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The hassle of the year 1654 (part 1)


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Selo was seated in the Aranaz common room in their usual place in one of the finely carved and rather posh-looking but slightly uncomfortable chairs, his homework scattered before him. He had made yet another attempt at catching Aria but the task is somewhat impossible. When she wanted she had a long list of available libraries she would frequent, most of them large enough to easily hide in and a few even larger so you could easily get lost in them. Char had been around earlier, just fetching some bathing supplies. His forehead was rather swollen but Selo hadn't asked. Chances were he didn't want to know, and they were even better that Char would prefer not to tell.


He hadn't seen Aria come in yet either, but it was already dark out so she was bound to come soon. It was a good day to go star-gazing, or even the slightly more professional way, mapping them and making astrological predictions. Selo didn't need a prediction just now, he needed company. He didn't particularly like to admit it, but he was falling behind in several classes. Magic just didn't come naturally to him. He had hoped that it would when he applied for the school, and thanks to his grandmother, the Duchess of Caitta, he had been accepted. He didn't like to think that it was only due to her. It was though, he knew that. His family had no great wizards, perhaps a few dabbled but they surely didn't make it known. His parents, mostly his father, had forbid he even consider it, which of cause made grandmother an ardent supporter of the cause.


He looked at the open book in front of him with a mixture of disappointment in himself and a resentment for the man who had written it. Surely revision shouldn't be this difficult. The sad truth, if he had to admit it, was that he was failing the trust that his grandmother had placed in him. It was the last thing he wanted, and he had often been beating himself up about it. Whenever he couldn't get into the mood to read he would give himself a guilt trip. But it was losing it's sting, and had begun to settle into a sort of vague state of certainty. At the beginning it was 'If you don't read you will disappoint!' then 'Pay attention, you are not understanding it. You are disappointing your family' until finally he was just a disappointment. He didn't particularly look forward for the winter holidays, and even less so to the summer. But even then it was better than feeling he was constantly behind. At least in the days off school he could do other stuff, read, write, go to the theatre...


Selo smiled slightly, wistful yet mingled with a sense of betrayal. He had really enjoyed his trip in town with Julie. As he had forgotten that it might be an elaborate plot to bring him even further down into the mud that is. And now... now he just felt guilty. Dinnum had somehow learned of the whole thing and given him a short but striking glimpse of wisdom. How would Aria feel if she knew?


It had been Dinnum's attempt at blackmail Selo supposed, but the slightly plump snoring boy was hard to take serious, mostly due to his even-for-his-age childlike face for his tall frame. Char was opposite in most respects. Angular, short and with a pair of eyes that always seem to hint that he knows more than you do and have little qualms getting you into trouble if you mess with him.


Selo buried his face in the books as Char rounded the corner just then, trying his best not to look guilty. “I will be back down soon” he said as he passed, he had been watching from the corner of his eyes the entire time as he walked past. Selo swallowed, though not even Char could read his mind, though the boy had an unusual gift with magic. No wonder, both his parents were famous artisans of magical wares though their fame was fading. His grandmother knew of them though. Meeting Char and later Aria had been a strange twist of fate, all because of his grandmother. His father had once accused her of setting the whole thing up. The 'chance' meetings, the holiday, the joined lessons together... Selo didn't buy it. His grandmother was a busy woman, she couldn't keep track of it all. Not that she couldn't, if she had put her mind to it, she was brilliant. His father had a very strange mind though, and seemed to like accusing his mother of all sorts of evil, like luring his boy to be a street con artist. At times Selo even wondered if his father knew that around half of his estate was at least in part influenced by magic. He likely didn't, nor cared to know. He was an odd and bitter man. It was easier to admit now, after having spent almost a year with his grandmother following her on various trips around Elumia. Selo kind of missed that.


Not long after Char returned, his hair still clinging to his neck though he looked better than he had earlier. “Is Aria coming?” he asked. His face now that of a worried friend rather than a... a spy or bully or something.


“I don't know” Selo finally blurted when he remembered that Char had asked him something. “I have been looking all day but no trace”


Char just did a drawn-out 'hmmm' and picked up one of Selo's books from the table. “Revision?”


