[ And the story continues as we check in with Jen’Rar and the Mage’s College… ]
The auditorium was filled with students chattering and bickering with each other while they waited impatiently in the tiered seats surrounding a fancy ornate stage. Most seemed bored and restless. Some appeared to be taking bets. And perhaps a few were doing some other questionable behaviours.
Very few mandatory assemblies were ever called, especially out of the blue with no apparent reason. Each seat seemed filled, and a few restless souls were even standing in the aisles. Even the large spread out form of Professor Jeramiah took up a small row of seats to himself as he crammed into the hall.
On the stage sat four simple chairs rather then the usual huge mage council seating that normally looked out onto the crowd. Among the four chairs sat Cleo and Jen’Rar. It was Jen’Rar who cleared her throat and stood.
“Hush now!” She waited as the chattering petered out and eventually quieted down. “I am sure you are all rather curious why I have called this meeting so… abruptly. As some of you will know, Prime Dean Marthis has been called away on rather important business. As such, I have been placed as Acting Prime Dean.”
Among the crowd there were plenty of whisperings and chattering which struck up once again. She gave them time to get the gossiping out of their system before she cleared her throat once more and eyed the thousands of beady looks.
“Since I am now in charge, there will be some… administrative changes that will be taking place. Some that will have a great impact on the college as a whole. In fact, within the coming days I will be meeting with each teacher and we will be going over student progress. Those who have not showed progress or interest in study will be asked to leave. Immediately.”
The bored curious interest now shifted to very uncomfortable concern. There were audible grunts and worried sharp inhales. Followed by the sudden rise in voices arguing with each other in disgust.
“Well that went an’ stirred dem up good!” Cleo chuckled under her breath.
Jen’Rar raised her arms and with it her voice. “Enough!”
After a strong and stern glare out into the audience the silence fell again.
“I will say this only once. As long as you have proven to want to be here, and to be capable of being here – you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Those of you who may be given.. a less then stellar report from your professors will still have a chance to prove your case. But I will be very clear. This school will no longer sully itself with those merely wishing to pay for the prestige of a magic degree. There will be no student who graduates these halls by coasting through or purchasing their way to success. That ends today. If you have any complaints? You may speak with our Diplomatic Relations representative, Cleo Denwater.”
The Koonem woman nearly choked as Jen’Rar motioned to her and winked away from the unruly crowd. She was certain Cleo had mouthed something rather inappropriate but luckily couldn’t hear it over the gathering dishevel of the room.
From the fourth chair which was closest to the edge of the stage a large male stood. He pounded his right foot on the stages floorboards which caused a deep thud to resonate in the room and he boomed out in a huge voice, “Silence!”
The room practically stood to attention with an electric jolt.
Seated with his cloak around him, the huge man had seemed rather normal and easy to overlook. But standing at his full height he was certainly a sight to behold. His skin was dark and deep, and his eyes were a strange and piercing grey. He was human, and seemed to be in his late fifties, but was chiseled and war-torn. His face was accented in white inked spell-work that seemed to extend from around his eyes into his bushy salt and pepper hair.
“Ah, yes… thank you Duke.” Jen’Rar patted her chest, clearly rattled in one way or another. Her cheeks were slightly more flushed then she intended them to be. “I doubt most of you remember Professor Duke, he was… retired quite a while ago. Luckily it seems he has graciously accepted a position back with the College! I hope you all can welcome him back with some applause?”
Very nervous clapping started as the man sat down and pulled his cloak around himself again. It was a pathetic amount of applause, but at least it was something.
“Alright, I believe that is enough excitement for one day. You are dismissed.”
“What twas that about me bein’ some diplomatic nonsense?!” Cleo hissed at her while eyeing the various unhappy students who were quickly getting out of the room to complain in safer quarters.
“Look, you have the best natural talent of being hard to find. Let them bore themselves with trying to track you down – we have bigger fish to fry. So to speak.”
Looking over to Duke, Jen’Rar couldn’t help but notice the quiet third chair was already vacant.
“That was quick.” The large man grunted.
“Vesper isn’t one for small talk. I’m sure he’s had other things on his mind.”
“I dun trust that one much.” Cleo scratched her cheek and peered suspiciously at the empty chair. “Sneaky elf he be.”
“Vesper is the least of our concerns. We run this school now, and between us three we have a -lot- of work to do. There are going to be a lot of them who do not take our authority lightly. I can see a lot of the rich snobs already writing angry letters to their rich snivelling parents. It’s going to be quite the political uproar I’m afraid.”
“You sure dis will be worth it?” Cleo sipped on a flask that she had somehow slipped from some hidden recess of her shawl. “Gonna be lotsa trouble for us, ‘specially in pretty fly boy comes back.”
“It’s necessary. I grow very tired of seeing good students with excellent potential being turned away because they can’t afford schooling. Or seeing students doing well only because they’ve helped fill the Dean’s personal coffers. That isn’t what Magic is about.
As for Marthis? Don’t you worry about him. I’m sure he has his hands quite full.”