“Your mother and I had long hoped you’d enroll at our Alma Mater, Mossblossom Central, but with your former power levels even with your rare talent that would have been impossible. Now though, it should be quite easy. Once there, your mother and I want you to find out more about Ms. Gennixia.”
“And,” His mother adds, “If you get the chance, kill her.”
“Honey, your psychotic side is showing again,” His father pats her shoulder, soothingly. “Don’t say things like that so bluntly, someone might get the wrong idea.” Turning back to Adamar, he says, “Well son, will you do it?”
Adamar blinks. This was… not what he was expecting. Wasn’t assassination normally a more menial task? Something to assign to underlings? Perhaps this is a test of some sort, a way to prove himself. Since he’d already be there, it would make sense for him to murder this Gennixia if he gets the chance since it would take extra resources to get someone else inside. Of course, he’s never actually killed anyone before. This will probably be an unusual experience if he does go through with it. But Mother said he should do it like it wasn’t much to ask, she’s probably done it multiple times, and she doesn’t seem traumatized by it. If he does go through with the whole killing bit instead of just gathering information, he should be fine too, right?
“Of course Father.” Adamar says. “I’ll be happy to help any way I can.”
Everything after that talk streamlined. Adamar took the entrance exams within the week. His parents probably had to pull a few strings to allow him to take the test so late, but his score was his own, and he passed with flying colors. His parents were delighted that their design worked, and started packing his bags immediately. The last week before school flew by in a flurry of repacking, practice, and instruction. Adamar rehearsed responses to common questions and practiced not giving away information with uncommon ones with his father. His mother drilled him on how and with whom to interact with, and gave him a crash course on poisons “just in case”. By the first day of arrivals week, Adamar is confident he’ll be able to blend in with the normal students.
Since Mossblossom Central is near the war zone, his parents take an escort with them to drop him off. Patrols based in the area are more frequent and better staffed. Adamar doubts dwarves would be able to get within a mile of the illusionary perimeter to the school grounds. Of course, the illusions are down this week, and all the extra patrols will probably only increase dwarven curiosity as to what secrets this area holds, but a dwarven invasion isn’t what he should be worried about. No, what twists Adamar’s stomach is the residents of the school themselves. Will he be sufficiently convincing? Will anyone suspect? Can he keep his cool? The cockiness he felt before he left recedes with every step the horses take.
His parents ride him right up to the gates of the school, where his father hands off Adamar’s luggage to a member of the staff, who floats it inside and apparently to his dorm. Mother gives him one last hug, kisses his head like he was seventy, and whispers “good luck” in his ear. And then he is escorted inside by the same staff member who levitated his luggage, and brought to the center of the complex right beneath the floating towers.
When the platform beneath his feet starts rocketing upwards, Adamar flinches, surprised. His escort however, remains calm. Adamar, deciding to take his cues from him, quickly adopts the same expression. Sure enough, the staff member delivers him safely on the second floor of the tower.
“What happens to the platform?” Adamar asks after they get off. It isn’t going back down, just sitting on the set of sliding doors in the floor that it came through.
“It will fuse to become part of the building and a new one will appear for the next people who need it.” His escort says calmly, guiding him away from the intriguing mechanism and into a maze of hallways. Adamar pays close attention at first to where they are going, but soon realizes it is futile when one of the walls slides out in front of them revealing a corridor. If the walls can move, mapping this place out more thoroughly later with It would be impossible.
Eventually they reach a room and a voice calmly calls them to “Enter”
Adamar steps in first and takes a look at his new surroundings. The HeadMaster’s room, if this was indeed where he is, is rather simple. There are a few geometric wall hangings, some trophies in a glass case, and a desk where the HeadMaster sits in his swivel chair. The man himself is much more interesting than his room, his long auburn hair is capped with an emerald top hat, and his matching robes, although simple and traditional in style, are caked with intricate embroidery. Adamar’s eyes catch on one of the designs as it shifts, reforming itself. He can’t see the final design though because HeadMaster Morthose Haulding shifts positions and it is covered by one of the folds in his sleeves.
His eyes narrow in on Adamar, and although he is smiling, Adamar shifts nervously.
