This post has the following content warnings:
Aug 13, 2022 1:46 PM
+ Show First Post
Total: 889
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

It feels like being splashed with acid, screaming needles of pain bursting through her legs, intense enough that she doesn't notice herself screaming or falling out of her chair—

Permalink

Lily starts towards Marianne for a moment, then catches herself. She cautiously straightens back up in her chair and attends to the professor.

She doesn't say anything.

Permalink

"I thought that was funny. But my present responsibility is catching you up to the other children, and they have already learned propriety. I don't want to stamp all the fun out of you, just keep it in the sidelines and subtones. If a member of Hawthorne staff asks a direct question of you, you must answer as truly and faithfully as possible."

Clear?"

Permalink

 

She returns to her seat feeling seven times more awake. "Just so, ma'am."

Permalink

"Very clear."

Permalink

"The first task of a Hawthorne student is the reification of her basely mothergifts. Your peers have been toiling over theirs for the past three weeks; their projects are due in seven days. Yours will be turned in no later. To offset your disadvantage, the both of you shall enjoy my personal supervision rather than that of a senior."

"Do you have any good questions? You must not spend hours stumbling around over knowledge that is trite for me to convey, but you must neither fritter my time."

Permalink

Lily opens her mouth, then pauses and closes it again. 

Where is the library she can ask of a doll. What is a good introductory text covering the basic principles of refining mothergifts can be asked of a librarian, they'd know. And in any case the professor apparently wants them to - oh, there's a thought. 

"What useful practical demonstrations of basic refining principles can be done within the time we have right now, giving priority to ones that we might have trouble replicating independently?"

Permalink

"That is a good question. I can scarce believe that I have just asked a witchling for something, then received what I asked for."

A disruption flickers in the air over her hand, then a pair of vials of cyan fluid sit in her palm. She places them on the table.

"I will demonstrate. Before I do, these are R3 stimulants. They are not mandatory, but I suggest you take advantage of Hawthorne's generosity when it is extended."

Permalink

Lily takes one of the small blue vials, looks over at Marianne for a moment. 

Could you Identify this -

If this witch wanted her drugged she'd be drugged already. She pulls the stopper and knocks back the vial.

Permalink

Isabel seems to be getting along with the teacher better than she is, which is not at all what she expected, but is actually way better. Marianne can eat pain but has legitimately no idea how it would affect her dandelion and also fuck that. She pops the other vial and downs it.

It's fizzy and cold and tastes like buzz and elation and excitement and the need to—

Permalink

"Good. I have not declared myself: know me as Professor Ravi of craftsmanship."

"Your capacities max out at fifth rank — therefore I will dock many points if your rods prove incapable of channeling that. Neither of you are close to your ceilings, but I believe in conducting an affair only once. Now: Hawthorne attempts an utter minimum of red tape, but there is a necessary little around the requisite materials for an R5 implement. I will waive it."

"Walk with me." Ravi stands, striding from the room and around the corner without a spare moment.

Permalink

Lily starts quickly up from her chair, not wanting to be left behind.

Permalink

Marianne is quick on her heels, bright and attentive despite consortation fatigue and four hours of sleep.

Eeeee!

Permalink

The unfamiliar halls are beige and drab, with unlabelled doors on each side. There is red light, from... somewhere. Ocassionally they intersect another hallway. Professor Ravi takes a path with multiple turnings and even apparent backtracking. 

Permalink

As they walk —

"I will now elide several days' lecture," Professor Ravi calls without turning. "First idea: there is no generally ideal composition for a rod. Physical medium is the key determinant of spiritual makeup, and your soul cannot comprehensively interface with most configurations of spirit."

"Second idea: you must make a selection of materials that fit you. A frequent student error is tailoring their implement to befit the person they aspire to be or incorrectly imagine themselves as. You must have a clear and coherent notion of your spirit; you must be able to look upon your flawed, crooked self and consider it wishlessly. Then you must create a tool suitable for that person."

"Hawthorne Academia possesses an extensive collection of exotic woods, textiles, metals, and stones; the Bogrine Markets and Shopkeeper Mammon can supply additional choice still. We will look at some now. If you think you feel a calling or resonance or such, that is mirage. I have found critical thinking to be the peer of R3 divination — attempt to employ it for this visit."

Permalink

— the materials room has no door. To all appearances, they simply turn into a hallway that terminates in an enormous chamber. It is reminiscent of a bank lobby: glass and tile and wood and white light. It diverges from one in that most of the floor is occupied by a mountain of scintillant metal objects encircled by a dark winged serpent.

Permalink

It rises from its coils, loose metal showering from where it had settled between scales.

"UNSCHEDULED."

Permalink

"Well-observed. The children are here to withdraw materials for the revision of mothergifts."

Permalink

Lily stands quite still and says nothing.

Permalink

The dragon is absolutely fucking gorgeous, enough so to distract even from the prospect of getting to feel rare and intricate textures.

Marianne quells the delighted laughter bubbling in her chest. Instead she lifts her robes and bends her knees in a curtsy. Their voice was different enough from a human's that gender was indiscernible but fortunately one of the honorifics is sort of neutral:

"Good evening, sir."

Permalink

Steam rises from its mouth like a child on a winter day. Its voice is lower when it speaks again, an airplane engine rather than a gunshot.

"TO WITCHES OF THE FIFTH RANK POTENTIAL: THE HOUSE OFFERS A ONE-TIME INTERESTLESS SUBSIDY LOAN OF NO MORE THAN 72,000₭ TOWARDS THE PURCHASE OF INSTRUMENTAL MATERIAL, A GENEROSITY TO BE REPAID BEFORE GRADUATION."

"I WILL HELP MINIMIZE THE NECESSARY SIZE OF LOAN."

Permalink

The air above Professor Ravi's hand is refractive for a moment, then a pair of glasses fall into her hand. She snaps them in half, spends two seconds shaping the pieces into usable monocles, and tosses one at each student.

"We lack the time to make a study of exotic metallurgy: you will acquaint yourselves firsthand. These lenses are bound with R3 passive identification. If something seems appropriate to you, ask for more information. If there is a crucial facet of yourself that you are unsure how to evoke, describe it to one of us. Accountant will assist Amber and I shall be helping Belor. You are of course free to use personal materials if you wish, but I doubt you have either the time or resources."

"The silver lining to undertaking this process over a week is that an R5 augury can see to the first hours of the end result. I am prepared to cast this spell at the price of 30k kisses, deducted from your loan amount."

Permalink

Of course she arranges it so we're both with the one we like less. 

Lily carefully puts in the monocle. "Thank you, Professor Ravi." She steps forwards and looks up at the incongrously-named dragon. "I'm ready to proceed with looking at samples now."

Permalink

Tiny white text spreads before Lily's eye.

Accountant. Fire - Beast.
The draconic treasurer of Hawthorne Academia, Accountant also manages their investment portfolio and cultivates wyrmgold on their behalf.
The dragon is the king of monsters, capable of flight, breathing fire, and laying potent curses.

Permalink

This is going to be really hard. Even more than it's supposed to be, on account of Marianne having more personas than god, without any visible center.

"—I apologize ma'am, but I have not been taking simultaneous Assimilation or any other classes. I don't actually know what an R5 augury does, nor the fair market price of one."

Marianne puts on her monocle and — crushing a mote of fear — looks at Ravi.

Total: 889
Posts Per Page: