Character History: Elante Vadrillion

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Character History: Elante Vadrillion

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Arrow on Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:27 pm

(portions of this - largely those involving dialogue on the part of Aeryn - were written by Parabola)

It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair at all.

Elante sighed, sinking down on his bed, legs curled up so that his knees pointed up towards the ceiling. An elegant painted design looked down at him, amongst the luxurious cushions and blankets of the double bed upon which the light of the morning fell through a crack in the curtains. The young boy turned his head to the side and stared across his room. His possessions littered the room like a child’s paradise – games consoles, a top of the range computer, a massive television, huge wardrobes filled with clothes, a piano ... material wealth galore. He stared at them all, and he sighed again.

What good was all of this, after all, without anyone to show it to, and share it with? His parents were strong believers in the theory that if their son had no outside influences to corrupt him or distract them from his studies, then he would achieve greatness. The classic misguided views of the privileged.

If his parents had walked in and seen him lying there, they would have been distressed, and probably offered to buy him yet another ‘thing’. But they refused to let him go to school – their son would be privately tutored, nothing but the best. They refused to let him play outside of the family’s gardens, or go into town, or spend enough time with people to make good friends. Elante knew a few of the local kids his age, but they all considered him less of a friend and more of a companion. He was too distant, too inaccessible in his veritable mansion to form bonds.

There was no denying that in some ways the Vadrillions’ policy worked – Elante was bright, there was no question. His magical ability, at just-recently-turned fifteen, was incredibly impressive and his academic knowledge far outstripped the average.

But what Elante wanted, was a friend. The boy scowled, and with a growl of anger he jerked upright and tossed a cushion across the room, where it hit a wall with a soft ‘thwack’. “Stupid, stupid, stupid!” he yelled, punching at the bed angrily.

Stupid parents. Stupid mansion. Stupid ... loneliness. Elante drooped once again, and dragged himself from his bed to cross the room to a chest of drawers. Pulling them open, the boy retrieved after a short time rummaging through carefully piled clothes, a leaflet, pilfered from the mail before his parents found it. It was a miniature prospectus for a university. Academia Celestia: illustrious, beautiful and wonderful. Notebooks and drawings were scattered around the bottom of the drawer, plans and depictions of what life would be like there.

When he was old enough, that’s what he’d do. He’d leave, whether his parents liked it or not, and he’d go here. He’d go to this Academia Celestia, and he’d make friends. He loved his parents, even if they were confining, but he needed to get out. He had a privileged life – the news told him that much – and he felt guilty in a way that he despised it. Maybe he just needed someone – anyone – to share it with, a friend. A sibling would have been wonderful, but now that they had an ‘heir’, his father had no interest in a second child.

Sighing for a final time, Elante slipped the papers away and walked back to his bed. He picked up a large tome on his way there – the current volume that his magic tutor had him studying, this one on demons and the threats they posed to unwitting mages. Summoners or not, demons could mess with your magic, and thenceforth your day. But Elante couldn’t help but read the pages on familiars, and on companion-demons with a particular interest. Little creatures, harmless or friendly, that worked for their ‘master’ as servants, and often became like a trusted pet or even friend.

Maybe if he had one of them he could convince his parents to let him keep it. After all, maintaining a demon would certainly be a challenge for his magic. A little imp or a demonic animal, like a pet but requiring less maintenance. He thought he could make the case... he’d have to talk to his tutor though. If he said that he could do it, or even told him to, then his parents couldn’t say no, right?

Nodding to himself, Elante made a note to ask the kind old man during the next lesson. Alfred was a skilled mage, and an even more skilled teacher, and he put up with all of Elante’s whining and lack of motivation with a warm smile and a stern hand. He was far more lenient than Elante’s parents, too, and the few excursions into the outside world that Elante had were down to Alfred making up an important ‘trip’ for him. They had talked for a long time about taking a ‘trip’ to Celestia, but Alfred maintained that he wouldn’t be able to get that past the Vadrillions.

But still, a pet would be great!

The time to the lesson passed agonisingly slowly, even though it was only an hour. Elante was restless all throughout his breakfast, much to his mother’s annoyance, and arrived outside the study room ten minutes early.

When Alfred arrived five minutes later, he raised an eyebrow at Elante’s presence.

“Uncharacteristically early, master Elante.” The white-haired man said, chuckling softly. His deep voice gave his chuckles a unique jolly quality to them, and if he’d only been more rotund, and had a beard, he could have passed as Santa with ease.

