"Oh! My boy is all grown up and going off to university already! What am I going to do with my time without you around to clean up after?" With those words Nanny pulled out her handkerchief and blew her nose, then reached up to hug Maroc for the fifth time. It had been overly mushy the first time, and by the fifth I was starting to worry about her sanity.
Nanny was a little old lady about the size of a ten year old child with a long braid of white hair. No matter the season she wore the same long navy dress and black shoes, though she must have suffered during our dimension's hot summers. She had taken care of Maroc since he was a child and was not eager to let her ward go on without her.
I shook my head a little as Maroc reached down to pat her head in what he must have thought was a comforting manner. Maroc was tall- a head taller than me, and I'm not that short- so it looked rather awkward.
"Don't worry Nanny! I'll be fine. Besides, I've got Greg with me, and everyone knows that he's the most responsible person in the multiverse." He grinned at her, his own grin that took up his entire face and had yet to fail in charming someone.
"Humph. Well, be careful." Nanny's never really cared for me. For all she seemed like the perfect grandmother, she was also Maroc's father's right hand lady. She knew what I was.
"We will! But we have to go now, or we'll be late for orientation, and I'll never hear the end of it." Maroc pushed his red bangs out of his face and followed me into the entrance of the vortex. She waved furiously at him as I pulled the latch and we walked through it, entering Carleton University grounds. Our luggage had already been sent, so all we had to do was follow the gravel path out of Carleton Forest and find the room we were sharing.
I smiled a little as I stepped out of the exit of the vortex. Maroc's home dimension was nice, but it came with a faint scent of smoke that I'd never really adjusted to. Carleton dimension, however, smelled of citrus. It wasn't quite the vanilla of my home dimension, but it was better than Marocosa dimension.
Maroc and I started the journey to the university in silence, but the peace can never last too long with my friend around. "You should really stop being so shy, Greg. We're starting a brand new life here, and it would really stink for you if I was your only friend. After all, I've made it my goal to join the Carleton fencing team, and I won't have as much time to hang with you when I have to be at practice all the time."
Tact is not something Maroc had mastered yet.
"I'm not shy. Besides, university is about getting an education, not making friends."
He rolled his eyes, a trick that I had taught him. "If you're not shy then why am I the only one you ever talk to at my house? It's not like anyone's scary! You don't even talk to sweet little Nanny, who couldn't hurt a pixie." Little did he know that his sweet little Nanny knew six ways to kill someone in the time it takes to blink.
He must have noticed that I was mentally rolling my eyes at him because he continued his rant. "I'm not saying that you have to be Mr. Social, but it wouldn't kill you to try! I know that you have a personality hidden under your geeky exterior, but no one else does. You owe it to the university to let people get to know you!"
I knew from experience that if I didn't agree to his plan he would continue to annoy me until I did. "Fine! Fine, I'll talk to people. Will you be quiet now?"
He smiled and flicked some of my tawny hair around. My hair fell in ringlets down to my chin, and Maroc had an unhealthy obsession with them. No one native to Marocosa had curly hair, nor did anyone from that dimension have golden eyes. To make it even more obvious that I was foreign, I'd always been less muscular then the rest of my peer group, even the girls.
Sometime during my musing, Maroc had stopped walking. I turned to see what he was staring at.
Carleton University Castle had just become visible. The castle was considered one of the great beauties of the multiverse, and was made completely out of some kind of sparkling crystal that could be mined only in this dimension. I thought it was ostentatious, but I couldn't help but stare at the splendour anyway. The castle was at least ten levels high, and was as wide as it was high. The moat was both wider and deeper then Maroc's mansion, and Maroc's mansion was the biggest house I'd ever seen.
"This is going to be so wicked," said Maroc under his breath. I couldn't help but agree.
Together we walked towards the drawbridge where a balding man with long black hair was situated. He was holding a briefcase and a sign calling for first years, so I assumed that was where we were expected to go.
He smiled at us when we got up to him, and I suppressed a shiver. I had thought Maroc was the only person who was naturally that chipper.
"Welcome! New students, eh? Just tell me your names and I'll hand over your room assignments and schedules. Our annual welcoming dinner for new students won't start for a few hours, so you should have time to find your rooms and get settled. "
We told him our names and he handed over our papers. "Now, if you have any questions feel free to come and ask me. I'm professor Trout, and I teach biology at this fine school. Do either of you have me this semester?"
I had already shoved my schedule in my pocket to look at later, but Maroc eagerly looked his over. "Draconian Biology 101!"
Professor Trout grinned wildly. "Excellent! Simply excellent! I look forward to teaching you."
Maroc waved brightly as we headed into the castle. "He seems really nice. I hope he grades easily! Hey-let me see your schedule. I want to know if we have any classes together."
I already knew that we would have all the same classes, as per his father's orders, but I handed it over anyway as we headed up a shimmering staircase.
"Let's see...Draconian biology, comparative magic, basic healing, multiverse history and intro electric sorcery. Wow! We have all the same classes!"
I glanced at my room assignment. All the student rooms are on the third floor, but I wasn't sure exactly where on that floor we were headed. Our room was 305a, meaning that our room was on the north side, if I had read the orientation manual correctly. I steered Maroc past the student lounge, where he had started a conversation with a fellow first year, and into the correct hallway. Finally we found the right room.
