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Cup Noodles & Tears [Year 1]

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Damien opened the door at the top of the stairs. His room was neat and tidy, organized in the way only scarcity made possible. There was a rickety bed in the corner, a plain desk at the centre, and an accompanying chair positioned by a stack of five leather tomes. The only other furniture was a small cardboard box where he stored his clothes. Nothing decorated the walls or covered the wooden floor. 

He walked over to the box and emptied its contents into a grey travel sack. It was a ratty little thing he’d dug out from the closet downstairs. He didn’t have enough money, let alone the time to go buy a proper one, since he’d already spent most of it securing passage aboard an airship that was leaving in an hour.

Dear Damien Dark,

He picked up the letter sitting on his desk. Its script was written in cursive, with a crimson emblem gracing the upper corner of the page. He gave it one long look, as if that would make the day feel any more real, or at least lessen the guilt weighing in his chest like a stone. 

Congratulations, and welcome to the Bronte class of 590 WTA.

His blue eyes lingered, sightlessly drifting over the rest, before he folded the letter, tucked it into his front pocket, then made his way back downstairs. 

“You have everything you need?”

His mother was sitting in the kitchen: a tall, thin-boned woman armed with a severe jawline. She bore no resemblance to him. Her skin was a mellow bronze, whereas his was a translucent white, though it had taken on a paler complexion this past year. She held a cup of coffee in her hands. Black, just black. Sugar was a luxury they could hardly hope to afford. They’d actually stopped buying coffee altogether when she'd been forced to quit her job at the market, but she’d insisted that they celebrate this morning, and Damien knew better than to argue with her.  

“I think so,” Damien said, accepting the cup with a nod. It was pleasantly scalding and almost as bitter as he remembered. “Got my letter of acceptance, my ticket, too much empty space in my bag, never enough socks…”

“So, the usual,” she said, coughing into the crook of her elbow. “Smartass.”

Damien took another sip. “That is why I got in.” 

He grinned over the rising steam, but only for a moment. His mother recognized the look, and she moved to squeeze his hand. 

“Honey, we’ve already talked about this,” she started. “I’ll be fine. Really. Stop worrying so much and think about what’s waiting ahead of you.”

Damien let the words roll over him, feeling their tug like the pull of a wave. “I don’t have to go,” he offered. “There’s always next year, or the year after that. And if you don’t get better by then, I wouldn’t mind-“ 

“Damien.” Her tone was firm and vexingly kind. He closed his mouth on reflex and waited for her to continue. “You’ve worked too hard for this. People like us can’t afford to throw these chances away.”

“I’m not throwing it away," he said mildly.

“Good. This is your dream we’re talking about here.” She squeezed his hand tighter now, careful to remain gentle. “I won’t have you putting your future in jeopardy just because I’m turning into an old lady. Besides, we already agreed that Ferdinand would help out around the house while you’re gone.”

Ferdinand’s an idiot. That was what Damien wanted to say. The man was as incompetent as a baboon with a typewriter. 

Seeing the clench of his jaw, his mother let go and rose from her chair. The effort of it provoked a wet cough that nearly bent her over. “Promise me you’ll stay out of trouble,” she whispered, wrapping her arms around him.

Damien returned the gesture. She felt too small against him. “I’ll try,” he said, resting his chin in the dip of her shoulder. 

That seemed to satisfy her. She didn’t say anything else. They only held each other in that moment before eventually pulling themselves apart.

“It’s time to go,” she said slowly, cupping his face; watching as the bones and skin seamlessly rearranged themselves under her fingers. By the time the change was over, Damien had darkened to a soft beige, and his hair was a windblown mocha set above a pair of green eyes. 

“How do I look?” he asked. 

“Still adopted,” she said, and they both chuckled while she attempted to wipe away a single tear. “But very much handsome. Don’t you dare get anyone pregnant.”

Damien gulped the last of his coffee and set the empty cup aside. He glanced between his mother and the front door, not quite knowing what to say. “Make sure Ferdinand knows I’ll break him if he breaks anything.” And then a hesitant second after that, “I love you, Mom.”