“Welcome to Mossblossom Central Master Erhorn. Shortly, you will be escorted to your room by Master Siraye here and given your schedule. But before that, do you have any questions concerning the school or the rules? I assume you’ve read the rulebook.” The HeadMaster nods towards a thick brown book sitting on his desk.
“Do all students meet with the HeadMaster upon arrival? Or am I singled out for some reason?” Adamar says, and then knows it was the wrong question.
“Do you have a reason you might be singled out?” The HeadMaster catches on to his slipup almost instantly.
Adamar hesitates, and finally says, “Well, I thought many of the test questions were a little too easy. I was wondering if you suspected me of cheating because I took the test under such unusual circumstances.” Slipping in truths with lies was one of the things he and his father had practiced, and it’s already coming in handy.
“No, I don’t have any worries on that part. Since you’re so much older than all of the other students, it’s only natural you’d feel some are easier. ” The HeadMaster replies, “Really if I was trying to single you out it would more likely be for the, ahh, unique talent you demonstrated during the test. Not many people have those sorts of skills nowadays.”
“I noticed you avoided my original question.”
“I’ve taken note that you’ve noticed. That is a good thing, this school likes people who notice things. You’ll probably do quite well for yourself here if you decide to stay.”
“Whatever do you mean HeadMaster?”
“I find many students who arrive under unusual circumstances leave shortly after something drastic happens, also under unusual circumstances.”
Adamar blinks. Was there a history of this sort of thing happening here? “Must make a lot of room for people coming in second year.” He comments blandly. The HeadMaster still hasn’t answered his question.
“Yes, well, my point is, I hope a bright child like yourself doesn’t join their ranks. Dropouts find it hard to get jobs in the outside world.”
Inside Adamar, a tiny part of him was panicking, screeching that the HeadMaster knew all, he was basically threatening him, and he should just stop this whole thing now and go home. Adamar squashes it deeper and smiles at the HeadMaster.
“My mind was made up when I applied here sir, I don’t see any reason to change it.”
“Well then, I think that should be all, unless you have any more questions?”
“Well, you still haven’t answered my original one, so I think asking any others would be pointless.”
“You learn quickly, just like your test results suggested, another trait we look for here.” The HeadMaster smiles sardonically, “Yes, I think you will do quite well here Master Erhorn.” He then turns to my escort. “Siraye, whenever you’re ready.”
Siraye clicks his heels and guides Adamar out of the room. As they leave, Adamar hears the HeadMaster murmur “Special case indeed. I’ll be keeping an expectant eye on you, Adamar.” He isn’t sure whether the HeadMaster knew he’d be listening and so said it for his benefit, or if he was just talking to empty air. If the former, he’d managed to completely grasp Adamar’s personality within the span of a few minutes. That combined with the loaded words they’d exchanged earlier would be enough to prove that he was incredibly smart and could be supremely dangerous to the mission, so further contact should be avoided whenever possible. If the latter, well, considering everything that had happened, the latter is seeming more unlikely the more he considers it. One doesn’t rise to the title of HeadMaster of the top magic school in elven territories without being exceedingly cunning.
Two days later Adamar met his first roommate. He had noticed the new family arrive but didn’t actually meet the elf until he came back to their room two hours later to find him unpacking by one of the remaining beds.
“You have to be the owner of the other bed!” The boy exclaimed, his fluffy red hair sticking up in every direction. “My name is Grem, Grem Narsyr, what’s yours?” He held out his hand in greeting.
“Adamar Erhorn.” Adamar replied, and shook it. Slightly cautious, he looked into the boy’s eyes, trying to discern any ill will. But nothing appeared visible except clear excitement that was to be expected at a long anticipated arrival and new acquaintance. In fact if anything, this boy appeared too chipper.
“Oh! You’re related to the Erhorns? Cool! Do you have any gadgets with you?”
“A couple.” Adamar reveals. “Nothing big. My family deals mostly in magic restricting devices, which isn’t really what you want here.”
The boy, Grem, laughs. “Of course, of course, my mistake. Still, could I see them? The ones you did bring along?”
Adamar blinks at him. “It’s not like they’re hidden.” He goes over to his work desk, which he had already set up during the last couple days, and removed from the drawer his fake concentration device. Father said they would disguise his unique talent as an elaborate scrying spell, so they had together decided that an elaborate orb that would react when he used magic would do quite well for the impressive look. Then he removed a couple of papers and reached into a conveniently located crack in the desk that hadn’t been here when he’d arrived. He pulled out It and gently set It by the orb. Grem gasped appreciatively.
