TS01: College Application
April was an unusual month for Jove Astrom, or at least the month when his definition of usual changed most dramatically. The red fox’s senior year of high-school was going well, and he had received offers of acceptance from several prestigious schools. The problem was one of money. His parents were doing well enough, but none of the financial aid, none of the grants or scholarships had come through. It looked like he would have to wait for college, until an early day in April when an unusual letter arrived.
He stood in his backyard, a small fire in the grill burning. Jove turned the single letter over in his hands. He pondered the seal at the top that proclaimed it was from the University of Atlantean Thaumaturgy. Surely this was a joke, there was no such place as Atlantis. There were legends, a rumored place where the ancients were destroyed for their arrogance. However, it was a place that existed only in legends and movies. Just like Thaumaturgy. While Jove had played games where magic existed, and liked books where wizards fought armies, he had long since come to terms that magic was not real.
The letter brought back the years of hoping and searching. The months Jove had read every book on magic he could find, and the few times he tried the rituals. It got him into reading fantasy novels, and eventually his desire for real magic had given way to his acceptance of what was real. Yet, something about the possibility still drew him. Something about the fact it was hand written, with a quill. He read it one last time to be sure.
It is my pleasure to inform you of your acceptance into the Exploratory Magic Program at the exalted University of Atlantean Thaumaturgy. This program is specially designed to allow those not born in the realm of magic to find their own path towards its use. In the course of this program, your specific magical affinities will be determined and you will be given the opportunity to further specialize in one of several traditional methods.
This offer is given regardless of your academic performance throughout the remainder of this year. However, unless you choose to abandon all ties to your mundane life, it is recommended that you do complete your high school education. Of additional note, since your local currency will not be accepted at the school, an assistantship will be assigned in lieu of tuition.
While all magic requires faith, it is understood that you are cautious. In private, burn this letter and a school representative will arrive to explain things in greater detail. Even if you do not believe, there is nothing to lose from following these instructions.
Director of Awakenings
Raphael Azarias, Magus
Nothing to lose. No one would see. If this was a prank, no one would know if he believed them or not. Jove smiled, if he didn’t believe, he’d be throwing the letter out, not burning it. Yet, he was still embarrassed by the act. Cautiously, the letter floated into the fire. It blackened and burned slowly, until there was nothing but ash. Jove watched it for a long time, as his hoped crumbled into a familiar disappointment.
Jove turned to head back inside, only to find himself facing an imposing hooded figure. A simple dark orange robe and hood revealed only the shadowy outline of a wolf underneath. The wolf spoke in a gravelly tone, “The prophecy has begun, a letter burned reveals one who stops magic. Yet prophecy is written in the stars, not in stone. They will not reach you in time.” He smiled, wolf fangs bared.
Jove stepped back. “Are you from the Atlantis?” The figure was dressed as a mage, or at least how one might expect a mage to be dressed in modern times. Seeing this wizard stand in front of the house Jove grew up in, gave more the impression of a renaissance festival than actual danger.
The wolf laughed, flexing clawed hands. In reply he shouted, “Magic of this world, show my true form!” He started to grow and his flesh rippled, changing from fur to scales, as his robes lifted away into large leathery wings. In moments, a red-scaled dragon, as large as Jove’s house settled on four legs. He growled, “Now, die!” Taking a deep breath, he exhaled a giant jet of flame at the cowering fox.
The flame burned around Jove, set his clothing on fire, yet there was no pain. The fox somehow stood his ground, his flesh and fur refused to burn. As the dragon’s breath passed, the fox stood, charred and smoldering, but alive and unharmed. He gasped, “What’s going on?”
The dragon’s eyes narrowed, “You stopped my flame. Very well, without magic…” He flexed one of his clawed hands and struck the fox with it. The force knocked Jove off his feet and into the lit grill, spilling the still hot embers. Not allowing Jove time to recover, the dragon pounced, crushing Jove into ground.
Slowly, the dragon sat back, and saw the fox was battered and cut, but still breathing. The dragon howled, “How?”
He was interrupted by a scream from the house. A middle aged vixen was standing in the back doorway, watching in horror. It was Jove’s mother.
Somehow, Jove got the words out, “Mom, run…”
The dragon growled, “She saw us, so…” He took a deep breath.
“No,” Jove begged, “You can’t.”
Without further word, the dragon exhaled a jet of flame.
“No!” Jove shouted, closing his eyes, “You can’t!” It was no longer an objection; it was a statement. In that moment, something passed through the fox, a sensation he’d wondered about since he was young. A feeling he knew instinctively; a power called magic.
The weight from the dragon no longer held him down, and tentatively Jove opened his eyes. His mother was on the ground, unconscious but unharmed. The dragon had turned back into the robed wolf, who was slowly getting to his feet.
The wolf grumbled, “Your outburst won’t save you, little fox.” From inside his robe he drew two short blades. “And these won’t care how thick you can make your hide.” Slowly he walked towards the fox, blades readied in front of himself, one pointed strait at the fox’s heart.
Suddenly, the wolf turned, and parried two blue bolts that came at him from above. Another robed figure, dressed in yellow, floated to the ground. With a scaled hand, he pulled back his hood to reveal a snake’s head on his otherwise human shaped body. “Impressive Vorax, but the student is under the protection of the university.”
The wolf sized up the newcomer. He pointed a sword at Jove. “You caught me off guard, next time you will not be so lucky.” Then he pointed the other at the snake, “Magus, if my magic wasn’t sealed, I’d rip you apart, no matter how many lackeys you had.” He switched his gaze back to Jove, “Be seeing you.” With a flourish, the blades the wolf held seemed to cut the air, opening a rift in space, and he leapt through it.
The snake stood there for a moment, then walked over to Jove. He extended a hand to help the fox to his feet. “Hello Jove, I’m Raphael Azarias. I’m here to talk about your future.” He took a look back at the house and the ruined grill, “Which has just gotten a lot more complicated. Sorry about that.”
Jove got to his feet, his legs shaky. “Is it over?” he asked before he remembered… “Mom!”
Jove’s mother was unconscious, just inside the house. Raphael assured Jove, “It looks like she just passed out. Seeing a mythic can do that, especially a dragon. If it’s okay, I can help.”
Jove examined the snake, dark green scales, hazel eyes, yet his gaze was soft. “If you can help her.”
The snake nodded and inhaled. Placing his hands on Jove’s mother, he exhaled, and for a moment, the snake’s hands glowed a pale blue.
Her eyes fluttered open, and she looked around nervously, until she realized the dragon was gone. He voice shook, “What’s going on?”
The snake smiled, “I’m Magus Azarias. I’m here to discuss your son’s future at college. And attempt to explain why a dragon tried to kill him.” He sighed, “and why I was late getting here.”TS02: Application Review >>