Join Date: Sep 2010
Part 7: Fireballs: Harold’s duty calls!
Ima fidgeted in her seat as she felt a slight sweat begin to form on her brow. Her marks on the last quiz were tepid at best and her first major exam was being handed out. Ms. Diver’s crimson-painted lips did not hold the warmth that her fire spells did, but that did not quell the burning feeling many of the male students felt while studying her black-robed curves.
“As I stated last class: you will be graded on your written aptitude AND your application. I hope you studied the reading and practiced your spell work. You will have one hour to complete this exam, then you may go,” Ms. Diver dryly drawled, her voice like black velvet on her students’ skin.
Ima felt a shiver run through her as the exam paper was placed in front of her. She took up her quill and scrawled her name in the allotted space. When Ms. Diver gave the command to begin, the hissing sound of writing implement to parchment filled the classroom. Ima cast a sideways glace to Harold, who seemed to effortlessly scrawl the answers as if they were asked for the color of the sky or grass. Ima sighed and turned her attention to the first question. She read the line four times before her mind could even grasp what was being asked. She wrote down a hasty answer, crossed it out four times before settling on it, and moved on to the next.
“45 minutes,” Ms. Diver informed as she opened up a magazine and began to read. Ima felt the tiny sweat beads on her face begin to grow and slowly slither down her cheeks. When Ima had reached the end of the written exam, she seemed to leave the comfortable frying pan of a desk into the fire of the application portion of the test.
She walked to the open space to find Harold already half-way done with his portion. The difficult spells flew from his fingers and hit accurately their targets. Ima tried to shake the jingly feeling in her body and took a deep breath. Her first few spells were moderately successful, but as she went down the long list of fire spells, the more elaborate castings caused her fingers to falter. She couldn’t conjure the last two spells on the list, and with only 5 minutes left in the test, was forced to abandon her efforts.
Ima left the classroom with her shoulders and spirits hanging. Her foggy state led her to bump into an equally small form. She quickly gave a deflated-sounding apology.
“Its fine, sweetie. What’s wrong? You look like 10 miles of bad road,” The familiar voice of Ms. Nomi asked with concern in her big, green eyes. Ima blushed a little before replying.
“Fire Spells I exam didn’t go so well. I couldn’t even finish the last two spells and I’m pretty sure I got half the written questions wrong,” Ima sighed with a shaking voice. Ms. Nomi smiled and shook her head.
“Don’t worry, Ima. The first year is always the hardest. There’s a reason most archmages have specialties: we can’t be the best at everything. Maybe you’re not meant to be a fire mage; how are your other classes going?”
“Pretty good. I love ice spells and arcane spells II is super challenging, but I did really well on the first few quizzes.”
“There you go! If you don’t do so well in fire spells, you don’t have to take any more classes on the subject if you don’t want to,” Ms. Nomi cheerfully informed. Ima’s smile seemed less forced than it did at the beginning of the conversation as she gave a thankful nod. “Besides, Ms. Diver is a no-nonsense kind of lady. Her classes are much harder than most. It’s really good for those who are looking for a challenge, but for those who don’t really do well with the subject matter, well, it can be really tough,” Ms. Nomi diplomatically admitted.
“I can see that. My friend Harold loves that class, but he’s super talented when it comes to fire spells. He’s super talented period, actually,” Ima said as images of Harold’s effortless casting filled her mental vision.
“I’d imagine so; he got awarded the Proudmoore scholarship, if I’m thinking of the right Harold; that’s a big deal.”
“Proudmoore scholarship?” Ima asked with a questioning look. Ms. Nomi looked about the crowded hall and motioned for Ima to follow her into a less bustling section of the hall.
“The Proudmoore scholarship is only handed out once every 10 years to the most promising young magicians. Your friend Harold is a truly talented young man, I’d love to have him in my class, you too of course,” Ms. Nomi giggled for a moment before continuing, “But it seems many students don’t find the arcane arts very interesting anymore.”
“Are you kidding? Arcane magic is fascinating! I mean you pull magic straight from the twisting nether, that’s not boring at all. I would have been in your classes if I could, but you only teach advanced level courses,” Ima spoke with a playful pout. Ms. Nomi gave a cheerfully haughty nod.