“I ... um, I just felt like ...” Elante tried to come up with a believable excuse for turning up early, but Alfred knew him too well, and waved a hand.

“We’ll discuss whatever it is you want after the lesson, Elante. For now,” the tutor clicked the door open and led Elante inside, “We must return to control and defence, when dealing with extra-dimensional entities. That’s ‘stopping demons from killing you’, in layman’s terms.”

The lesson went by quickly, or so it felt. Elante did enjoy his lessons with Alfred – the old man was the closest to a true friend that the boy had. Eventually the time drew to a close though, and Alfred was smudging out the remains of the last few chalk circles that he had drawn and had Elante draw over the course of the lesson when he spoke up. “Well, Elante?”

“Well what, sir?”

“What was it you wanted to ask me?”

“Oh!” Elante blinked, “I was wondering ... would you let me – that is, would you tell my parents you let me – have ... summon a little imp? Or a familiar? Just something I can talk to, or spend time with.”

Alfred frowned. Controlling even a petty demon like an imp was dangerous for an untrained mage, and the tutor’s first thought was to expressly forbid it. He paused, though, at the pleading look in the teenager’s eyes. Alfred was more than aware of Elante’s situation – he had spoken with the boy’s parents on more than one occasion regarding it, to no avail. Perhaps this would do him good. A familiar would give him a companion to channel his pent up energy into entertaining and interacting with. It was no substitute for a group of friends, but that seemed out of Elante’s reach for now.

“I’ll consider it.” Alfred said. Elante seemed disappointed – Alfred often took a great deal of time to ‘consider’ things, and so the tutor sighed. “Alright, Elante – but nothing from outside the first ranking! Anything with more than a single star beside its name is too dangerous for you to try and contain.”

‘One star’ demons in the text that he had Elante reading were those that, even unbound, were nearly completely harmless. Demonic kittens, imps without any sort of claw or fang or horn, and similar such creatures.

Elante’s grin nearly split his face in two, and he almost looked like he was about to hug the tutor before strict etiquette coaching controlled the impulse. “Thank you so much, Al- sir!” he exclaimed, “You won’t regret this, I promise!”

Alfred sorely hoped that he wouldn’t. If Elante accidentally unleashed the creatures of the netherworld upon himself, then there would be hell to pay. No pun intended.

It was late in the evening by the time Elante’s academic studies were finished and he’d had his evening meal: he, his mother and his father sitting in silence around a table that was far too big for the three of them. The boy retreated to his room with a pocketed supply of chalk for his circle, and a number of candles and other ingredients that he’d noted necessary.

The creature that Elante intended to summon was called a ‘Lefling’. It was a small fluffy creature, resembling a kitten combined with a rabbit, which could apparently communicate via telepathy. Elante had spent a great deal of time deciding which of the little creatures he would choose, but the capacity for communication combined with an apparently less bitter attitude than imps had put the Lefling ahead.

Elante carefully traced out the circle of power that the ritual required, and placed his candles and ingredients around it as the instructions overleaf from the creature’s description outlined. It seemed a little complex, Elante thought, compared to the examples Alfred had shown him, but maybe it had something to do with the sentience of this particular creature.

Sitting back to admire his handiwork, Elante carefully positioned the book and awkwardly sat down in a cross legged position in front of it. Apparently all he had to do now was charge the circle with magic, and cross his fingers. So the boy leaned forwards and touched the circle, furrowing his brow as he sent a charge of magic into the chalk and across the elegant pattern. He frowned as the circle drew on more energy than he would have thought necessary, but put the misjudgement down to inexperience.

The chalk lit up as the magic coursed through it, a silvery white light beginning to radiate from the lines as the summoning took place. Elante sat back with baited breath as the final few lines of light converged towards one another in the centre, meeting all at once with a bright flash that forced him to shield his eyes.

When Elante lowered his arm, the light was beginning to fade around a shape in the centre of the circle. A shape which looked considerably larger than a kitten-rabbit.

“Uhh...” Elante gulped, staring down at the page of the book and trying to figure out whether he’d gone wrong anywhere. As he fumbled with the text, it abruptly came apart in his hands.

That is to say, the two pages that had been stuck together came apart. The instructions for the Lefling had been concealed between two ... so what had Elante just summoned?


The boy blinked, and looked back up at the circle. Sat within it, looking markedly disoriented, was what looked to be another boy of Elante’s age. Silvery white hair fell to his shoulders, and he had odd white markings on his face and neck, and presumably the rest of his body. His eyes were a piercing red, but despite this they were unthreatening. The boy seemed just as surprised as Elante was that he was here.