“I love you too, dear.” She smiled at him one last time. “Show those university brats who they’re dealing with.”

It was early September, so the weather outside proved reasonable that morning. Reasonable, because he’d spent most of the summer with his shirt sticking to his back. He passed by the farm where he’d worked for five years - just yesterday had been his last shift - then a small church at the edge of town, which was drawing in its weekly Sunday crowd. Some of the townsfolk recognized Damien. It was usually the overalls that gave him away. Today, however, he’d ditched those for a loose-fitting button-up, his cleanest pair of pants, and a fraying straw hat he’d tried (and failed) to leave at home. They waved at him, a few of them cheering, and he waved back. Then he crossed an old stone bridge, wondering how long it would be until he saw any of them again. 

The docks themselves weren’t very large. A population of five thousand didn’t warrant many airships. Freedom of destination was also a bit of a problem, by extension. Fortunately, Damien’s trip turned out to be a straight shot to Umbra. A popular choice, apparently, since the boarding line dwarfed all others in the nearby vicinity. It took maybe ten minutes before his turn came up, and he handed over his ticket. It felt sacrilegious, discomforting even, to watch the paper slip get punched; knowing someone was permanently defacing the object he’d spent seven months of his savings on. The cherry on top was the way the attendant took her time, beaming at him, flirting with her eyes- somehow, enjoying the small talk of an obviously inexperienced romantic. 

“Enjoy your flight,” she purred.

“You too," Damien said automatically. He’d never blushed so furiously in his entire life.

A half hour later, Damien leaned against the metal railing. Several others did the same as the airship's engines shuddered to life. Most of them were waving at someone they knew. He scanned the crowd, looking for his mother, even though the futility of his search reminded him of what it was like to be alone and selfish.

“Now what’s a young man like you heading out to Umbra for?”

Damien turned to face the man. He was around sixty or seventy. Dark skin, a full head of hair, and an absurdly bright white smile. He wasn’t very short. He probably stood a few inches below six feet. Damien, being rather tall, found himself looking down anyway.

“I’m going to Bronte,” he said simply.

“Bronte?” The man’s smile widened a fraction. “You say that like you’re going to prison.”

“Oh, I- it’s, well…” 

The man cocked a bushy grey eyebrow. Damien motioned idly with his hand. Searching for the words was difficult, especially when all the right ones made him feel like a dewy-eyed idiot.

“Guess I'm just nervous," he said lamely. "I’ve never been away from home.” 

The man nodded his head sagely, as older people often tended to do. “But you do realize that you’re going to Bronte, right?”

Damien glanced at the passenger. His wrinkled eyes brimmed with an infectious sort of energy. 

“Believe me, young man,” he continued. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime. I would give an arm and a leg to be a student there again.”

Something suddenly tingled in Damien’s gut. Something juvenile and exciting. It was that little spark he got whenever the library received a new shipment of books. 

“You went to Bronte?” he asked, grinning despite himself.

“I did,” the man declared proudly. He stuck out his hand, puffed out his chest, and spoke with a charming amount of gravel. “Theodore Ripley, but you can call me Theo. Ripley works too.”

Damien shook the man’s hand. He was surprised by the firmness of its grip. “Damien Dark," he said. "Either or works for me."

“That sounds like a superhero’s name.” Ripley considered the idea with a chuckle. “Tell me, Damien, do you happen to be staying in the student block this term?”

“Seventh floor," Damien answered too quickly. He'd burned the information into his memory. There were also other campus-related minutiae buried in there, in case someone never asked him for it. 

“Good." Ripley clapped his hands once. "That’s where all the parties are. Word to the wise, keep your doors locked unless you want to have a ghost problem, among other things.”

Damien nearly frowned. “Can't ghosts just pass through walls?”

“Ah, Damien,” Ripley sighed. “You have so much to learn. Come, why don’t we head downstairs and chat over brunch?”

This time, Damien really did frown. “What the hell is brunch?”

Ripley laughed. “Now you really have to come.”


