Jan 29, 2022 2:34 AM
mind control? in MY scholomance? it's more likely than you think
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Bella didn't get a section of Intro Incantations this semester. Her understanding is that this happens to lots of people and means she'll have it every day of the week next semester, but it's still not good - intro incantations is one of the most practical freshman courses and you don't actually want to be scrambling to catch up on how to light dark places and purify water and open your door without getting up and clean a stain out of your homework so it's legible when you turn it in and check a room for lurky mals and uncramp your writing hand mid-essay and - well, it covers a lot. Since a bunch of students have this problem there are some study groups where an upperclassman contributes old notes for the class and settles for a very token payment on their use. Caio doesn't have intro incantations either, so they are both hanging out Monday after classes with Suze's notes, Suze's friend's cousin, another freshman Suze owes a favor through some very circuitous route of favor transitivity, and somebody who found out they were doing this from the cousin and tagged along.

They're not doing all the coursework from intro incantations, unless they have spare time, just the spells, so they're in month three, now, and -

"Ooh," says Suze's friend's cousin, "so that's how people get those jobs at banks where they're the vice president of internal compliance and don't do things."

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"You also need it for, like, airline travel, unless your enclave makes really great fake IDs. Otherwise, security looks at it, makes a face, and you have to get the spell off, go 'no, it's fine'..."

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"Why can't people just get real IDs? There has to be some procedure to tell them your birth certificate was lost in a fire if you don't have one."

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"If you get a real ID then your parents get in trouble for your truancy and stuff, and like, for your weird vaccination schedule...you don't want a legal identity, you just want something that passes muster when you wave it in their guards' faces." The girl has some popcorn from the vending machine and is snacking on it and then licking cheddar dust off her fingers.

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"My parents have me registered as homeschooling! It's not that hard!"

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"I was at lunch the other day," another girl says, "with a kid who said Child Protective Services threatened to take her and her younger sibs away, after a couple of them died. Can you imagine."

"Man, mundies. They're so intrusive and useless at the same time."

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"They don't know." She shouldn't be getting into this argument, it is not going to improve her productivity or her lifespan, there are no mundies here to mind-control except the nurse. "I guess I don't have any siblings so I can't talk though."

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"Yeah if a mundie family lost two kids they probably would be doing something horribly wrong. Anyway, it looks like it's low-mana if it's a small ask, wanna practice it on each other?"

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"I don't see it coming up in the next four years, seems like a waste of mana. Also, fair warning, if you do it to me I'll just counterspell you."

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" - uh. Okay."

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What does she say. - does she have to say anything. Not saying anything is an improvement on "my cousin died of being mind controlled at the wrong moment" which isn't even true. She moves closer to Caio.

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"I'm not, like, trying to fuck with you," the girl says defensively, but lets it drop.

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Oh good. She could probably get access to Suze's notes another time but it'd be inconvenient.

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When she leaves the study session Annisa waves at her and Caio; the Group has secured a large carrel, this time, in view of the main reading room, and are plodding their way respectively through math, French, composition, and horrible Persian medicine.  Then Annisa notices she looks kind of mad. Well, probably she's not mad at Annisa. 

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"Hi Annisa."

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"How goes it."

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"Oh, can't complain, just learned a spell to seize the thoughts of mere mortals and slave them to my will, you?"

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I think my dad used to use that to get tourists to buy us mangos, Annisa doesn't say because one Bella looks pissed about it and two it's a weakness, and you don't just say those. 

"I didn't know there was a class on that! I am, as ever, learning French."

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"It's intro incantations, I don't have it this semester so I'm in a study group to grab all the spells and maybe do some of next semester's homework early. You will presumably get it in a few weeks."

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"Are you worried about people fucking with your head? There's that Chicago mundie who trails cheerfully around behind Incredibly Bad Vibes Girl, I've wondered...."

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"I don't think I've seen them, actually. I'm not - especially worried about it happening here, but, like, the poor mundies - actual mundies I mean not muggleborns -"

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"If you get a spell for checking we could check each other?"

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"Don't have the spare mana for being paranoid."

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"One of my eventual plans - which are more like dreams at present, to be clear - is for the divining knives to light up when other peoples' magic is active. You know, so you can be paranoid for a one-time cost and then on the margin for free." On the margin is a terminology from Naima's Econ class and Annisa likes it very much; it's the sort of thing there obviously should be a word for.

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"Oh, that would be cool. Maybe I can get something like that in shop next semester, seems like the sort of thing I should be getting."

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"It really does!!!

 

 

...do you imagine the mundies mind it, or is it just - that even if they never guess and it's not unpleasant that they weren't really alive for a bit in there -"

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