“Wh- what are you?” Elante stammered, staring down at the book for the entry that the instructions he’d followed actually corresponded to.

“A ‘what’, am I? I see how it is.” The boy said, folding his arms. “Well, no, that’s a lie ... I don’t. What’s going on? Why am I here, and who the fuck are you?”

Elante flushed at the swear word – that language would have earned him a smack from his father – as he read. Apparently, this boy was a ‘silvis’.

Silvis are humanoid creatures from a realm known as the Silver Dimension. Usually embodying a sin of some sort with varying degrees of intensity, they can be both amiable and hostile depending on the individual. Telltale signs of hostility are a build up of oddly pigmented features, dilation or lack of pupils, physical mutations such as wings or claws, or a lack of sentient communication. A guideline to follow is that if you can hold an ordinary conversation with your silvis without it devolving into less-than-sane communication, it is as safe as most magically powered humans.

“Why- I, um. I summoned you.” Elante said, embarrassed. “I didn’t mean to! The book page was stuck, and-“

“You summoned me? What, like, magic summoned?”

Elante nodded voicelessly as the boy took that in. He was worrying that the silvis would be angry at this, but quite to the contrary, a broad grin manifested on the other’s face.

“I suppose I ought to say thanks, then!” the silvis made to stick a hand out to Elante, but pulled it back sharply as it met the edge of the circle, burning his fingertips. “Owch! Is that really necessary? I’m not gonna eat you! Not like half the things where I come from.”

Elante blinked, and after a moment’s hesitation he nodded again. “If I let you out, you have to promise not to hurt me, okay?”

The silvis nodded, “Sure, whatever! Why would I do that? I owe you one – do you have any clue what it’s like where I’m from?”

Shaking his head, Elante tentatively reached forwards to the circle, and with a brief moment of focus, the magic in it flickered and vanished. The silvis relaxed slightly, cautiously approaching the edge of the circle and shuffling over, gaining more confidence once he wasn’t fried by the magic. The creature smiled again and slumped down next to Elante, mimicking the boy’s cross-legged position. He extended a hand out, at which point Elante took after a few awkward seconds of not recognising the greeting, and they shook.

“I’m Aeryn.” The silvis said, “It’s nice to meet you! You just pulled me out of hell, which I ‘ppreciate!”

“Elante.” Elante replied, “I’m Elante. It’s nice to meet you, I guess. And that’s ... alright? Ohh, what am I gonna tell my parents..?”

Aeryn frowned momentarily, “You’re gonna have to explain this whole situation to me from the start, Elante. I get the feeling we’re both a little out of our depth...”

Explaining the situation to Aeryn did turn out to be a little complex. They kept stumbling over words and terms that he didn’t understand – cars, computers, technology in general seemed to baffle the silvis. Eventually he settled into deciding it was just another form of magic, at least until he could figure it out, and they moved on. Aeryn explained the Silver Dimension to him early on in their talks, lasting through the night, as a barren landscape filled with monstrous creatures, and an ambient magical energy in the air that slowly but surely drove even the most honourable individual into the depths of depravity and sin, and eventually insanity. Elante sat agape as he listened, wondering how Aeryn was quite so ... normal. Apparently he had only arrived there from his original home – which was a whole other story – a month or so prior, saving him from much of the deteriorating effects.

The night progressed on into morning, and despite his enthusiasm to learn about his new, apparently incredibly talkative companion, Elante was running on low fuel. Aeryn was part-way through trying to grasp the concept of a plane when Elante practically fell forwards with exhaustion, and the silvis frowned at him with concern.

“Shouldn’t you sleep? You do need to sleep, right? Or is that a wizard thing, that you don’t?” he asked.

Elante nodded groggily, “You’re right ... I’m just, not used to having someone to talk to. Uh, you don’t mind sleeping on my sofa, do you..?”

Aeryn shook his head, smiling, “It’s a damn sight better than a fuckin’ pointy rock, that’s all I’m saying. And there’ll be plenty of chance for us to trade more information tomorrow.”

And so the two teenagers retired for the night. It seemed like only five minutes had passed when Elante’s shrill alarm clock sounded, filling the room with ‘BEEP BEEP, BEEP BEEP!’. The mage groaned, dragging himself over to flail at the block to shut it up.

“What the fuck is that?!”