@vielle @Csl @SweetCyanide @Thotification

Edited by Wade

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They arrived in Umbra the following day: Damien, the boy with the eager eyes, and Ripley, the man with the ageless smile. Together, they stood side by side, leaning over the prow of the airship, watching as the Red City rose up to meet them like the sun-bleached bones of the surrounding valley. 

Damien shivered. “I didn’t expect it to be so cold.”

Ripley chuckled. That appeared to be his usual response to everything. “Might want to get used to it quick,” he said. “That or buy a jacket. If you think this is cold, you’re going to have a bad time come winter.”

Damien let the comment slide. He’d never mentioned his finances during the trip. If there ever stood a chance of him buying something decently warm, it would be the day he got a job. 

He’d have to get around that this week.

“What are you going to do now?” he asked. The airship narrowly hovered the edge of the port. One of the deckhands tossed over a sturdy length of rope that someone caught and tied to a cleat. 

Ripley pushed off the prow’s railing, giving it two quick pats as if to say goodbye. He led them further down where everyone lined up to disembark, and turned his gaze to an alabaster spire. “Oh, I’ve got a few errands to run,” he said, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “People to see, people to please. Put out a few fires, maybe start a few new ones.” His mouth curled faintly at the edges. “Think I’ll grab a burger after that. If you’re ever off-campus, make sure to check out the Bumpy Onion.”

“I’ll add it to the list,” Damien quipped. “Right after ‘make a bouquet of emberstone roses, take a walk through the Ivory Square Garden, try the chocolate fondue at Holy Cannoli, climb the eastern wall under the glow of a full moon, go-

“It’s getting kind of long, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it kind of is.” Damien fought to keep a straight face as they passed the flirty attendant from the day before. “Sounds like you’re getting me ready for a date.”

Dates,” Ripley corrected. “You’re going to university, kiddo. Trust me, you’re going to want to know these things.” Meanwhile, he nodded his thanks at the attendant, who gave him a pleasant smile in return. “Though, I suspect you’ll have to work on looking a woman in the eye first.”

They made their way down the extended ramp, then gradually distanced themselves from the river of passengers. One thing Damien noticed immediately was how much differently people in Umbra were dressed. Long coats were abundant. Hats crowded his vision. There even appeared to be a woman wearing a particularly large raccoon around her neck. A trio of elves strutted past them, and they almost seemed offended by Damien’s straw hat. A similar incident occurred when a werewolf wrinkled her nose at the sight of his plaid shirt.  

“Ignore them,” Ripley said. “Especially those guys over there. Never, ever let them give you a friendship bracelet or anything like a rose.” 

“Why?” Damien asked, glancing at a group of men standing near an alley. They each held a flower, and occasionally intercepted someone who wandered too close. 

“Because they’ll make a scene,” Ripley answered, turning onto a crowded street. “And because I’m afraid you’re the type who doesn’t take kindly to bullshit.”

The street took them through a marketplace, which was similar his to hometown’s in that chaotic, whirring fashion and yet so different. Instead of open tents and humble stands, the shops were built of dark wood and limestone. Many of them flung crimson fabric in the form of banners, flags, and drapes, with the addition of cloaked vanguards patrolling off to the side. Damien slipped through an archway, quietly marvelling at the city; a city that was so unlike anything he’d ever seen before, but very much like the one he’d conceived in his dreams.

And then he saw Bronte. The Academy of the Arcane. A wide stone bridge separated the campus, dotted by a smattering of rumbling suitcases. A trio of buildings welcomed old and new students alike, most of all the Student Block, which proudly resembled a towering mansion built in the style of an ancient castle. 

Ripley knew to let the moment pass before sticking out his hand. 

“Looks like this is where we part ways.”

Damien turned. His disappointment came as a bit of a surprise. They’d only known each other for a day, and yet he already considered the man as something of a friend. 

“Thanks for the pointers,” he said, clasping Ripley’s hand. “Best of luck with… whatever it is you do. What is it you do again, exactly?”

Ripley chuckled. “Take care, Damien. You’ve got a bright future ahead of you.” It felt like there should’ve been more to say, but he suddenly pulled away with backhanded wave. “Don’t be a stranger.”