“I am behind” Selo admitted. There was no shame in that, Char knew him, and he still stuck with him.


“Which parts?”


“Most of it. The book is just...”


Char gave a knowing grin and placed it back down. “I can imagine. I'll look at it later if you want.”


“I'd like that”


“Would you lend me your notes for our classes in return? Just the last week or two”


Of cause. Char would be even further behind. “They aren't very good” In fact they were hardly existing. Without the regular meetings in the study group his notes seemed to fly all over the place.


Char was about to say something but thought the better of it. Perhaps he had guessed the state of it. “I am sure we can mend it, especially if Aria joins in.”


Selo sighed. He had hoped that Aria would have calmed down, but maybe it was too much to hope for. “and... while I remember,” Char continued. “Did you go on a date while I was away? - and not with Aria.”


Selo caught himself before he could say 'how do you know that?' and modified it. “Not as such.” He wanted to continue, but, Char had an eye and an ear for stuff like this.


“You did, didn't you?” Char sighed, rubbing his eyes like he had just risen from sleep.


“Not really, it was more a... friendly outing”


Char gave a little grin and padded Selo's arm. “I can admire that you are still clinging to truth, even in Aranaz – but you may wish to find a revised version to tell Aria if you still want her.”


Selo didn't reply, instead trying to figure out how he would say it. Char had made the right conclusion in no time, and Aria was no less clever.


“You still want her as your girlfriend, right?” Char asked, now slightly worried. “You didn't fight that badly, right?”


“No no! I like her, love her.”


Char for his part didn't look completely convinced, which worried him. Was he himself convinced any more?


“What are the homework in glamour?” Char asked, breaking his thoughts. “We can do that while Aria isn't here.” With a smile Selo began picking the books out of his bag. At least some things had returned to normal.




We learn a (little) bit about Selo and how the trio met. I feel a bit bad that I just stole a duchy, but considering I stole a principality earlier I perhaps shouldn't be. Considering the setting duchies might be larger though, but who cares? (save for the duchess, of cause, and her family.)

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Well, if the story didn't make it clear, I fully endorse study groups. It is a love/hate thing as I usually end up being the boogeyman whipping people to come to them, but when they work they are great.


Also I owe you 25 pim I think... I kindda forgot and sorta waste them on dragonpuffs,... do you want one?


Also, taking suggestions/guesses as to how to get rid of Char's little golem-doll. I've it planned but not written, so it can be subject to change :)


(I'd be hurry though)

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  • 2 weeks later...



A swirling wonderland of sparkling, white pleasure. Let it fill your senses with cascading fluffy pillows of comfort and excitement as you have never felt before.


Thank you Dr. Professor Patrick.tongue.gif


What is that on the bottom left?

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No worries :) I think most people are the same in that regard, I certainly am.


Next update is written, just checking typos and adding a bit here and there but should be out later today or one of the coming days if not. It struck me as I was mulling over some of their backstories that I don't think I've used Selo's full name yet, and Char's only once. Ah well... I'll have to remedy that at some point.


That and writing an actual backstory for Adrian...

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ah feel free, I likely deserve them ;)


In unrelated news: I have to admit I hate exams, take too much time, makes me feel on edge and ruins my sleep. And why in the nine hells do they make you hand in reports just up to Christmas? Just... grr! I like the idea of exams but I'd be less of a nervous wreck if they didn't exist I think...

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My exams as such are in January as well, but I am handing in my bachelor the 18th December, just a lot of stress and undo sleeping difficulties. I've taken up the unhealthy habit of working myself to the brink of exhaustion just to avoid having to lie awake for what seems eternity, and there is still a few days till I hand it in...


Just bleh!



Anyway, I got the next part of the story. As promised:




Aria arrived some time later. Char had excused himself as he went to fetch some 'food or something' Selo felt slightly put on the spot, clearly expected to say or do something. “I tried looking for you.” He said, while Aria was still unpacking. He didn't respond right away and Selo felt he had to think of something but it didn't really come to him. “Where were you?”


“The Venalicium.” “oh”



“What were you doing there?”