Elante blinked. For a moment, the events of the previous night had escaped him completely – but seeing Aeryn sat upright, staring around for the source of the noise, brought it all flooding back. The mage snickered, “It’s just an alarm clock. It makes a really annoying noise to wake you up.”

“Right... okay, cool.” Aeryn nodded and settled back down. Elante hit the clock off and wandered through to his bathroom to shower.

A short time and a rather basic introduction to ‘how showers and bathrooms in general work’ later, and Elante was ready for another day. “Uhm...” he glanced over his shoulder at Aeryn, sat cross legged on the couch with his hair still damp, “You should probably stay here until I talk to Alfred, my tutor, about what to do about you and my parents...” he said.

Aeryn nodded slowly, “Ookay. Just tell me what not to touch. And if you say everything, that’s cool too.”

Elante smirked, “Just don’t touch anything ... with force. Here, I’ll set up the TV for you, on the news, and you can try and get your head around like ... the world, and stuff. I’ll teach you how to use a computer this evening, so you can start looking things up!”

“Sounds fun.” Aeryn smiled while Elante turned the television on and flicked it to BBC News, “I’ll see you later then, I guess.”

“See you...” Elante said, slightly sadly. He didn’t really want to leave his new friend for the whole day, but he didn’t have much choice.

“You summoned a what?

“It was an accident!” Elante protested, quivering under Alfred’s angered glare. “The pages were stuck together! I didn’t mean to!”

Alfred sighed in irritation, “Silvis are incredibly dangerous, Elante. The majority of them are completely insane, and violent at that.”

“But he’s not! He only got sent there a month ago, so his mind hasn’t degenerated yet! He’s real friendly, and I’m sure he’d love to meet you! Please, Alfred, just meet him! You’ll see he’s harmless!”

“Very well. I will assess this ‘Aeryn’, but if I decide that he is too dangerous, you will send him back immediately.” Alfred folded his arms. Elante nodded, but he didn’t believe the boy for a minute. He was obviously already rather attached to this demon ...

“Wait, so ... you put the bread in, and leave it, and it comes out cooked? How is that not magic?”

Explaining how a toaster worked to an insatiably curious teenage demon was not how Alfred had envisioned spending his afternoon, but it seemed that that was how he was spending it. After spending about an hour speaking with and magically assessing the silvis, he had reluctantly agreed that as far as hostility was concerned, Aeryn didn’t have much of it – he had a temper, but he was not at all malicious. And although Elante hadn’t known it at the time, the promise that the silvis had made – not to hurt him – was a powerful safety measure. It was a categorical barrier on any intentional harm, whether physical or emotional, on Elante, which covered quite a lot. It wasn’t perfect, and could be avoided, but it seemed to be enough for the situation.

Maybe Alfred was just being lenient – but he’d taught students leniently before, and they’d turned out remarkably well. He could remember one particularly talented student who, in her own feisty way, had managed to wind him around her little finger and get damn near whatever she wanted – and she was the headmistress of an eminent magical academy, now, far outstripping him in her skill and power. So he had to have done something right there...

The clinking of cutlery on fine china cut through the silence of the expansive dining room like a gunshot. The creases on Edmund Vadrillion’s forehead tightened into a frown, and for the umpteenth time that evening his eyes drifted towards the silvery haired boy that sat at the other end of the table. Alfred had convinced him that this ... creature, was part of Elante’s education, and that interacting with an extra-dimensional being on a mundane and day-to-day basis would condition him well for maintaining control both over future summons, and his magic in general. Of course, Alfred had explained this with a great deal more jargon, but that was what Edmund had managed to grasp. The truth was that Edmund wasn’t a particularly talented mage. Powerful, yes, but his grasp on more complex magic was limited to say the least – no, he was where he was because of his Machiavellian cunning and willpower. It took power of a different sort to lead a family.

But despite Alfred’s explanations, Edmund was not happy. The boy had no idea how to behave in a home such as their own, as was clear by his awkward handling of the cutlery. Elante had had to spend a good fifteen minutes explaining what each fork, knife and spoon was for. Edmund examined the array of cutlery before him, and admitted to himself that it was rather complicated – particularly for a demon. Simple creatures; and they were unpleasant to have around. But tolerable, if, as Alfred said, it would better his son and make him a more suitable heir. Because Elante was not a suitable heir as it stood – he was weak; intelligent, but weak. He had not the will to crush those who stood in his way, and seize the reigns of such an influential family as this.