“Well not all first year students are as pleasant as you, you know. A lot of the humans and elves make punting jokes. I’m sure you’ve gotten that from time to time,” Ms. Nomi cringed for a moment. Ima gave a slow nod as her lying eyes traveled to the floor. “Anyhoo, I need to get to my next class. I’m conducting an exam myself. See you later, girlie!”
“See you later!” Ima smiled as the pair went their separate ways.
“Mr. Porter, a word please?” A silky voice called to the young mage. Harold turned to see the black-robed form of his fire spells teacher with a rare, polite smile on her pale face.
“Yes, mam?” Harold nervously asked as the dark-haired human woman took a few steps closer.
“I’ve taken a look at the exams, you’ve gotten flawless marks as usual,” She spoke with no compliments in her tone.
“Th-Thank you, mam,” Harold quietly spoke as he felt his heart begin to speed up.
“I’m not here to pay you petty flattery, Porter. I’m not one to let obvious talent go to waste. It so happens that I am in need of a teaching assistant and given your situation, you could use a little extra gold in your pocket,” Ms. Diver spoke with piercing words. Harold felt every muscle in his body contract as the curt woman before him crossed her arms.
“You didn’t have to put it like that…” Harold spoke with a clinched jaw and a prideful reddening of his face.
“Get used to it, boy. I do not sprinkle sugar on facts just to make people feel better. I want you as my assistant and my 15 gold an hour would be of benefit you. I cannot allow you to grade papers for the classes you’re in, but you can handle the work load from my other classes. No student would have the stones to accuse ME of favoritism of grading in your case, so you needn’t worry about that. If you continue to show exemplary talent in the fiery arts…I may also be in the market for an apprentice. You have a day to think it over,” Ms. Diver’s sardonic smile flashed widely for a moment before sinking back to her usual scowl. She walked past her student, leaving him with anger, confusion, and hope-filled elation in his trembling form.
“OHMYGOSH are you gunna do it?” Finely asked with excitement shining in her eyes. Ima looked to Harold, who seemed to avoid their gazes, as she popped another piece of her chicken and gravy pie lunch into her hungry mouth.
“I…don’t know. 15 gold an hour is an insanely good wage for a TA but…she’s kind of a bitch,” Harold gruffly spoke as he took a sip of his water.
“Yeah she is but so are most bosses. Might as well get used to it, right?” Finely insisted, with enthusiasm beaming from her thin form.
“I don’t know Finely, if she treats him badly, it might not be worth it,” Ima offered. The statement seemed to bring a small smile to Harold’s face.
“Yeah, I don’t know…I mean an apprenticeship would be amazing and she doesn’t seem to care about my situation so I’m thinking I might take it. I have a day to think it over so…” Harold shrugged as he took a bite of his bacon, lettuce, and mustard sandwich.
“Yes no need to rush. Though I have been meaning to ask…if you have the time Harold, could you tutor me on fire spells? I’m never going to be a master but I’d like not to embarrass myself in class.” Ima sighed. Harold looked to his friend and quickly nodded.
“Sure. I think you nearly took out another window during the exam.”
“It’s hard not to when a massive pyro-blast comes sailing past you and hits the wall.”
“Oh, maaaaaan, and it’s a basics class too…” Ima whined as her face nearly met the table beside her lunch. The action caused the two humans at the small table to quietly laugh, but the jubilant action was cut short as Finely’s eyes suddenly went wide. Ima looked to her pale face and slightly shivering form as concern flooded her feature.
“Finely, what’s wrong?” Ima asked as her deft eyes caught sight of another familiar form entering the dining area. The red-haired boy, carrying his usual large bag of doodles, brought his soup-lunch toward their table.
“H-Hello you three. How’s it going, Turtle girl? I heard you nearly burned down the east building this morning,” Gawain awkwardly joked. He nearly took a step back as Harold cast him a warning look. “M-Mind if I sit with you guys?” Gawain asked as he looked to one of the two empty chairs that contained their school bags. Before Ima could move to remove her bags, Finley spoke up.
“Sorry, we’re waiting on some people,” She gruffly informed. Gawain shifted his tray a little as a hint-caught flush came to his face.
“Oh, another time then I guess…” He muttered as he moved toward an empty table at the far end of the dining hall. Ima noticed an obvious jolt in her roommate’s form as he passed. Harold placed a hand on her shoulder and gave her a gentle shake. Finely gasped, as if holding her breath, and shook her head.