And just like that, he was gone.

Damien wondered what he meant.



Lucas Lancaster sat on the bottom bunk.

It was somewhat of a strategic move. Everyone wanted the top bunk. The eighteen-year-old in him certainly did, so it stood to reason that his eighteen-year-old roommate would too. The view was nice, the privacy was an added bonus, you didn’t have to worry about a sleeping body collapsing through the roof; some people felt closer to god, the weird ones felt closer to godhood, and the normal ones, like him, felt closer to royalty. 

Giving it all up was an act of humility, he figured. A good dead that would hopefully go unpunished. If he was going to live with a stranger for the better part of the year, he might as well lay the groundwork for a stable relationship. What that looked like, exactly, he didn’t know, but he’d damned if it wasn’t worth striving for. Life at home was already enough of a gong show, and he’d be damned if life at school simply turned out to be more of the same.


The lock turned. Lucas flicked his eyes over the top of his book. He watched as the door swung open to reveal a farmer standing in the hallway.

“What’s so funny?”

Lucas’ brow crinkled. Then he realized he was smiling. The farmer took a step inside, shut the door, and waited while he scrambled for an answer. 

“Can I be honest?” he asked slowly, folding his book shut.

The farmer shrugged. “Only if I can be honest back.”

“Alright.” Lucas stood up. “Your hat. It’s awful.” 

So much for a stable relationship.

If the farmer was offended in the slightest, he didn’t show it. Instead, he simply stared. “My turn?”

“Go for it.”

“You’re really short,” he said. “It’s awful.”

You goat-mouthed motherfucker. Lucas forced a laugh. “I guess that’s fair,” he said evenly. “Deal’s a deal, though I think you might just be really tall.”

The farmer smiled. It was a subtle thing. Quick and knifelike, gone before you knew it. “Damien,” he announced suddenly, before pointing to the bed. “You mind if I take the bottom?”

Lucas was in the middle of replying with his own name when he stopped midway. “What?”

The farmer- Damien, rather, kept his finger suspended in the bed’s direction. “The bottom bunk,” he repeated. “Can I have it?”

Lucas paused. “You don’t want the top?”

Damien glanced at the uppermost bunk. “I mean, I’ll take it if you don’t want it-“


Damien quirked an eyebrow. 

Lucas cleared his throat. “I mean no, it’s okay,” he amended. “I’ll take the top bunk.” It didn’t seem like much of prize all of a sudden - at this point, he only wanted to change the subject. “Lucas, by the way. Lucas Lancaster.”

“Sounds like a superhero’s name,” Damien said. There was that smile again, like he’d just told some obscure joke. He stepped closer to the bunk bed, then dropped his travel sack onto the mattress. It gave a pitiful whimper and began to deflate, slowly and without end. “Where you from?”

Lucas rolled his suitcase closer to the ladder. “Union City. You?”

Damien shrugged. “Some boring little town in the middle of nowhere. You’ve probably never heard of it.”

“Try me.”


“Yeah, never heard of it.”

It wasn’t very funny but they both laughed anyway. 

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“No, see,” Elias said, delicately holding a fat brown leech between his fingers. “It’s like smoking a pipe, but instead of a pipe you’ve got a leech and instead of tobacco and smoke you’ve got blood.”

The vampire before him looked equal parts repulsed and interested. He leaned forward, tugging the collar of his ill-fitting coat over his neck. “I’m listening.” He was young, somewhere around fifteen or sixteen, the son of some rich couple. Elias wondered when he had been turned, or if he was one of the types that reproduced. Whichever one it was, this one had a nicotine addiction and a reputation to uphold: thus the meeting.

Elias smiled a sharp smile that seemed to cut from cheek to cheek. He dropped the leech into the jar between them that held several others. Eyes glinting, he leaned forward. elbows propped on the table, chin resting on his hands. “Third-generation Ahamkara and Hirudo medicinalis hybrids spliced with Dokha and Habano. What blood makes it into the bellies of these lovelies get steeped in nicotine.”

He angled his gaze up. The vampire was expressionless.

