. And what’s exactly so impressive about card tricks?”

“Phemes are shortcuts for week minds,” the magician retorts.

“Hey, Dolan,” Philippe says, spotting you peeking from around the corner. “Come on, help us show these magicians how wrong they are.”

Uh oh. Like it or not, you’ve been drawn into this fight!

You regret investigating; you want to explore the rest of the festival, not argue with magicians.

All eyes are on you, and no way are you going to exacerbate this conflict. Maybe you can calm down both sides by making them see reason.

You tell them that, yes, there are diferent kinds of magic and different types of magic casters, but it’s important to remember that all magic is created equal.

“But it’s not even real ma...” Zorzi begins to say, but you quickly clamp his mouth shut.

The magicians give you a curt nod, and you drag Zorzi and Philippe away.

Gains for the day:
Mirabilis pheme learned
Glow of Victory spell learned
--Requires Mirabilis (known)
Phemes increased by 1
Diction increased by 1
Zenith pheme learned
Modus Operandi pheme learned
Test-Taking increased by 1
--Gained Favor (
Dialectic Study level increased by 1
--Relaitonship with Tarvixio Sido increased by 1
--Decipher Handwriting skill step increased by 1 (1/2)
Stress increased by 2
Diplomacy increased by 1
Gained Judge the Instructor’s Tastes
--This lets us, if we succeed on an Insight/Character Study roll vs 5, gain study levels and points in a few skills, including wit, which we need for our next step in the Dialectic class adventure.

You are walking into class, just on time, and you find that the room is completely full of unbelievably gigantic chess pieces.

Contzel.png.0b52c7f1d29e205b58dbe525f9b2a322.png  “Oh, don’t worry dear, it’s only a spell. We’re just playing a small game up at my desk.”

That’s all fine, but there’s a large bishop (you think it’s a bishop, but the top of the piece appears to have gotten above the ceiling) blocking the way to your desk.

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The game does end, eventually, thirty minutes later. You’re very tired by then, but what else could you do? At least you know a bit more about chess now.

Gains for the day:
First Principles increased by 1
The Calamities increased by 1
--Learned about Haejar Enthifal Cortath, Pages 5-7 (Shop)
Revision Methods increased by 1
Elumian increased by 1
Bassan increased by 1
--Insight pheme learned
Library Knowledge increased by 1
--Gained Efficient Research
Strategy increased by 1
--Insight pheme gained
--Fitness pheme gained
You are feeling Bitterness
--Charm decreased by 1
--Society decreased by 1
--Befriend decreased by 1
--Gossip decreased by 1

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Gains for the day:
Lip Reading increased by 1
--Sight pheme learned
Bassan increased by 1
--Foresight pheme learned
Elumian increased by 1
--Trill pheme learned
Library Knowledge increased by 1
Character Study increased by 1
--Knowledge pheme learned

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Gains for the day:
Character Study increased by 1
--Meditate pheme learned
Composure increased by 1
--Gained Stony Look
----Composure +1
----Lie +1
Vilocian increased by 1
--Fierce pheme learned
Elumian skill step increased by 1 (1/3)
Library Knowedge increased by 1
--Learned about Library of Longshade
----Once we increase our filing enough to tidy this library, it replaces train with additional bonus of 1 random skill and concentration.
 

Week three down!

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Gains for the day:
Famous Dilemma’s increased by 1
--Gained Chauranglaith Path:  The Lone Pine
Theory of Glamour increased by 1
--Gained the Corner Tailor
The Early Empire increased by 1
--Gained Quote History
Illustration increased by 1
--Projection pheme learned
Curiosity skill step increased by 1 (1/2)

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You are headed to the dining room when you hear a faint weeping from the corridor you just passed. Feeling curiosity, and perhaps a touch of empathy, you move back to the corridor as quietly as you can.

You see Ana Flavia Bessa, the “cursed” girl of Avila, sitting by herself, small droplets falling from her eyes.

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Well, we're not going to ask her about the frog thing, so let's try using our knowledge of history.

There was an event that you can think of… There are a few in truth but getting a herd of camels and seven dragon scales seems like too much of an effort.

But in this event, a few hundred years ago, a young prince got a sorceress out of her cave with a lavish meal. Now, you admit that is a bit of a stretch, as you are no prince, just an ordinary noble, and it’s not like you can pull a meal out of nowhere.

Even so, you reach into your pocket, and are surprised to find some candy. You consider it for a moment, and deem that it is indeed close enough that it might actually work.