“What is it?”
“A spying drone.” Adamar explains. “The spell to activate one of It’s kind has been in the family for generations.”
“You already have plans for a spy network setup?” Grem looks very impressed, and although it isn’t quite what Adamar had in mind, he found the idea quite pleasing. It would certainly help him gather info on this Ms. Gennixia.
“Something like that.”
“Wait, I think I’ve heard of this method before. Your drone looks a bit like a spider, only with two legs pulled off. Could this possibly be a Bugging device?”
Adamar has no clue what he is talking about, so bluffs. “Not exactly, as this one is coded only to my family, but similar to a degree.”
“That’s so nifty! I wish I had one like it, and was able to drive it of course. You’re going to tell me everything you overhear right?”
“Who overhears what?” Says a new voice from the doorway. Both Adamar and Grem look up and see their third roommate. His hair is long and tied in a ponytail, is mostly black but has one stripe by his left ear dyed a startling silver.
“You must be the third roommate we were waiting for!” Grem announces happily. “I’m Grem, Grem Narsyr, and this is Adamar Erhorn. I just arrived recently but he’s been here for a couple of days. What’s your name?”
“Um…” the newcomer hesitates, unnerved by Grem’s energy. “My name’s Kailu Respen.”
“Excellent to meet you Kai, can I call you Kai? Adamar here was just showing me his Bugging device. His family makes this sort of thing for a living, and he was just about to promise me, well I suppose now it would be us, that he’ll tell us everything he overhears with it.”
Adamar blinks at his certainty. He notices Kailu, or now Kai, looks quite interested, but still very nervous. He really should learn to control his facial expressions.
“I don’t mind if you call me Kai.” He says, moving forward to see It. Grem obligingly moves aside. “It’s beautiful.” He admires It, then to Adamar, asks “Can I hold it?”
“I’d prefer if you didn’t. It is rather fragile, and I don’t have the right tools to fix it or build another with me.”
“Ahh well” Kai retracts his hand. “Maybe when you get another.”
“You seem certain that I will.” Adamar says curiously.
“You don’t seem the type to not have a backup plan, if you’ll excuse me for saying, so you probably already have an idea of where to get supplies to build yourself another.” Adamar smiles at him. This one is clever, albeit a bit too polite. He probably is rather shy, as he seemed unnerved by Grem’s energy, but he’s making an effort to be friendly. Adamar can respect that. If he weren’t here to gather information and potentially kill someone, he might even be able to get along with these two. But with the way things have turned out, he should try not to get emotionally close. If he did, he might feel guilt for lying to them, and that would only weaken him.
The last couple days in arrivals week came to a close. Everyone arrived and got settled in their dorms. Friends were established, mental maps of routes to classrooms were made, and Adamar made a list of ‘off limits’ areas to explore with It.
The first actual day of classes started with a small note under their door telling them that the day would begin with a surprise in the Gathering classroom after breakfast. When Adamar and his roommates arrive, most of the seats are already full so they slide into the back.
At the exact time their first class is supposed to start there is a puff of smoke onstage and a small bang. Everyone focuses on the small grey cloud that the explosion produced, and so totally miss the HeadMasters entrance onto the stage.
“Welcome students, to a new year at Mossblossom Central!” He calls over the crowd and around a hundred heads swing his direction. “As you should all know, I’m your HeadMaster, Morthose Haulding. The other Masters and I have seen some very promising test scores this year, and we wanted to welcome all you newbies. Unfortunately because the others have actual work to do, they couldn’t be here, so it’s just me and you guys. Since this is basically a ‘get to know you’ session feel free to ask any questions you want of anyone you want, but remember that I too will be asking you questions. If you don’t feel comfortable answering a question, you don’t have to, but recall that some here will certainly keep note of any questions you don’t answer, so it is better to say something that might be slightly embarrassing than to have everyone wondering and spreading ridiculous rumors over why you didn’t want to answer a certain question. Who’d like to start?” The HeadMaster says, smiling gleefully, his eyes flickering over the students in Adamars section. Adamar takes a deep calming breath, another test, he can do this.