Elias flicked the glass jar with a fingernail. “Well? If you take care of these squishies well, they can last up to ten years.”

“I’ll take one.” The vampire spoke slowly. “Five kites.”

Elias gave the vampire an unimpressed look.. “Twenty.”

“Are you insane?” the vampire hissed. He glanced around, gripping the lapels of his coat, wrapping them tight around himself. “That’s way too much, even if those things are bred from an Ahamkara.”

“Fifteen,” Elias said in a sing-song voice. He picked up the leech jar’s lid and began twirling it in his fingers. “If you’re not buying, I’m going.”

“Ten,” the vampire said, the faintest tinge of desperation seeping into his voice.

Elias smiled his sharp smile again, bringing the lid down on the jar with a tink. He held out his hand. Hesitantly, the vampire boy took it. Cold. “Ten it is. Pleasure doing business with you, kid.”

He dropped the smile as soon as he stepped outside the Stump, making a beeline for the Student Block. Elias clutched the leech jar tightly as he made his way up the stairs and down the hallway to his room. With the heavy, water-filled jar in his arms, It took some maneuvering to get his keys and open his door (which was, to his frustration, already unlocked), leaving him oblivious to the fact that the door to the room opposite his was slightly open.

Elias carefully set the leech jar in a corner, far from his window, and heaved a sigh of relief. He walked to his desk, flipping open a notebook, then made a note. Next, Elias turned his attention to his plants. In the place of the mattress in the lower bunk bed, a huge glass tank housed a variety of strange plant species, all flourishing in the cramped space by the glow of a glow-light. Elias lowered a hand towards one of the flowers- a wet, bulbous, thing with a slit at its very end. After a moment, a tonguelike tendril came snaking out of the bulb, hesitantly brushing against his knuckles.

“Hm.” Elias said, satisfied. He whistled.


Elias looked around, brows furrowing, and whistled again. Still no response. He clicked his tongue, as if calling a dog. “Filter?”

The room was silent apart from the soft breathing of the plants he’d had grow lungs.

Elias swung open his door, eyes landing immediately on the faint silvery snail-trail leading to the room opposite his. He cursed under his breath, strode across the hallway, and rapped on the door.

Plastering the approximation of a neighborly smile on his face, Elias waved as the door swung open, injecting cheer in his voice. “Excuse me, but my pet is missing. Have you seen something pink and hairy and looking very much like a rug?”

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Study by cenniefrey soloveiv

Frey Soloviev is a fucking champ at beer pong but is quite sadly a bloody lightweight, by college-student-standards. It has its uses: mainly employed to immediately forget whatever shitty thing is happening in the series of unfortunate events that is his life, wrenched hangovers and morning-afters aside. Curse his genes, really, but not really, at least not out loud; his old folks are spectres now, but it doesn’t mean they can’t hear him.

Especially when he's drunk and high off his rocker on a weekday, because fuck weekdays.

“Go away, Ghost,” he waves his hands, shooing something unseen away from his immediate vicinity as he crawls on the floor, trying to get his bearings. The world wobbles—or is it himself; he’s not quite sure, but self-shifting floors are Not To Be Trusted at any moment in the history of the world and the universe, blah-di-dah-di-dah—as Frey rights himself up to stand, and he surveys the room he has fallen asleep in: Elias’ dorm room, which, fine, is one of the few safe places at this point in time at Bronte, never mind that he just got here, like, yesterday.

He stumbles over to the glass tank and wriggles his fingers in front of the self-dubbed Tongue Plant Elias is growing, wincing a bit when it lashes its tendril at him in a chastising way, most likely due to his current fucked-up state. “Sauriel on a pike, that hurts,” he complains, but really, he’s touched in a weird way; trust a Soloviev to make an uneasy friendship with a peculiar plant, of all things.

So, after a few moments of standing around like a dumbass trying to ward off the worst of his hangover-slash-comedown, Frey decides to make a list, because lists are wonderful things.