Like the prince you know better than to enter a place of danger, let the ‘prize’ come to you!

You call out to Ana Flavia, who looks up at you.

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  “Do you want a sweet? I only got two, but you’re welcome to one, and we can go to the cafeteria together.”

She blinks, and nods. You hand her one of the candies, and she pockets it for after you eat.

After eating together, you feel like you know her a little better. She thinks she’s cursed, but she’s probably just clumsy, otherwise one of the professors would have noticed, and done something about it, right?

She pulls out the candy you gave her earlier.

1054245089_AnaFlavia.png.6b06f2f1df32d26003ce47093df9acbb.png  “Thanks for eating with me, Dolan. I hope nothing bad happens to you because of it.”

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  “You worry too much, dinner was fine, aside from that soup spilling, right?”

She nods, and pops the candy into her mouth. You follow suit, but after a moment of chewing, her eyes widen, and she staggers. You’re about to ask her what’s wrong, when your mind explodes. Horrifying visions flash through your head, and then you find yourself back in the hall, empty, except for Ana Flavia.

1054245089_AnaFlavia.png.6b06f2f1df32d26003ce47093df9acbb.png  “Gates?”

You’re still reeling, and beginning to panic, but she’s right.

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  “It was the candy, I think. But I don’t know how they were in my pocket, I swear!”

You shoved the Candies of the Gnawing Void into your wardrobe.  Shouldn't they still be in there?

1054245089_AnaFlavia.png.6b06f2f1df32d26003ce47093df9acbb.png  “I told you I was cursed.  That caused this somehow, I'm sure of it!  I got you caught up in it, and you were just trying to be nice.”

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  “No, the candy was… look, we can’t tell anyone about this, okay? Gates magic is illegal, and I don’t know if learning about it from magical candy changes that. Don’t tell the teachers, don’t tell your friends, don’t tell your family.”

She nods.

1054245089_AnaFlavia.png.6b06f2f1df32d26003ce47093df9acbb.png  “Right, I guess...” She shivers. “That was horrible. I'm going to head back to my room.” You agree, and unsteadily walk away from each other, and back to your beds.

Gains for the day:
Logic increased by 1
Forms increased by 1
--Enrich pheme learned
Curiosity increased by 1
Temperance increased by 1
Relationship with Ana Flavia Bessa increased by 1
Ate the Candies of the Gnawing Void
--Stress increased by 8
--Learned about Gates Methods
--Learned about Gates Phemes
--Learned about Gates Spells
--Learned about Theory of Gates

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We're going to need to take a moment to process that after class tomorrow, given that Dolan's stress maximum is 6.

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After dinner, you collapse onto your bed.  All day you've been forcing yourself not to think about the knowledge you gained from the incident with the candy, but you have to do something about it.  Porridge soars in through the window and alights on your desk.  

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "..."

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "Oh good, I don't suppose you have any suggestion, about what happened?  With the candy?"

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Hoot?"

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "Of course not!"

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Hoo?"

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "Because it's illegal!  I can't believe this, I thought you of all people would be upset about this.  I thought you wanted me to be, you know."

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Hoo."

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "Yeah, exactly.  Wouldn't this fly in the face of all that?"

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Hoot.  Hoohootoot."

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "How is it any different?!"

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Huhoohoohoot.  Hoo huhoo toohoot.  Hoot hoo hoo hoot hoot, Tuhoo hoohoo hoot huhoot.  Hwoot hoohoo hoot hoot hoot hoo!"

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "Well, I'm not going to do it. It's stupid, and I'll get thrown in jail, or executed or something!"

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Hoo."

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "Okay, so now what?"

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Hoo?"

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "I can't do nothing."

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Hoo?"

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "Because, I mean..."

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Hoo Hoot."

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "You're probably right.  You knew from the beginning I wouldn't do anything about it, didn't you?"

Porridge.png.213c76a5c29dbdfaf2fbfc2ebd2996f0.png  "Hoo."

With that, porridge flies back out of the window.

Dolan50.png.7ab331edacbd5d29b58cfdaf9bc52454.png  "Typical."

You lie down in your bed.  It's early, but you didn't sleep well last night.  You drift off, and by morning, you're confident the nightmares have run their course.