The silence pressed onwards. To the side of the long table, Estelle Vadrillion sedately worked her way through her meal. Elante’s mother, Estelle was somewhat less domineering than her husband, and he had no doubts that it was her that Elante got his mouse-like tendencies from. Both of them were meek as meek could be. It was a shame that he had not married the fiery woman from his youth, Natasha something or other – she would, of course, have been harder to control. Perhaps a balance could have been achieved.

The creature – Elante had apparently called it Aeryn – had been present in the house for a week or two. Initially, Edmund had insisted that it be fed in Elante’s room, but eventually the boy had persuaded him to allow it to join them at the table. It didn’t sit well with Edmund, but if it was for his son’s own good ... well, he could allow it. It wasn’t like taking another person into the family, after all, it was only a demon. More like a privileged pet.

Time passed, and the meal drew to a close. Elante and the demon made to depart immediately, but Edmund lifted a hand to beckon Elante over. He whispered something to the creature before he came over, and it wandered off. Edmund frowned; he hoped that Elante knew what he was doing with the thing, letting it wander loose around the house.

“Yes, father?”

Edmund looked down at his son with an assessing stare. He was not an ideal son, by any stretch – small, effeminate and withdrawn despite his life of luxury (Edmund was not well versed in parenting, not in the slightest). There was no presence to him. “Elante ... regarding the creature.”

“Aeryn. His name is Aeryn.”

“Do not interrupt me, child.” Edmund snapped, backhanding Elante lightly across the face. Elante withdrew a step, biting his lip to suppress a cry. Edmund noted redness to the boy’s cheek ... perhaps he had struck him harder than he had intended. No, the boy was simply weak. He had endured far worse from his own father, in the times when bruises and beatings were culturally acceptable as punishment. “The creature, I feel that it should be kept somewhere less ... invasive, than your own quarters. I can provide it with a room in the servants’ quarters, so that it cannot harm you or disturb your possessions.”

“No!” Edmund was taken aback by Elante’s protest, and the boy hastily corrected himself, “I mean, please do not, father. I ... I enjoy his company, father. And it is helpful for my studies to have him around whenever I need to employ related magics.”

Edmund frowned. On the one hand, Elante was perhaps treating the creature as more human than he should. On the other, this was the first time that Elante had shown any backbone in years ... perhaps he ought to allow him this victory, condition him to stand up for himself. Only when Edmund himself was not particularly concerned, of course. If Elante stood against his will then he would have to put a stop to it, but Alfred had said to allow Elante a measure of authority over the creature’s affairs ... “Very well.” Edmund said simply, much to Elante’s surprise. “On the condition that you keep it in mind that the creature is a demon, not a friend. It is no more human than a dog.”

Elante balked slightly at his father’s words, but wordlessly nodded. He would keep no such thing in mind, but if it dissuaded his father from separating him from his new friend, then he would lie about it.

Watching Elante depart, Edmund’s expression remained in a frown. After a moment, Estelle’s voice sounded softly to his right, where she was still seated. “He seems happier recently, don’t you think?”

“Hm.” Edmund glanced at the woman, “That is not my concern. My concern is that he is successful, and strong. If this creature proves a bad influence on him, then it will be removed. One way or another.”

This elicited a frown from his wife, but the blonde woman remained silent. The servants began to clear the table, and Edmund turned to return to his study. He would have to keep an eye on things ... but he had more important matters to be concerned with now than his child’s antics.

Estelle sighed as her husband departed. He should have been pleased that Elante was happier, but truth be told, she did not expect him to be. Edmund might be disappointed with Elante, but she was proud. He was intelligent, kind, and didn’t cause any trouble. What more could a mother ask? She only wished that he was not so suppressed by his father’s desires. But perhaps it was for his own good. The power of the family would set him up for life, were he able to control it.

She would have to think on this further.

The bright afternoon sunshine warmed Elante’s skin as he wandered through the extensive gardens of the Vadrillions’ home, brown hair shining like some sort of shampoo advert in the light. The paved path wound its way through flower beds and walled off miniature gardens, as well as small-but-dense sections of trees. Everything was neatly trimmed by the gardeners. Summer had come – almost ten months since he’d accidentally summoned Aeryn.

Aeryn himself walked a few feet ahead, leading the way. Aeryn spent most of his time away from Elante out here – when Elante was in none-magical lessons, mostly. Today was Saturday, though, so there was plenty of time for the both of them to take a walk. Elante had explored most everywhere in the gardens over the course of his life, considering it was the main outdoor space he was allowed to access all the time, but Aeryn had promised that he had something to show him.