An assorted list of things currently on Frey Soloveiv’s person as of Monday, 8:32am:

  • A pack of high-end Rotrio cigars, stolen from a professor’s coat yesterday.
  • Handcuffs. Don’t ask.
  • Twelve bobby pins.
  • A crumpled suit-and-tie ensemble, sleek and dark, one sleeve stained blue with Gaia-knows-what.
  • Tattoos all over, because he has to keep track of them; can’t have his tattoos running off onto someone else’s skin now, can he?


Satisfied with the list, he huffs and salutes the glass tank before moving away, intending to get to his own dorm room before Elias notices him hanging around like a fool all over his rug. He still can’t help but swipe a jar of slugs, though, because fuck Elias; his recent transaction with Frey had been a complete disaster on account of that vampire girl he had brought along to taste-test the merchandise. Stupid vampires. On second thought, Elias’ fuck shall be rescinded and given to the vampire girl instead.

Just as he gets to the door, he absentmindedly pats himself down to check his pockets—and freezes, suddenly furious.


An assorted list of things currently not on Frey Soloveiv’s person as of Monday, 8:32am:

  • His fucking bag of Amarancht weed.


“Elias?” The query is met with silence, and a deep grimace carves itself above Frey’s rather pointy jawline. “Where the fuck—Elias?” Again, he is unanswered, and after a shared commiserating glance with the Tongue Plant, he pushes out the door. The sudden hasty movements drum up an aching throb in his head, and Frey just barely manages to catch himself on the wall, idiotic dunce that he is.

He has found Elias, but at what cost?

“Hey, hey,” he manages, looking up to glare daggers at the back of Elias’ head before the man thinks to turn and look over to him. “Where’s my Amarancht, hey?” Whether the other door opens or not is none of Frey’s concern; he just wants his fucking weed.


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“It’s really simple,” Lucas insisted. On the table between them, he placed a deck of cards. “You pick the top card, read the question out loud, then the other person gives you an honest answer. Even if it makes them look like a loon.”

Damien raised an eyebrow. “And this is supposed to be fun?”

Lucas palmed the top card. “More fun than crying in the shower with your clothes on.”

Damien frowned. “You’re a weird dude, Lucas.”

“Oh, I know.” Lucas flipped the card and skimmed his blue eyes over the text. “What’s your favourite type of potato?”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“What’s your favourite type of potato?”

“How the hell am I supposed to know?”

“What, you don’t eat potatoes in Iowa?”

“Of course, we do.”

“Then answer the question.”

“I don’t have a favourite type of potato.”

“But you just said you eat potatoes!”

“Yeah, but who has a favourite type of potato?”

“What do you mean ‘who has a favourite type of potato?’ There’s mashed potato, oven-baked potato, scallop potato, boiled potato, fries, hash browns, potato au gratin, potato latkes-“

“Why is this so important?”

“Listen, Damien. We need to talk about potatoes-“

Fuck potatoes!

 “Fuck potatoes? That’s your favourite type of potato?”

“Lucas, I swear to potato Christ-“

Just then, a knock at the door interrupted Damien. He exchanged a glance with Lucas before getting up to go answer it.

“Excuse me," the young man on the other side of the door said, waving a cheery smile. He had tanned skin, dark brown hair, and a severe case of pink eye—as in his irises were the soft pink of a very old, very dead flamingo. Damien had to restrain himself from making a crude joke, though he couldn't help the subtle twitch of his lips. “My pet is missing,” the man continued. “Have you seen something pink and hairy and looking very much like a rug?”

Before Damien could answer, someone else appeared in the doorway. Damien couldn’t tell if they were a boy or a girl, but they were clearly more hungover than an erotic clown on Halloween. “Hey, hey,” they grumbled, aiming a sharp glare at Pink Eye. “Where’s my Amarancht, hey?”

What a fucking weird day.

“No,” Damien answered slowly, forcing a tight smile. “I haven’t seen anything matching that description. I’ll let you know if I do.”

Lucas got up to stand beside Damien. The top of his blonde head barely scratched his roommate’s shoulder. “Hey, you guys from this floor too?” He seemed genuinely excited at the idea of oddball neighbours. “Name’s Lucas Lancaster. And this idiot's Lankenstein.”