Gains for the day:
Glamour Spells increased by 2
You have rested 
--Stress decreased to 0
--Vitality increased to 6
Gained The Big Haul
You are feeling Speculative
--Call into Question’s chance of success increased by 5
--Infer Pheme’s chance of success increased by 5
--Question Knowledge’s chance of success increased by 5
--Question Surrounding’s chance of success increased by 5

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It's Porridge's fault you're here.  He's the reason you're in the Academagia at all, and why you're in Morvidus.  You had assumed that Zoology would be an easy class to pass.  Dogs bark, cats meow, and owl's hoot, 

Of course, it was only later that you discovered what the other students in College Morvidus were like, especially in Zoology. Not everyone is difficult, admittedly. If you don’t factor in Philippe and Joana, the rest of the students are just a little… different. It certainly makes for an interesting – if rowdy – classroom.

You’d normally expect the teacher to keep things in check, but Professor Pachait seems to relish any chaos that comes his way. After a frog dissection with Mairgrete trying to enchant her scalpel and Vettor trying to revise frog legs into fried chicken drumsticks while Girars sits it out under conscientious protest, while glaring at random targets in the class, the professor just applauds the class for their ingenuity and for braving through the grisly affair. He then announces in his booming voice,

Regnault.png.901d497143fbe1696daba1e4672d8358.png  “Prepare yourselves for your next assignment! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking our class into the great outdoors for a special unit. Observe the kind of creatures living in different parts of the school, and capture one specimen and bring it back to class. You’ll talk about the specimen you caught and write a report about it.”

Regnault.png.901d497143fbe1696daba1e4672d8358.png  “Of course, you’re only first year students, so I don’t expect you to face the fearsome wilderness by yourselves. You’ll work in teams of two, so find a partner!”

As soon as Professor Pachait says the word “partner,” people are already murmuring and looking around the classroom. You see Joana looking at Philippe, while Philippe eyes his dead frog on the counter. You need to find yourself a partner too, before all the sane people are already taken, assuming anyone here qualifies. Who should you work with? You search the class. You sit closest to Vettor, so he would be the most convenient choice… then again, Beatrix has the highest grade in the class right now, and you know she’s good with anything that involves catching animals.

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You walk up to Beatrix and flash your most persuasive smile, like Isabeau might do.

Dolan50.png.9e086896bbec5d8fdd5db20bf12869e4.png  “Hey, Beatrix. Do you want to work together?”

Beatrix.png.49846d4ee985356b7a27ba589d055ce2.png  “Sure!”

She thinks for a moment, frowning.

Beatrix.png.49846d4ee985356b7a27ba589d055ce2.png  “But you better be ready to work hard. I want to bring back something impressive!”

The cost of working with the star student.

Gains for the day:
First Principles increased by 1
--Gained Question Surroundings
Revision Phemes increased by 1
--Inorganic pheme learned
--Strengthen pheme learned
--Artificial pheme learned
Relationship with Beatrix von Wetgen by 1

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For some reason, you can’t stop yawning. You think you’ve been getting plenty of sleep. You feel well rested; at least you did a minute ago.

Maybe you’ve been hit with a spell?

Regardless of why you’re sleepy, you need to fight it, and stay awake, because your next class is very important. After stopping to say hello too a few friends, you enter your classroom and, of course, yawn again. As you open your eyes from a rather lengthy yawn, you see a potion bottle hurtling directly towards your face.

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The bottle strikes you in the head and shatters. You’re fine except for the shallow cuts you receive from the glass. Also, your clothes are soaked with minty-smelling liquid.

Philip.png.32524722921880a93d16b5d4d2670443.png  “Ha! Ha! I got you.”

You glare at him as you and your stinky clothes take a seat and prepare for class.

 

Gains for the day:
Theory of Revision increased by 1
--Alteration pheme learned
--Structure pheme learned
--Gained Inhibit Change
Zoology Study level increased by 1
--Relationship with Regnault Pachait increased by 1
Conversation increased by 1
--Speak pheme learned
--Gained Encourage Fellow Student
--Increased relationship with Jere Niemela by 1

Vitality decreased by 1
Endurance increased by 1

 

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You sent word to Oan that you’re ready to talk some more; her response makes you question her sanity.

Meet me at the Academagia Main Gate before breakfast,” you mutter as you read the letter. Before breakfast! Grumbling, you pack yourself a small snack in your knapsack in case you don’t get back in time for breakfast and go to sleep a bit before your normal bedtime.

At the appropriate time, you find yourself being pecked awake by your familiar.

“Thanks, Porridge. I’m up. But could you check on Isa for me while I’m gone? I need to ask her for a favor.”

The walk from your College dorm isn’t too bad, and you arrive at the gates several minutes before the sun is even up. Spying Oan on the Academagia side of the gate, you walk over and wave.