He sighed. “I'm sorry” he finally ventured. And he was, though what exactly he couldn't say.


Aria looked at him, softening a bit. “I was trying to find something on the doll following Char.”


As if on cue Char returned from the dorms, with a small bag that had been dubbed 'The sweet bag' as it contained sweets and was especially horrible to look at. It was purple with green and orange stars and some symbols that didn't make any sense in a faded pink colour. Where exactly Char had gotten it Selo didn't know, or perhaps more important, why he had gotten it – and used it – was another mystery that may never be solved.


Char placed the bag on the table and returned to his seat. “Did you find anything?”


“No” she took the third seat around the table and removed a brightly coloured gem from the bag.


Char nodded, taking a candy of his own. “We will talk about it later, Aria”


She looked slightly surprised at the commanding tone in that but agreed. “What subject were you reviewing?” she asked, changing the subject to something they were less likely to get into trouble talking about. The doll was still listing after all.



The evening continued reviewing and reading up for their shared history and calligraphy lessons. They decided to call it as the somewhat imposing clock in the common room announced midnight. Char had already dozed off in the chair for more than an hour, leaving Selo and Aria to the homework and their issues. Not that their issues made itself known. Aria had returned to her Negation 1 class and left Selo with his Astronomy.


Selo was slightly unsure if he should try to explain that the trip into town in no way lessen his regard for her, or that he didn't still love her. But, well, when he tried to think of it he couldn't even convince himself. And for her part Aria didn't touch the subject. Maybe due to Char still being around. For what it was worth, Selo was glad that he hadn't returned to the dorm to sleep.


As the clock's bell struck the late hour Aria carefully marked the page with a charm, of braided string adorned with a small feather, which Char had once bought her at the market. Selo felt a slight twinge of jealousy at that, but it passed quickly. “I will go to bed. Sleep well”


Aria moved with efficiency and gathered up her books with no movement wasted.


“Should I wake him?” Selo asked, looking at Char slumped in the chair. Aria cast a glance back she had already made it to the hallway. With something of a half shrug she continued up the stairs.


Selo gave it a half-hearted attempt, which unsurprisingly had no effect. The boy would likely wake in a few hours and make his way up. There was the 'rule' of not straying outside the dorms after midnight, but Char was under surveillance constantly as it was, surely they he was a special case.


Still, with Rupprecht as head... Selo gave it another go, slightly more insistent. No more luck there either. He gave a shrug and made his way to the dorms. He gave Evie a kind pat as he passed the rabbit sleeping on his bed.


He gave a yawn and began getting ready for bed. Selo was getting comfortable under the sheets when he first noticed it. A faint light coming from the chest by Char's bed. It was not strong but rather a faint dull orange light escaping from where the lit met the trunk and from the keyhole.


Climbing from bed he tried opening it, but it was locked. Knowing Char it was likely trapped as well. Maybe the light was even part of the trap.


Selo closed his eyes and dozed off. His thoughts circling the trunk and how it might tie into astrological signs.




Char saw across the snowy landscape, a somewhat familiar panic rose in his throat. He was getting better! This was just a nightmare. Just a nightmare...


He pinched himself, felt the hurt. The place seemed to have changed, slightly. Had it gotten warmer? Should he even be able to tell in a... dream, or whatever it was?


Picking a direction Char began to move. He felt observed, someone knew where he was and just sit and await whatever it was did not agree with him. He looked up, the sky was grey, dark grey. Darker than it was before, darker than it had been for just a moment ago.


He stopped, suddenly fearing for his life as he saw shadows moving in the snow. Huge looming shadows. While he only was able to guess from their silhouettes these things seemed to bare a resemblance to whatever creatures he had observed earlier. Huge hooved, winged, horned beasts trampled by in the distance. A wast line of them.


Were they gathering for something? Every bone in his body wanted to flee, but his curiosity was driving him on and Char began moving closer to the line of monsters.


The veil of snow had begun to dissipate before Char began realizing that he could not really control himself. He was drawn into the line like everyone else. It all seemed like a solemn march. He walked behind a behemoth, the skin seemed glossy but it looked like there were knots everywhere just below it. It walked on two legs at times falling to four with a force that shook the ground.