“Damien Dark,” Damien corrected, suppressing an irritated glare. “We’re both first years. He’s from Union City and I’m from Iowa.”

Lucas lifted a six pack of beers Damien hadn’t noticed he’d been holding. “You guys up for a drink? I know it’s not noon but-”

Someone on fire ran through the hallway.

“-it looks like the party's already started.”

Edited by Wade

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No, said the green-eyed boy at the door. He was a new student, the spark of oh-gods-I'm-in-Bronte wonder still alive in his eyes. Hah. 

Elias met his gaze without blinking, his smile fading into something that resembled sharp curiosity. "Well then." It must've camouflaged itself. He would have to find another way to explore the room. Elias opened his mouth to reason with the boy (or if need be, threaten him), when a string of curses floated across the hallway. 

Elias scowled. Another consequence of Filter escaping his room: the Flesh-Beast was in charge of keeping his lodgings clean. When it wasn't around, unwanted things tended to... linger. He turned to face his unwelcome guest, sighing.

"I didn't take it, Soloveiv," Elias replied with the tired politeness of one who had been asked the same question for the millionth time. His gaze darted to the bedroom door. "At least shut the bloody door. You're paying me extra if anything else escapes."

Elias returned his attention to the freshmen. He raised an eyebrow at the invitation. Well, that saves me some breath. 

He shrugged. "Sure." After a moment's thought, he extended a hand. "Elias Nevidri. Third year. Ilumad. Nice meeting you."

Deftly, Elias plucked a beer from Lucas' grip, sauntered inside the room, and sank into the nearest chair. He raised a finger at Frey. "Behave."

In a considerably more friendly demeanor, he turned to Damien. "I don't think I've heard of Iowa. Though you two probably haven't heard of Ilumad either." He crossed his legs, leaning back with the languid assurance of a cat who had decided this particular box was now his kingdom, gaze wandering across the walls. "So," he said dryly, opening the can in his hand. "What brings you two to this Sauriel-blessed, top-tier educational institute?"

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Study by cenniefrey soloveiv


Frey takes a moment to thankfully grunt in the freshman’s direction—oh, who is he kidding; he’s a fucking freshman too—in response to that answer about his weed. But then,

"I didn't take it, Soloveiv. At least shut the bloody door. You're paying me extra if anything else escapes."

Fuck. He wipes a hand over his face and grumbles under his breath, moving away to do exactly what Elias had told him to do, because as much as Frey’s a condescending ass ninety eight percent of the time, he still values his drugs, his studies, and his non-ghostly friends, even though the other man would definitely deny being any sort of acquainted with him. They’re all that’s left in his life, anyway, so he has to take good care of them and shit. So he’s also a condescending sentimental ass, sue him.

Maybe a colleague, though; maybe Elias would take him on as a university colleague. He’s still working on that next level to acquaintance and friends and beyond, whatthefuckever.  

As he leans against Elias’ closed door and takes a moment to get his bearings together enough to think clearly but not enough to hear the Ghosts again, unfamiliar voices begin to flit out of the open door where his not-friend is currently standing in front of. Frey moves back towards the group just in time for Elias to introduce himself, and then a sudden finger is shoved right at his nose.


He harrumphs, crossing wiry arms over his chest. “How rude. I’m a loyal paying customer, you know.” Nevertheless, he shrugs and turns towards the other freshmen, giving them a sloppy salute. "Sir Frey of the high house of Soloveiv, up in the lofty fucking awnings of Umbra herself. First year too, like, I just got here yesterday,” he snorts, waving a hand in the air aimlessly, before shuffling into the room, flinging himself down onto the floor in an artless sprawl. “Thanks for the invite inside, by the way. So, uh, you’re Lucas, right?” He wags a finger in the aforementioned boy’s direction, before turning his gaze to the other. “And you’re—Lankenstein? Damien? Seriously, you gotta pick a name, friend, or we’ll never find you ‘round here.” Frey lets Elias ask his own question, opting to nurse the beer he’s taken from Lucas with restless fingers and droopy eyes.



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