“Good morning, Dolan!” she says with far too much cheer for this hour of the morning. A look of serenity crosses her face as you step up beside her and she turns towards the gate. “This is my favorite time of day.” she says quietly. “Have you ever been here before?”

You start to answer, but Oan quickly cuts you off with, “I mean, have you ever really visited this place?”

You’re not totally sure what she expects you to say. It’s the Main Gate. Should you have been hanging out here after class just to watch dust settle on the road?

Oan smiles. “That’s okay,” she says, “So few first year students take the time to come here and hang out that I’m not surprised you haven’t been here. Let me explain about this place and what it does.”

“Most people think that the Academagia was founded by Noemea, but they’re sadly mistaken. It was actually founded by her brother, Athanasios, as a small group of scholars who took it upon themselves to better the study of magic and its effects upon the world around it. Technically, Noemea was the one who placed the first foundation stone, but it was really her brother who founded the school.”

A hint of motion on the Mineta side of the gates snags Oan’s attention. “Here it comes,” she says. Two guards march in sync from either end of the stone wall towards the center of the open gates. Stopping when their noses are mere inches away from each other, the guards turnn and, in unison, bellow:

Verbis Noemeae

In Memoria Athanasi

Porta Academagiae hiat;

Quisques cupens scientiam

Intrate et cognoscete!

Their ritual complete, the guards turn sharply and walk back to their posts. Their words release a flood of visitors from the outside, and you spy all kinds of men and women shuffling their way through the gates onto the school grounds. “Visitors are only allowed into the Academagia from sunup to sundown, unless they have a special pass signed by the Legate or the Praetorian Council.” Oan turns to you and beams a winning smile in your direction. “What they said was, ‘In the name of Noemea, for the memory of Athanasios, the Academagia gates stand open, those who desire knowledge, enter and learn.’ Okay, let’s move on.”

“So I’ll bet you’re wondering why I asked you to come here,” Oan says. Now that she mentions it, you think sarcastically, but Oan continues before you can say something you might regret. “Most people walk right on past hurrying on towards what they think is more important business.” As if proving her point, several people brush past you and Oan without noticing you. One man in a gray set of robes is muttering under his breath as iff trying to remember something, while a woman in a multicolored wrap has her head held high and moves with strict purpose. Oan shakes her head sadly. “If these people only knew the power of locations, they might walk a bit slower and see what lies around them.”

The power of locations? “Everything has power,” Oan begins in way of explanation, “even locations. Take this place, for example; don’t you feel any different now than you did before you watched that ceremony?”

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Is something different? Is something off? You don’t feel sick.

Actually, you feel . . . what? Not alert, exactly, but there’s a kind of focus to your thoughts that wasn’t there before. Just to test yourself, you start to recite the opening of Xeroton’s Address to the Five Hundred – the same four sentences every child in the known nations stumbles listlessly through every summer - only know they have power. You can feel the words dance as you say them, and grin at Oan.

“Somebody told you!” she accuses, utterly failing to look offended. “Fine, you cheater. For the record, you can walk through these gates a thousand times before you leave this school and never know about its power, but if you take the time to explore the location and get a feel for it, there’s obviously a benefit to coming here. Since I made you stay and watch the ceremony, you now know this place well enough to have a feel for it. From now on, whenever you come and spend even a small amount of time here, you’ll notice that your abilities in Oratory are increased a little for as long as you hang around. If you’re just passing through on your way to Mineta or the Admiratio, though, you won’t get that benefit. That doesn’t mean you have to come and watch the ceremony anymore, only that you have to make a conscious effort to visit here and spend some time.”

“Now, I should warn you, not every location works like this. Some places only give you a benefit if you stay there while you’re doing something. Remember the Garden Gallery where we learned about friends? Well, now that you know about that place and spent some time exploring it, you’ll find that you have a small bonus to certain Social actions when you’re there...but only when you’re there. Some places give bonuses to Skills or Actions that you can take away with you and last for a certain amount of time, but others only work while you’re there, got it?”

You’d like to say something, but Oan turns and starts walking back towards the Great Hall, making you rush to keep up. “The island of Elumia is divided up into five main areas, called Regions,” she says. “There’s the Academagia, the Academagia Grounds, the City of Mineta, the Imperial Reserve, and the rest of the island, called Elumia Proper. Within these regions are tons and tons of cool places to find, but you might not even know you’ve found them unless you Explore the area. To Explore an area, all you need is to spend a few hours looking around and seeing what you can see. Every time you Explore a particular region, you’re practically guaranteed to find something interesting about that place. If you find that you’re really not discovering anything really cool, consider spending some time learning more about exploration and exploring. The better you get at it, the more likely you are to find something really interesting.”