The silvis turned back to Elante with a grin, “This way.” He said, gesturing to the side and leaving the pathway. With a momentary pause to blink in confusion, Elante followed Aeryn into the trees. It wasn’t far through the thicket before they reached the edge of the garden – a tall wall bordering it. Elante looked at Aeryn, perplexed.

“What am I meant to be looking at?” he asked, glancing around the small clearing between the trees and the wall.

“This!” Aeryn said, reaching one arm up into a tree and pulling himself into his branches. With a few quick swings and steps, the silvis had reached a high branch that extended fully over towards the wall, and with a hop he touched down on the top of the stone. “A way out.” He noted, as if it weren’t obvious.

Elante stared at Aeryn, “But what if fa-“

“Oh, bollocks to the old man. We have all day, he won’t check on us now until supper. Come on! I’ve been going out here for weeks, I’ve made some friends!”

Elante was still hesitant, and his expression showed it. Aeryn sighed and jumped back to the branch, climbing down a few places. “Let me give you a hand up?” he offered, reaching down to offer Elante a hand.

With a sigh of surrender, Elante smiled and nodded. He took Aeryn’s hand – before letting out a suppressed yelp of surprise as the other boy pulled him up and off the ground with apparently very little effort, lifting him up to the same level as him to gently set him down. There wasn’t much space on this little branch, and Elante felt slightly awkward with how close they were pressed together... thankfully, Aeryn took off right away, back up towards the branch that led over the wall. Elante followed with markedly less dexterity, but eventually the two both reached the wall. Which was where Elante discovered an apparent problem.

“Uh... there isn’t a tree this side. Apart from that one, and that’s too high to jump to.” He said, looking down at the long drop, then up at a thick tree branch that hung over them just out of reach.

Aeryn grinned, “Trust me?” he asked.

Nodding slowly, Elante opened his mouth to say something, but was cut off abruptly as Aeryn hooked his arm around his waist, lifted him... and jumped. Whatever Elante was going to say was replaced by a squeal of terror as they dropped the significant distance to the ground. There was a thud as they hit the floor, at which point Elante realised that he had his eyes closed.

Opening them nervously, Elante realised that he was not in fact dead. Aeryn had landed on his feet, bending into a slight crouch, but seemed unharmed entirely by the descent. Apart from slight soreness where the jerking of the landing had caused Aeryn’s grip to tighten on him, Elante too was fine.

“... warn me next time?” Elante gasped as Aeryn set him down, “And stop picking me up and tossing me about like a doll or something. It’s not very dignified!”

“Duly noted. But come on! There’s someone I want you to meet.” Aeryn set off at a quick walk, leaving Elante to hurry after him. The little forested area at the rear of the Vadrillions’ gardens opened onto a public park, and Elante found himself watching families walking around, couples strolling along the edge of a small lake, children playing in a miniature playground. He’d been here before as a child – his mother used to bring him here most days before he turned seven, and his father decided that his education and upbringing now took priority over ‘play’.

“Where are we going?” Elante asked as Aeryn led them away from the park, down a path that led towards a distant road.

“Into town.” Aeryn said, “Not scared are ya?”

“Of course not!” Elante protested, “I’m just curious. I don’t really know my way around.”

Aeryn grinned “We’ll have to fix that, then!”

“And who’s we?”

“You’ll see!”

It took near on twenty minutes to walk to town, but the pair kept themselves busy with conversation. Elante determinedly tried to garner some indication as to the identity of this friend Aeryn spoke of, whilst Aeryn equally determinedly changed the subject to various things, ranging from the town itself, to Elante’s parents, to vague stories of antics and shenanigans that he’d been getting up to while Elante was in lessons.

The two eventually arrived, and Aeryn led Elante down the high street and towards a shopping centre. “In here!” he called back – Elante was lagging behind a little, evidently not very good at crowd-weaving, but caught up with a little burst of speed just as Aeryn was entering the shopping centre.

The Orlen’s Hill (the name of the town, thus far omitted) shopping centre was similar to the rest of Orlen’s Hill. A high-class, expensive and stylish utopia of brand names and designer labels, with price tags to match. A rich town – though most not on the level of Elante’s parents – for rich people.


Elante glanced away from his survey of the veritable hive of activity at a female voice calling out his friend’s name, his eyes falling on an approaching figure. Slim and of average height, the girl looked to be about his and Aeryn’s age, with long locks of curly black hair falling around her pretty features with a striking red bow set amongst them. Dressed largely in reds and blacks, the girl smiled brightly as she walked over to them.