Behind Char walked a stag-like thing, but the horns seemed twisted, as did it's coat. Instead of fur it seemed to have evolved some porcupine-like coat.


To his left walked a being that struck Char as familiar, but it was shrouded in a dark mist. He had no doubt though that the creature had observed him, just as he was observing it.

The line split up as they approached a camp, walking side by side Char and the mist creature took their place among the creatures.


He stood among other creatures, a few like the fellow beside him was covered in a dark mist, surprisingly even the being that stood at the centre of the gathering.


There was no noise, no sounds at all. There hadn't been at any point but now he felt the silence. Everyone was looking at the creature in the centre, it was standing on a slightly raised pedestal of what looked a dark rock, in sharp contrast to the surrounding snow-covered landscape.


While standing in the silence Char's mind noticed something else that felt odd. This place. The whole area. It was a amphitheatre carved out of a mountain that rose all around him. He shook his head. Why hadn't he noticed that, how had he not noticed a mountain? What was really happening?


He became aware that the creature had begun speaking, the mist swirling down from the pedestal but dissipated as it touched the snow. He still heard no sound but as he focused he began to sense the message. “closer now than ever since the Reaching! Hold! Soon-”


His mind lost focus and he fell to the ground. Whatever had held him in place had weakened and he was waking. Bent over as he was he noticed one last thing before his eyes reminded him that he was sprawling on the floor in the common room adjacent to the Aranaz dorms: The snow was not snow, it was ash.



The world began to make itself apparent around Char as he opened his eyes. The floorboards, the underside of the table, the furry rug that he somehow could taste. An unfortunate mix of dust, perfume, dirt and hair.


As he rose the bump from the meeting with floor became apparent. He rubbed his head while found a chair to sit on, resting his head between his knees frantically trying to clear his head. The visions had stopped. They had stopped. The ash wasteland came unbidden to his inner eye. Why had they returned? How? He was not sure how or why, but he felt sure that the speaker he had heard was the same that had visited him.


He drew a sharp breath trying to get some air to his brain. To see things as they actually were. It could have been a dream. It did not take even a second to realize that it wasn't. The dull ache in his head grew worse as his mind began waking up. There were some odd noises from the hall too. He opened his eyes quickly finding the clock. It was past midnight. He looked again, his eyes focusing this time. It was past two in the morning! Who would dare walk around at this hour?


Creeping to the door he looked into the hallway. Someone was sneaking around out there though he couldn't see who. As he squinted his eyes to see clearer every noise stopped. The hallway was silent as a tomb. The lights! He had forgotten to turn off the lights in the room!


He slammed the door shut and with rough negation spell stopped the spell keeping the room lit. Turning to the opposite side of the room he took a few steps up the stairs and waited in the shadows. What was going on? Was someone out to get him? Had the shadows come to take him to whatever land they came from? He swallowed, his hands soaked in sweat and his heart pumping like that of a race horse. There was a faint creak as someone stepped on the wrong floorboards. They had entered the study.


His mind seemed to have failed him until it came to an obvious conclusion. Turning around Char threw caution to the wind and raced up the stairs as fast as he could while drawing breath. “HEL-”


Someone gripped hold of his leg and through some magical means his voice died in his throat.

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  • 6 months later...

It is sad to realize I've had a whole semester and not added to this in the least. I'm still of the conviction that it's a story I want to finish (cause I haven't done a lot of those...) but a lot of the ideas I had at the beginning has faded and a lot of the material and backgrounds didn't survive hardware-swapping as computers were updated. So I am considering one of two things; 1) To finish the story in the format and tone as it is or 2) to re-write the story. As I imagine it now it would be written more as the in-game adventures. Considering a few possibilities, picking one and either succeeding or failing and so on...


If I do rewrite the story it would only be for Charseth though, to keep it more consistent and likely faster paced... While I personally like the slightly long-drawn stories I fear I might have overdone it here, but in the same breath, having the story repeated might just be utterly boring.



I'd be happy to hear if there is an opinion in either direction.

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