Oan looks towards you with a gleam in her eye, and you wonder what exact location she’s thinking of right now. It has to be something truly interesting or she wouldn’t be fighting so hard to keep that smile from her face. “One last warning about locations,” she says as her face loses all hint of joy. “There are dangers to exploring, dangers of all kinds. If you’re somewhere you’re not supposed to be, there’s always a chance that a Professor will bust you and assign you detention. Just check out the Location and look for its Discovery Chance. The higher that is, the more likely you are to be caught. Also, some places have Monsters hanging out, and if you’re not prepared to fight, you might not like the consequences.”

Busted by Professors? Fighting Monsters? There are so many questions you’d like to ask, but before you have a chance, Oan pats you on the back and says, “I’d love to stay and talk more, really, but I have a huge quiz in my Advanced Theory of Negation class that I’m not supposed to know about. I’ve got a couple of things I need to review before I’m ready, so I gotta run. I’ll send word when I’m ready to meet again...could be a day, could be a week, it all depends on how my classes are going. Next time, we’ll talk about Professors and such, okay?”

This adventure with Oan had a lot of typos in it.

 

After lunch, you’re in the library, trying to catch up on your History studying. You haven’t been spending much time on your schoolwork, but you’d rather not fall too far behind, even if your classes aren’t that interesting. While browsing the shelves, you bump into Oriabel Sidot, a girl in History with you, also doing some studying.

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Oh, hello.”

She’s always reminded you of one of those old paintings. Maybe it’s the way she almost never seems to be looking directly at you.

She fixes you with an intense stare for about a second, before letting her eyes flit behind you.

Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png  “Hello. You’re in history, aren’t you?”

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “That's right. Are you studying too? We could work together, if you like.”

She stares past you for a few seconds, scanning perfectly ordinary shelves too quickly to read the titles of the books.

Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png“It doesn’t seem like it’s showing up.” she shrugs, “so I might as well do some work.”

 

When you finish for the day, you stand up.

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Hey, I’m going to come back tomorrow morning, if you want to pick up there.”

Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png  “Oh, sure thing, see you then.”

 

Gains for the day:
Learned about Great Gate of the Academagia
Learned about Awareness
Perception skill step increased by 1 (1/2)
History Study level increased by 1
--Relationship with Oriabel Sidot increased by 1
Filing increased by 1
Move Silently increased by 1
--Muffle pheme learned

image.png.1de1f945c5bf8b174fa536493e4665f3.png

So something weird happened today. Which is that our relationship with Oriabel Sidot soared through the roof. As far as I can tell, this shouldn’t have happened, but we had a relationship of 1 with her after Saturday (I checked when we got the plus 1, but didn’t take a screenshot, so here’s one from my previous save before friday), but after Sunday, we have a relationship of 5. I don’t know why, but we just do. She is now our best friend.

image.png.400efb120ef10f56256f8edca19dc360.pngimage.png.ce80fd463a81262414dce715c357765e.png

Early in the morning, you arrive in the Venalicium and get some more history books for when Oriabel shows up.

Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png  “Oh, you already started?”

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Not really, I was just grabbing some books.”

Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png“This one looks interesting.” She pulls a book off the shelf and looks at it. “Nevermind, I can’t read it.”

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Really? Let me see.” You page through it. “It’s in Elumian.”

Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png  “I know Elumian, and that is not it.” She sounds cross about it.

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Oh, no, not modern Elumian, the old stuff. I’ve been studying it recently. You get it sometimes in history books, but it’s not that useful. I think Professor Sido called it a dead language.”

Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png  “...Do you think if it’s a dead language, maybe ghosts speak it?”

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Well, I suppose, if they’re old enough, that would make sense.”

Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png  “I heard there was a ghost in this library, you know. I wonder if it speaks old Elumian?”

You look over your shoulder.

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Is there really a ghost here?”

Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png  “I don’t know. I haven’t seen it yet. I’m probably going to keep coming here for a while, but if I don’t see it soon, I might check some other places I’ve heard rumors about.”

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Oh.” You relax, knowing it’s just a rumor.
Oriabel.png.f8c95130a24280565a8499179557aa0b.png“If you see it though, let me know right away.”

After promising you will, you manage to get her back to work, but the two of you chat a lot as you study.

 

 

As you’re heading back to your room, you catch a whiff of a pleasant smell. You pause, and sniff, wondering what could be the source.

Isabel.png.6e7ef55382a1a5af76a4716028c15eec.png  “Hello Dolan.”

You turn, a little too quickly, and see a familiar girl. She’s in a couple of your classes, but you’ve never talked to her.

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Uh, hi.” She wears the same robes you thought looked gaudy and absurd on Cosetta, but you don’t think they look half bad on her.

Isabel.png.6e7ef55382a1a5af76a4716028c15eec.png  “Are you busy?”

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “No, not at all.” While Oriabel barely looked directly at you, Emilia’s eye contact feels like a vise.

Isabel.png.6e7ef55382a1a5af76a4716028c15eec.png  “That’s good, I was hoping I’d get to talk to you.”

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “You were? About Calligraphy, or Glamour?”

Isabel.png.6e7ef55382a1a5af76a4716028c15eec.png  “Neither, I just wanted to talk. I think you’re interesting.”

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “Really? I don’t think I’m that interesting.” Well, there is the spy thing, but you probably shouldn’t tell her that.

Isabel.png.6e7ef55382a1a5af76a4716028c15eec.png  “C’mon, Dolan, tell me something interesting about yourself.”

After a long awkward silence where you try to think of something, she smiles, as though you just made a joke.

Isabel.png.6e7ef55382a1a5af76a4716028c15eec.png  “Fine, I’ll let you off the hook this time, but next time I see you, you’d better have thought of something interesting.”

With that, Emilia turns and walks away.

Dolan50.png.f40e582653b1074c3f1cc6ffda3dd091.png  “...Bye.”

She’s already gone. Once you’re back in your room, you decide to practice acting. Your uncle Oslatt always said that being an actor was a lot like being a spy, and a useful skill, but you’ve always felt it was a bit silly, with all of those plays and things. Now though, you’re beginning to see how it could be useful. Maybe you should have told Emilia about learning Elumian? No, she’d probably think it was weird that you were studying such an old language.

If you want to know why this one took me so long, it's literally this one part and nothing else.  Trying to write small the results for the "flirt" action between people less than half my age was really weird.

 

After dinner, you’re heading back to your room, when you hear the familiar hoot of your familiar. You look in the direction it came from, and see Porridge sitting on a branch. His body is difficult to make out in the darkness, but his golden eyes are crystal clear. Silently, he takes to the wing, and you quickly follow him.

 You don’t know where he’s taking you, but you slowly realize how far away it is. You glare at his tail, trying to communicate that this had better be important through your bond. It’s more than an hour later that Porridge comes to a stop on a new branch, and you know you’ve reached your destination. Even in the darkness, the tree is breathtaking, a single pine, with no other trees around, standing straight and tall against the backdrop of Chordia Peak.

The view itself is almost worth the trip on its own, but the starlight glints off of something in the roots of the tree. Crouching down, you find a stone tablet, wrapped by the growing roots of the pine. It’s too dark to read it, so you feel over the smooth surface for the chiseled letters, memorizing each one’s shape before moving on to the next letter. Finally, you stand up, and try to brush off the dirt that you know has stained your robes.

Acceptance without questioning is not knowledge; only those who ponder may consider themselves sufficiently assured of understanding.”

It makes sense, you think, but you’re not sure why Porridge showed it to you. The path that led you here keeps going, but Porridge hoots, indicating that you can go farther another time, and begins to fly back to the college.

Gains for the day:
History Study level increased by 1
--Relationship with Oriabel Sidot increased by 2 (4?)
Library Knowledge increased by 1
Acting increased by 1
--Learned about Pecunia’s Knoll
Logic increased by 1
--Reason Pheme learned
Endurance increased by 1
Learned about Chauranglaith Path:  The Stone Bench
Emilia Picotti succeeded on using Flirt with you.
--Relationship with Emilia Picotti increased by 1
You have gained In the Zone

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18 minutes ago, Greywacke said:

If you want to know why this one took me so long, it's literally this one part and nothing else.  Trying to write small the results for the "flirt" action between people less than half my age was really weird.

Just be glad it was Emilia Picotti and not Cyrus. I think the latter would have been a touch more difficult to explain.

Incidentally, as for getting Oriabel to relationship 5, no clue what could have caused that. Very few things that NPC students (can) do can result in such high increases, and if they use it on you you'll be informed of it (as you were when Emilia P. used Flirt). Obviously, History study perk II shouldn't give +4 to relationship, either.

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