“I-I’m fine, thanks. It’s just, that boy gives me the creeps, like really bad.”
“Who Gawain? He’s a little weird but he’s pretty nice once you get to know him a bit,” Ima admitted.
“Yeah until he draws you in weird sailor costumes and black mageweave outfits!” Finely indignantly hissed. Harold cast the boy in question an annoyed look as Finley continued to explain the extent of her displeasure with the strange artist.
“I-I had no idea he did that. He drew a really nice picture of me as an apology for turning me into a turtle. I didn’t know he drew you like that without permission…”
“Hey, look who’s going over to sit with him,” Harold motioned as a thin, high elf female dressed in blue robes stood beside the artist in question. Finley and Ima turned to see their other roommate, Blodwyn, standing beside the boy and waiting for him to motion to the seat across from him before taking her seat. Finely’s brow furrowed at the unusually sweet and friendly expression on her face as the pair began talking. Though they could not hear the words in the noisy dining hall, her laughing face was evidence of her enjoyment of Gawain’s presence.
“What is she doing? Uhhg, as if I needed another reason to hate that stuck up rich girl. She must want something to play so nice with that weirdo,” Finley spoke as if she were choking on a lime.
“Maybe she wants him to draw her or something. Whatever, just ignore them, Fin,” Harold gruffly spoke as he turned his attention back to his lunch. As he chewed, a small smile crept to his face. He didn’t bother swallowing before speaking.
“How angry do you think she’d be if she found out ‘lazy homeless Goldshire trash’ got an apprenticeship with a Dalaran Archmage over her?” He smirked. Finely laughed for a moment.
“Oh by the light, I bet she’d get so sour she’d shrivel up,” Finely laughed with more than a measure of gleeful spite.
“Well then ladies, I guess you’re looking at Harold Porter: TA, whipping boy, and future apprentice to Ms. ‘Fire-Mouth’ Diver,” Harold gave a mock bow to the cheers and clapping hands of his friends.
“Y-You can’t be serious,” Auric Duskender looked to his employer with horror in his fel-green vision. Archmage Redmane didn’t look up as shuffled and straightened his documents before packing them away. “P-Please tell me you’re joking.”
“Oh, calm down Auric. It’s only for the next month or so. I’ll be able to visit again and check in on things.”
“A month, A MONTH!? W-What will I do about my apartment, my bills?”
“I’ve taken care of it.”
“What do you mean you—no, you didn’t.” For the first time in his packing, Romulus Redmane looked to his red-faced assistant with a small smile.
“I advanced your wages a little and have made your payments for the next two months. Ample time for me to return and for you to focus on your task,” Romulus informed as he returned his vision to the bags he was packing.
“S-Sir, I don’t…”
“You’ll be fine Auric. I do not employ incapable folk.”
“But sir…WHY am I doing this? Why do you have this weird preoccupation with this student?” Auric asked with confusion and desperation in his slightly cracking voice. Romulus gave a small laugh before replying.
“Things are not always as they seem and my business is not yours to scrutinize, do I make myself clear?” Romulus spoke in an even tone, but Auric winced regardless.
“Y-Yes sir. I spoke out of term,” Auric sighed. Romulus closed his suitcase with a loud pop before standing straight to stretch.
“As I said it’s only until I can get back from my assignment. Gawain and Holly will hopefully be helping out as well. Though you never can tell with that boy,” Romulus shook his head with an annoyed grunt at the thought of his defiant nephew.
“Gawain knows about this?”
“Yes, I’ve also got him keeping an eye out.”
“So then why don’t you give HIM this task then?” Auric spoke with desperation in his voice as Romulus looked to him with waning patience.
“He’s unreliable. Now hold still.” Romulus demanded as he closed his eyes in concentration. Auric felt his whole body tense as a pale, lavender light came to Romulus’s steady hands.
“S-Sir!” Auric gasped as lavender light shot from his employer’s hands and engulfed him. He could not find the voice to scream as his form twisted and shrunk until the once handsome, dark-haired blood elf was no more. Romulus opened his eyes, looked to his handiwork and smiled.
“Good, that will do nicely. Now go, I’ll see you in a few weeks.”