In the carriage, Kaidus was finishing up on the book Life and Death of Malizur Lize Daran Fotbusen.
He had stowed it away when he arrived at the Ravon estate, but traveling in the carriage, it was the perfect opportunity to catch up.
Nearing mid-morning and almost through with the book, he heard the driver.
“Young master, we are approaching Zorin Academy. I can only take to as far as the gates so you will have to walk the rest of the way.”
Engrossed in the book, he had neglected to look outside until this moment.
The street they were driving on was a triple lane road enough for three carriages side by side. There was even a walkway for people walking along the sides of the road.
The previously large mansions and homes he had passed by while on the way to the Ravon estate were non-existent, and in their place were long buildings made out of stones shining with the gleam of protective mana infusions.
There were even farms strewn about the area, presumably to feed those of the academy. Many people who were walking about were looking at the carriage with curiosity in their eyes.
As they approached Zorin Academy’s gate, the driver stopped.
“I do not have permission for entry so you will have to disembark here. That building over there is where new admissions are sorted through and the small shack there is where the gate seer watches. If you show him your proof of admissions, he will call someone to help you with your luggage.”
The driver pointed to a building in the middle of what looks to be the academy and a small shack near the gate.
Finished with helping him unloading his luggage,
“With that young master, I bid you the best of luck.” The driver gave Kaidus a nod before turning the carriage around and departing back to the Ravon estate.
Kaidus walked up to the shack he had been point towards.
“Hello?” He called out but there was no answer. Looking around, there was no one to be seen by the gate. Confused at the reception, Kaidus let himself him.
The gate opened easily after touching it with his hand that sported the enchantment.
Although the carriage driver had told him that someone would come to get his luggage, with no one in sight, a single thought lifted the couple bags that he brought along and he willed them to follow himself inside the gates.
‘Well, looks like it’s the admissions building that I should head to for now.’ Unable to find anyone, he headed towards the admissions building that the driver had pointed out to him.
As he followed the road, a Kovus peered out of one of the adjacent buildings and headed towards him.
The Kovus were a friendly race of Mountain dwellers and he recalls them to live primarily along mountain ranges burrowing into the mountain sides. But in this new world, it looked like they had adapted to the changes over the course of history like many of the other races and were coexisting with each other.
The Kovus has human-like features with a face, body, arms, and legs. What they differed in was the streamlined protruding plates covering their head instead of hairs. Their hands were significantly larger and more slender than the other races, with powerful legs that can propel them quickly whether it be for hunting prey or escaping predators. Although the majority of them lack affinity with mana, there are quite a few interracial marriages amongst the races nowadays, resulting in a large variety of races with the capability of birthing a mixed child with mana.
“Who are you and how did you get in?” The Kovus questioned.
The Kovus was a female, and from her physical features, had retained little of the dominant Kovus traits.
She had a beautiful face and her head retained the plates, but only on the front. The back of her head sprouted bright blue hair flowing down to her back like a normal girl.
Her arms and legs looked completely normal like those of any other humans, and judging by her looks, she appeared to be around her 20s.
“I am Kaidus a new student here. There was no one to see me at the gate so I let myself in.”
“Where’s Zeeke?” The Kovus girl asked while scrutinizing him.
“I don’t know who Zeeke is, but I was told there would be a gate seer. I called for him but there was no answer.”
“Damit, that bloody thing better not be off chasing something again.”
“I was told to go to the admissions building upon my arrival.” Kaidus interjected as she muttered curses about this Zeeke.
“Head straight forward like how you were.” She replied, scanning the grounds for this “Zeeke”.
“Then please excuse me.” Kaidus made a curt bow and resumed his journey towards the admissions building.
Looking around, the Kovus girl spotted a few packs floating in the air following the child towards the building.
“AH! We’ve been expecting you! Lord Gelrin’s little… ‘prodigy’ if I may be so blunt.” A stout borderline overweight man happily exclaimed after Kaidus introduced himself and revealed the enchanted mark on his hand.
“We’ve got your room all prepared and ready for you. All that is required to do now is to decide on what you will be studying while attending.”
“What are the options?” Kaidus asked.
“Lord Gelrin spoke extremely highly of you. He had said that it was unnecessary to put you in with the beginners, so we had decided on a couple of choice courses.”
-Intermediate Arkane studies: the theorization of mana infusions and manifestation into spells for combat, along with hands on display of said spells by teachers.
-Subjugations: a class to teach immobilization spells and self-defense.
-Supplementation of mana: for those of lower mana capacities to use their mana efficiently and pull more from the spirit dimension of Lagus.
-Intermediate combat: a class to train mages for combat
-Intermediate summons: for those with an affinity for summoning magic, calling and binding spirits from Lagus.
“Of course numbers and letters will also be taught for those who require them.” The jolly man smiled at Kaidus.
“…..” it was Kaidus’ turn to be speechless. “… Would it be possible for anything more advanced?”
“Don’t let the names and descriptions fool you. These classes are extremely high leveled. Usually a student would have to have studied here for at least two years before they are good enough to move on to intermediate. Even with lord Gelrin’s recommendations, we cannot put you any higher due to your age and the unknowns of your abilities.” The man smiled, a smile of satisfaction.
“I see. How many am I to sign up for?” Kaidus asked, unsure.
“You may sign up for three courses a term. At the end of that term, your skills will be evaluated to see if you may progress onto more advance classes.”
“Please sign me up for Intermediate Summons, Intermediate Arkane studies, and Subjugations then.”
“Of course. Will you be requiring classes for letters and numbers?” The plump man asked.
“No. Just those three.”
Having signed up for his points of studies, Kaidus was shown to his room by one of the students.
He garnered many looks while walking through the academy grounds, but paid no attention to them.
His room was west of the admissions building and in one of the larger boarding houses.
The room was quite large for him alone and came with many necessities: a desk, a large bed, chairs, even an apparatus that lights up by infusing mana into it. The room even had a lounge chair made with fine fur and there was a shelf where he could store his books. There was also a chest for his clothes along with a smaller chest infused into the building with a lock on it for valuables. Looking around the room, he spied a door that opens into his own private washroom, complete with toilet and bath.
‘… This is too much.’ When the Old Lord said he had found proper lodging, Kaidus had not expected such a lavish suite.
Unloading, he put his clothes into the chest and put the one book he brought with him onto the shelf. After moving the paper and inks onto the desk, he was practically finished. In the last bag were a couple of steamed Derilt roots that Adalina had packed for him.
Taking them out, Kaidus ate while thinking about home.
Having finished eating, it was time to look around the academy.
Leaving his things in his room, Kaidus strolled outside into the midday sun.
The academy was overflowing with students moving briskly to and from buildings, and many of their eyes caught his figure as their faces distorted into puzzlement.
“Excuse me, are you one of the master’s child?” An older boy called out to him.
“No.” He replied to the boy.
“Are you lost?” The boy questioned.
“No. Sorry, I’m actually a student. I’ve just arrived today.” Kaidus explained to the boy.
“Oh, Sorry. I didn’t know. The name is Mirat Klivus, a 2nd year student, and you?”
“Kaidus Paltos. This will be my first year. Pleased to meet you.”
“Pleasure is mine.” Mirat replied. “Paltos… never heard of that name before, is your family new in Ward 11?”
“Actually, I’ve lived in the 3rd ward for the past 6 years.” Kaidus replied unashamed of his status.
“Amazing! A commoner in Zorin Academy!” Mirat was happily shaking Kaidus’s hand. Students walking past were looking at him like he was crazy.
Taking a step back, Mirat looked at him more closely. “Exactly how old are you?”
“Wha—! The youngest student here is 15. To think that a seven year old… *mumble*” Mirat went quiet talking to himself.
“Not at all. It was just a coincidence that I ended here.” Kaidus tried to quell the young man’s excitement, but such weak reasoning’s fell on deaf ears.
Without another word,
“Would it be too intrusive if I were to ask what studies you are taking?” Mirat, having calmed down by himself, asked Kaidus.
“Looks like I’ll be taking intermediate Arkane studies, intermediate summoning, and subjugation. What about yourself?”
“Intermediate arkane studies… summoning… and subjugations…” Mirat echoed.
“Then we are taking the same studies.” Kaidus replied a smile on his face.
“Oh no. I was just repeating yours to get them through to my head. My studies are Beginner’s combat, beginner’s supplementation of mana, and beginner’s subjugations…” Mirat’s voice lowered as he recited each of his classes.
“Apologies. I did not mean to offend.”
“Eh. Don’t worry about it. I knew it would be something like this when I asked… heheh…” Mirat gave a slow defeated laugh.
“Well, no use beating myself. Want me to show you around the grounds? My 2nd class just finished I’ve got quite a bit of time before the next one.” Having quickly bounced back from his depression, the older boy offered to show Kaidus around.
“That would be greatly appreciated.”
Zorin Academy was nothing to scoff at. The area itself was more than 50 times larger than the 3rd ward plaza with only two gates leading into the academy, and the academy itself is fenced up with mana infused iron bars all along the perimeters. There were even Azolus trees planted along the inside of the fences to give the academy a feel of privacy and disconnection from the outside.
From the admissions building in the middle, all the main facilities were to the east: combat, demonstrations, magic invocations, team practices, and testing fields. The boarding houses and eateries were located to the west, and had a total of six boarding houses in all—His was one of the larger finer boarding houses—along with a variety of student ran shops. To the north were four lecture halls and three other elongated buildings serving as lodgings for the masters, and his most sought after building, the Library: a vast tall building that towered over the lecture halls and master’s lodges.
Between the three distinctive areas were wide open spaces for the students to relax and socialize, all with tables and large trees providing ample shade.
“By the way, who is Zeeke?” having been shown around, it was the one curiosity that was left.
“The gate seer?” Mirat replied confused at the question.
“Earlier, a girl called it a ‘thing’. I’ve not seen it for myself and have been curious about it since” He clarified his question.
“Zeeke… hmm… I guess you can call it a summon spirit? It’s been with the academy for as long as anyone could remember. He is usually docile, but last year, one of the lord was here making a huge case about why his son got expelled and attempted to enter the academy grounds. No one knew where Zeeke came from, but he suddenly appeared and thrashed the lord, breaking his collarbone and one of his leg.” Mirat seemed to have grimaced as he told that later part about Zeeke.
“Was there any repercussion?”
“No. The lord had been warned plenty of times, and everyone knew that trespassing into the academy without a mark of admission were grounds for an attack. In my opinion, the lord got off easy. There are stories of Zeeke straight out dismembering intruders in the earlier days of the academy.” The fear was showing in Mirat’s face now.
“I see.” Intrigued by what he just heard, Kaidus wanted to see this ‘Zeeke’ even more.
Having returned to the vicinity of the admissions building,
“Thank you for showing me around. It would have taken me significantly more time without your help.” Kaidus gave Mirat a respecting bow.
“Not at all.” Mirat shook his head signaling it was nothing. “I best be heading off for now, my next class will start soon. Need to return to my room and gather some materials. Nice to have met you Kaidus, I’ll be seeing you around.” Mirat held out his hand.
After the handshake, Kaidus was back to wandering the academy grounds alone.
Mirat Klivus, of House Klivus. Kaidus had learned that the young man was of low nobility within the 11th ward. His great grandfather had served as a commanding knight in one of the previous great wars, and the king at that time had elevated his status to that of a noble for his exemplary services. Humility and the humble origin of their house was something that Mirat took pride in.
It was probably that pride and humility that brought him to talk to Kaidus in the first place.
Being the sole child in the Klivus household to have been gifted with mana ever since his great grandfather, the family had used most of their resources to send him to Zorin Academy. His lack of abilities was something that greatly troubled him.
Hearing that Kaidus, a commoner child had somehow entered himself into the elite school for nobles, it was something that Mirat greatly respected.
‘There are those like him too.’ The thought that not everyone at the academy would be against him, a young upstart, gave him a measure of comfort.
Of course many others had judged him for the clothes he wore and possibly his association with Mirat, but those were minor issues and did not bother him.
More students and some teachers looked towards him curiously as he made his way to the one place he wanted to indulge himself in: the Library.
Sitting in Intermediate Arkane studies, his first class of the day, Kaidus was reprocessing the title of books he had been looking through yesterday in his head. Sorting them from what he wanted to read the most, to the least.
Luckily for him, the new term had just started not too long ago—around the time of the kalligor incident—and the classes were just starting to fall into the actual studies.
Many of the students had laughed and ridiculed him when he entered the classroom, but upon seeing the instructor welcome him, introducing him, and gesturing him to a seat, the room had gone quiet.
“…into your very beings. It is an ever changing and infinite dimension where the primal aspects of our powers are from. The amount of mana required to invoke a single incantation differentiates depending on the user: their control over their mana, their innate abilities, their affinity with the mana in their body, and the primal mana of Lagus.”
The master was lecturing the class about the benefits of being able to utilize one’s mana to the utmost. Although the lecture was reiterating a lot of things that would be taught in the beginners course, the intermediate class was where students start learning the concepts behind drawing the ancient and primordial mana from the spirit world of Lagus.
“Two people of the same capacities but different skills will not be able to recreate the same phenomenon. The one with better control and affinity will able to solidify their magic and bring it out, using only the appropriate amount of mana required, while the one with less ability, control, and affinity will have leakage in their infusion. But while that may be the case with individual capacities, the raw mana that you can draw from Lagus is on a different level. That is one of the reasons why this academy only teaches such things to those who have proven themselves worthy of tapping into the unrestrained pool that is Lagus.” The teacher made eye contacts with all the students in the room before continuing.
“Many up and becoming mages have fallen to the lure that is the power of Lagus. While the raw power makes you near invincible, and a single drop of it could perform miracles equating to a vast measure of your own capacities, it is like a venom that slowly corrodes your mind. Without proper training and discipline, you will end up dead. Or worst, corrupted and your mind lost forever.”
“…” The room was silently listening.
“That being the case, there is an alternative. What is this alternative? Jace?” The instructor questioned one of the students.
“The binding of a spirit to your name from Lagus. By using the spirit as an intermediary, you can purify the raw power with the spirit as a conduit, thus allowing for safe control and use.” The boy promptly replied.
“What is the approximate percentage of usable mana?” The master replied back to Jace.
“Depending on the spirit rank, anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent.”
“Good. What are the different types of spirits that are possible to contract with? Dorine?” Pointing towards a girl of around 20.
“The Nuits of Light, Rhas of Shadows, Frems of Fire, Vanu of Water, Vix of Lightning, Das of Earth, Ziv of Wind, Kels of Metal, Hirces of Nature, and the Phraes who are not of the spirit world.” The girl Dorine answered eloquently and gave a wide grin when she added the last ones.
“Well done. Certainly, although unable to be used as conduits, the Phraes are spirits and can also be contracted. Each spirit enhances the affinity with magic of the same elements and bolster one’s own magic. And with the nine elemental types from the spirit world, there are also nine elemental lords who rule over the spirits–”
Kaidus stirred in his chair.
“Master Gorzon, I believe those are just legends? No one has ever been able to summon an Elemental Lord.” A student interrupted.
“Faden, How many times have I told you to stop interrupting me in class?” The master asked in an affable tone.
“This makes it the 24th time since the beginning of the term.” The student Faden answered with a grin.
“You pesky brat. Yes, it is as you’ve said. No one has been able to summon an elemental lord. The only knowledge we have about them are records from eons ago recalling the last few great mages who brought terror and tyranny upon the world with the elemental lords at their sides. Even being a legend, such information can inspire mages and propel them into new plateaus, so do not dismiss such information.” The master scolded.
“As I was saying before that untimely interruption, there are nine elemental lords who rule over the spirits. Unlike the other spirits who are conduits, the spirit lords themselves are the pure embodiment of mana and from the records, the loss during the purification process does not exist with these powerful beings. Now, how’s that for a legend?” the master inquired towards Faden.
‘…..’ Memories of the past flashed in Kaidus’s mind.