“Hey, Rosie.” Aeryn said, waving to her, “This is Elante! Finally got him out here to meet you.”

“Oh! Hey there, Elante!” the green-eyed girl turned her gaze on Elante, who blinked at the attention before smiling nervously.

“Hey.” He ventured, his obvious shyness eliciting a giggle from the girl.

“Aeryn’s told me a lot about you.” Rosie noted, glancing at the silvis, “I’ve always wondered who lived in that mansion. I imagined it would be some snot-nosed posh gits, though, not people like Aeryn, and you.”

Elante shrugged, “You’re not far off the mark with my parents, to be honest.”

Rosie smirked, as Aeryn put an arm on both of their shoulders. “Right! Let’s go make the most of the day while we still have it.” He said decisively, and the three drifted off into the crowds.

A number of hours later, and evening was drawing closer. The trio emerged out from the local cinema in fits of laughter, having decided on a whim to go and see ‘Hot Fuzz’. The film had been funny, but the teenagers were mostly just laughing at each other, in the way that teenagers were wont to do.

“Ahh... we really need to get going.” Elante said, still grinning. “My dad’ll be looking for us soon.”

Rosie smiled “Alright. I’ll see you tomorrow? And next weekend, I hope!”

Elante nodded, “Sure!” he said, as Aeryn nodded.

“Come on then, ‘lante.” Aeryn said, “Night, Rosie!”

The three exchanged goodnights, and Elante and Aeryn set off back. The public park was emptier with the fading light, and they barely passed another soul as they made their way to the thicket that bordered the mansion gardens. Once there, though, Elante frowned. “I assume you know how we get back in, considering how we got down?”

Aeryn smirked, “Of course. I’m not that thick!” he noted, making his way over to another tree and clambering dextrously into it, offering his hand down for Elante again.

Elante examined the hand, before giving Aeryn a wry look and instead taking hold of the tree itself to make his own way up. “I’ll pass on being tossed around, thanks!”

The silvis shrugged, and continued on his way up. Eventually they reached the long branch that extended over the wall, and Aeryn carefully dropped down the short fall onto the wall itself. Elante tentatively stood at the end of the thick branch, looking down at the drop.


“Just drop down!” Aeryn said, “You won’t fall, and if you do I’ll make sure you don’t break your neck.”

“Reassuring...” Elante muttered, sitting down on the branch to dangle his legs down. He took a deep breath, and slid himself off. His feet met the stone of the wall, momentarily relieving him, but then he stumbled. Arms flailing outwards, Elante wobbled on top of the wall and teetered on the edge, only for a hand to reach out and grab the back of his shirt as he was about to faceplant off of it.

Elante breathed a sigh of relief as Aeryn pulled him back upright, and turned to smile at the silvis, who wore an amused expression. “Reassuring, right?” Aeryn tease, and Elante chuckled.

“Thanks...” he said reluctantly, despite the indignity of the situation.

“Want me to help you down?” Aeryn asked, walking over to make to hook his arms around the boy for another jump down. Elante blanched, and the silvis paused questioningly.


“Er what?”

“I’m just not a fan of unexpected drops.” Elante noted. Aeryn grinned.

“I’ll warn you, this time.” He said, patting Elante on the shoulder and hooking his arms underneath Elante’s own. “Ready?”

“Alright, just don’t screw up!” Elante warned.

Aeryn jumped down, and the two landed safely. They returned home just in time to escape Edmund’s suspicion, though comments were made on their unusual interest in the gardens...

Months passed. Life was as it had been since Aeryn had arrived. Christmas came and went, and Elante and Aeryn maintained the friendship with the local girl Rosie, as well as some of her friends. Elante found his lessons getting more and more demanding, though, his father becoming stricter regarding work hours.

He decided to bring forward his plans.

Without his parents’ knowledge – i.e., using the town’s post-box rather than the family’s personal one – Elante filled out an application to Academia Celestia, and sent it off. It was a week and a half after this, on a Friday morning, when the reply came.

Elante was sat on a beanbag, talking to Aeryn, when the door slammed back on its hinges with a loud crash. The teenager jumped with shock, and there was a thunk from further in the room as Aeryn fell off of the sofa. His father stood in the doorway with a dark scowl upon his face.

“What is this?” he hissed, tossing an envelope at a startled Elante, who picked up the opened letter with confusion. Within was an acceptance letter for his place at Celestia.

