Sep 18, 2019 5:43 AM
Graysons in Quintessence
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London, September 1843

The Clarendon Academy of Magic, in London, is widely acknowledged as the foremost educational institution for young mages, not only in Britain but across the globe. Founded almost two centuries ago in 1645, it also has the privilege of being the oldest.

Today, its imposing halls and impeccable courtyards are buzzing with even more activity than usual, as more than three hundred new students, most of them around the age of nine, arrive to be registered. Many have parents with them, and are engaged in tearful goodbyes or sudden bouts of anxiety at leaving home. Others have arrived with servants, siblings, or sponsors. 

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Some students are bouncing with excitment.

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Others are keeping their family dignity intact.

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While some are looking like they'd really rather be anywhere but here.

This particular new student stands out for being a couple of years older, and therefore taller, than most of the other first-years. She seems to be trying to make up for it by taking up as little space as possible in the chaos. She seems to have come alone, and looks a little lost.

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This student doesn't occupy much space at any given moment, but she can't hold still so she is occupying a lot of space by dashing around.

She is searching for her new roommate. "Are you Katherine Dyer?"

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"...yes?" Katherine Dyer is, apparently, the tall girl in black, who looks like a crow in a flock of hummingbirds. She looks slightly alarmed to be addressed. 

"Um...why?"

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"I am your new roommate! Temperance Greenshore!"

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"Oh."

Katherine seems a little dazed by everything happening around her. "Um, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." She speaks very precisely and deliberately, pronouncing each word with great care and little emotion. 

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"Likewise! My affinity is ice, I was told your is fire. Maybe they paired us on purpose." She speaks very fast and excitedly. "Are you excited to learn magic? I am! What do you want to learn? I want to learn to make unmelting ice, that moves, and flies so I can go everywhere and sell them!"

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At the word fire, she flinches noticeably.

"I suppose? That does sound nice." Her voice is very quiet, barely audible over the noise of the crowd.

"Um, maybe we should, uh, register? And find our room?"

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"I already did! But I can help you through the process if you want!" Gosh is she chipper or what?

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"That would be useful. Thank you." Katherine seems to be speaking and moving somewhat mechanically, but she makes it through registration and lets Temperance lead the way to their dormitory.

Each hall of residence has a mixture of ages, so they can learn from older students, but they're segregated by gender. Katherine and Temperance are in Nightshade Hall, an all-female dorm built in the early eighteenth century. Their assigned room is on the ground floor.

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She looks around like she isn't expecting to have to live here for the next several years. Any obvious signs of magic? How many people are out there in their hall?

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Aside from the occasional burst of accidental magic from some of the more nervous new arrivals they pass on the way, Nightshade, and Clarendon in general, seems no more obviously magical than the rest of London.

Nightshade has six new students moving in, and can house 72 students at full capacity. Most of the older students will move in tomorrow, but a few have arrived early to help the first-years settle in. Temperance and Katherine are the first pair of roommates to arrive, and their hall matron promptly comes to greet them. 

"Welcome to Nightshade Hall. Misses Dyer and Greenshore? Excellent, excellent. I am Mrs. Crimple, and it is my job to look after all you girls here in Nightshade. Please let me know if there is anything you require." She points out her rooms, just off the entrance hall, and leaves them to unpack.

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Which Miss Greenshore promptly does.

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Miss Graywood arrives shortly after and introduces herself to Mrs. Crimple.

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Miss Dyer unpacks as mechanically as she has been doing everything else. She doesn't seem to have many personal possessions - a few dresses in browns and greys and other drab colours, various other clothing, toiletries, hair-ribbons. 

Buried at the bottom of her luggage are a well-read Bible and a prayer book. These, she places with care on the little table beside her bed, fussing with them as though the world will end if they aren't positioned perfectly. 

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Temperance is definitely not mechanical. "Hey, you never told me what you wanted to do with your magic."

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"I have to learn to control it." Her face is blank and pale. 

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"Well, yes." Temperance says a bit confused with Katherine's reaction.

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"I don't want to do anything with it. Not - " She cuts herself off.

"I just need to learn how to not do magic. That's all I want."

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"But... you could do stuff with it."

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"I did." 

And that seems to be all she wants to say on the subject; she turns away and begins arranging her stockings in a drawer with military precision. 

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It dawns on Temperance a bit too late. "Sorry."

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"It's alright," she lies.

Since she's facing away from Temperance, the tears she fails to blink back won't give her away.

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A few minutes later. A girl comes in, she is vaguely surprised by Temperance being there, "Hi, Temperance." Then she turns to the other girl. "Hello, I am Meghan Graywood."

Total: 125
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