"This is our room?" Without waiting for me to answer, Maroc stuck his thumb in the keyhole to open the door. Inside, the room was painted a light green with two beds on either side. The bed sheets were a bright cerulean and between them were two wooden wardrobes. One had my trunk beside it, the other Maroc's.
As I went to start unpacking, Maroc started talking. "The guy I was talking to, Seta, said that the fencing club holds try-outs before the orientation dinner on the first day of the year. I really want to make the team so I wanna get there early to impress them! Do you want to come?"
Closing my trunk, I turned to face him. "Sure. I can unpack later, and it might be fun to watch you humiliate yourself." That wasn't true, as Maroc had been fencing since before I met him and was actually very good, but I didn't like for his ego to grow too much.
"You're so mean, Greg! I'll make it in, just wait. I'll be the best fencer that's ever gone to Carleton!"
"I sincerely doubt that. This school has been around a long time, and a lot of heroes have gone here. Didn't Sir Lancelot attend?"
As he pouted, I carefully closed and locked the door. We headed down to the main gym, where Maroc's friend Seta had said the try-outs were.
The double doors to the main gym were easily twice my height, and intricately carved on them were images of men fencing. I gathered that this was the permanent meeting place for the club.
Standing at the door was a tough looking man who was even taller than Maroc and had a scar running along his left check. He had chocolate coloured hair that fell just bellow his shoulders.
"Are you two here to try out for the fencing club?" His voice was a low baritone.
Maroc stepped forward. "I am. My friend Greg is just here to watch."
The man opened one of the doors and motioned for Maroc to step through. He did, and I went to follow, but the man blocked my way. "No watching." His voice didn't allow for argument, so I just shrugged and waved goodbye, mentally hoping nothing happened to Maroc while I wasn't around. I stepped back and the man closed the door.
"What time do you think he'll be done?" I asked cautiously.
The man held up three fingers. "The trials last for three hours." I nodded, and started to walk away, trying not to think about how ominous the word trials sounded. I decided to use the time to look around the school so that I knew the best ways to get Maroc out of danger should the need arise. Knowing Maroc's father, the need would arise.
Maroc's father was a rather nasty mob boss. He has acquired a lot of money over the years and with it a lot of enemies. That was why, when Maroc was six years old, he decided to get him a bodyguard who would not look out of place and who could stand up to anyone who wished to use the man's only child against him. That was where I came in.
Ever Land, the dimension I was born in, had a type of flora unique to it. These floras were particularly offensive. The theory is that the war-like magic of our plants somehow infused itself within the people over generations. Every family native to the dimension has, every three or four generations, an elemental witch born to them.
We aren't called elemental witches because we can control the elements. We're called them because, like the elements, no magic known to man can stop us. Also like the elements, our magic is particularly violent if we don't learn to control it. In the first years of an elemental witch's life, many people die.
That is why my kind is particularly hated by all, especially in Ever Land. Most of the time when one of us is born we are killed. The remaining time we are given away to someone who thinks they can control us.
I was given to the witch. I never learned her real name, nor even if she had one. Her occupation was obtaining children with magic infused in them, (most people can use the magic around them, but few are born with it in them.) teaching them how to use it, than selling them off to the highest bidder.
Not that she ever actually interacted with us. That was done by Annabelle, an apparition chained to the witch. She was the closest thing to a mother I ever had, and I cried quite a lot when the witch sold me to Maroc's father.
I still remember her voice the day she did the spell that meant I would belong to Maroc's father forevermore.
But I had made a vow to myself when it was announced that we would attend Carleton, and I intended to keep it. I wouldn't let myself think about his father, or the witch, or anything else that would make me bitter. I would try my best to live for me, and to enjoy the life I live. Silently I told myself that that would be the last time I let myself brood.
The school was gigantic, so I knew that I wouldn't get to it all before Maroc was done with his trials, but I had gotten a good start. I was already on the fifth floor, having examined the first four.
This floor seemed to be the library. All the rooms I entered were full of books, none with classrooms or any of the other things I'd found thus far. The first room had been a history room, the next zoology. The third room was the most interesting to me, philosophy, and I had stopped a while to browse some of the books.
I was so immersed in one of the books that I didn't notice that there was another person in the room until he grabbed the book from my hand.
"Existentialism, huh?" The man looked about my age, with long black hair and tanned skin. His eyes were a deep navy. "Long word for such a little guy."
I rolled my eyes at him, leaning to grab my book back. He was barely taller then I was!
He stepped away from my roaming hand. "No need to be rude. It's always a pleasure to meet another philosopher in this place. Sometimes it seems like a dying art." Quite uninvited, he sat down beside me, putting my book back on the shelf.
I glared. "I was reading that, in case you didn't notice."
"And it will still be there to read when I've finished talking to you, won't it?" He smiled satanically at me and held out his hand. "Name's Darius Tucker."
I ignored the hand and grabbed my book back.
"Not very social, are we? Don't worry, I can take a hint. Still, I imagine that we'll see each other again at some point. Us few who are actually here to learn seem to be few and far between." He ruffled my hair and turned to leave. "If you like that book than I have to recommend Hobkin's writing on the subject. He takes an entirely new approach on the old ideas, and I found it fascinating."
I tried to ignore him, but when it came time to meet Maroc at the fencing gym, I grabbed Hobkin's book.
Ps: If you feel like reviewing, I could really use the critisism. Do I need to describe more? Does anything I've written sound not right? Do my charactors seem fairly real so far? Anything I could improve on I'd like to know!