“Father, I can ex-“

”Silence!” Edmund shouted, “I will not have any child of mine run off to a public institution when he has responsibilities to his family! You are my heir, Elante, and you will take up my mantle when you are of age!”

Elante glowered at his father, “Maybe I don’t want to, father! Has that ever dawned on you? That I might prefer something I enjoy to what you want? That I might prefer friends to endless material things?”

Edmund bristled at the response, “You have a duty, Elante.” He hissed.

“No! This is the twenty first century, father, not the middle ages! A family doesn’t need a leader! A family is a collection of people who care for each other – this isn’t even close to a fucking family!” Elante yelled.

Aeryn, in the meantime, pulled himself upright. Edmund’s ire rounded on the silvis then.

”You!” he growled, “This is your doing, isn’t it? You filled my son’s head with fantasies about this ... school, you turned him against me!”

“Hey, listen, beardy. I don’t know squat about this world yet, let alone have I the capacity to come up with a fantastical magic school and persuade Elante to go off to it. Don’t blame this on me. If you can’t ‘control’ your family then maybe you ought to start thinking about a new appr-“

”Silence, demon!” Edmund barked, swinging his arm out to send a lash of magic spiralling out to slam into Aeryn’s chest, tossing the young silvis backwards with a cry of pain. Elante cried out with anger, jumping to his feet.

“Stay away from him!” Elante screamed, gathering his own magic to try and force Edmund out of the room. The more powerful elder man – unrefined as his skills were – simply turned to face his son and quieted him with a burst of force, knocking him back into his bed.

Edmund stormed over to the recovering Aeryn and angrily bent down to lift the silvis up by the neck of his shirt. “Begone, and never contact my son again!” he bellowed, and with a swing of his arm the large man tossed Aeryn forcefully through the glass window with a smash, a cry of horror coming from Elante as his friend disappeared downwards.

”You bastard!” Elante screamed, scrambling to his feet and running from the room. Edmund turned to stop him, but Elante threw a ball of fire backwards at his father, forcing the man to protect himself rather than pursue. He ran through the corridors of the mansion, sliding down the stairs as fast as he could to burst out of the back door.

A patch of bloodied glass was scattered below his window, but no sign of the silvis. Elante stared with confusion at the ground, until he noted the blood trail leading away into the gardens. The young mage hurried to follow it – Aeryn was obviously moving quickly, for someone who’d just been thrown through a window – through the grass. His tracking skills were less than practised, but the crimson was relatively easy to detect amongst the green.

Eventually, Elante found the silvis slumping to a halt against a tree some distance into the garden. “Aeryn!”

Aeryn turned to face Elante, blinking in surprise. The gash in his side wasn’t as bad as Elante had feared, but he was obviously in bad shape. “Elante.” He said as the mage approached, “I thought that he would have stopped you. I was going to wait ... I would have come back for you!”

“Shh,” Elante said, kneeling beside his friend, “It doesn’t matter now. Here, let me see.” Elante pulled up Aeryn’s shirt to leave the cut in his side exposed. It was nasty, there was no doubting that, but not life-threatening. “Hold still.” He instructed, pressing his hand against it – Aeryn winced with the touch, but as Elante began to slowly heal the wound, he relaxed.

When the gashes and scrapes on Aeryn had fully recovered, Elante withdrew his hand. Aeryn smiled, “Thanks, ‘lante. What are you gonna do now? I can’t go back there, I’m thinking.”

“Then I won’t either. Not for long anyway. I’m going to get a bag, and then I’m going to Celestia. I want you to come with me.”

Aeryn blinked, “Elante, are you sure? This is your family, what about your mum?”

“You’ve been more family to me than they ever were.” Elante said sadly, sighing, “I’ll miss mum, but she never challenged father. And I won’t miss him.”

The silvis nodded slowly, pushing himself to a straighter sitting position. “And you sure you want me along? I seem to be nothing but trouble.”

Elante grinned, and punched Aeryn’s arm, putting his hand on the silvis’ shoulder. “Of course I do... I...”

“Elant-?” Aeryn’s question, whatever it was, was cut off, as Elante leaned towards the silvis and pressed his lips against Aeryn’s. Aeryn’s eyes widened in shock, and his first instinct was to pull back. But for some reason, he found that he didn’t really want to. The silvis closed his eyes and returned the kiss, wrapping his arms around Elante and pulling the mage close.

They stayed in that clearing for almost an hour, before Elante eventually snuck back inside and packed a rudimentary bag. He left a note for his mother, and together the pair left by the same route as they always did. This time, though, they didn’t intend to come back...

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