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Greater Secrets

Greater Secrets

In the realm of Terrene, Aurelius Academy stands as the only school to groom young men and women to wield their arcane birthright. | accepting

4350 readers have visited this universe since maccotango created it. MaxwellH, and Soleli are listed as curators.
Topics: adventure, magic, original, and school (Add Tags »)
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Introduction



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In a time long past, there were gods that walked the land. Gods that governed over every aspect of life and fate, who held the answer to all the secrets of the universe. Most called it the age of prosperity. Conflict was nonexistent, death and disease but distant dreams. The land was rich, water sweet and food plentiful. Mankind was content to be guided by these holy beings, and all was at peace.

But peace is never meant to last, and the seed of greed planted in man's heart brought black clouds over the horizon. Desiring power, a cruel man wished to topple the gods and take their magic for himself, to rule over the lives and fates of others. In the stillness of the night, he spun a most devious plan. Arrogant belief urged him on, certain his rebellion would not be seen by fate.

Yet for all his confidence he forgot one important fact; the gods were omniscient. They'd long noticed the dark desire of betrayal, but could not believe it until that fateful night. Stunned by the greed and corruption in men, they were enraged by the hunger for power. Leaving for the heavens, the gods took paradise with them.

Dark ages fell upon Terrene. Men grew distrustful, confused by fate and afraid of the future. Without the guidance of the gods, they balked at change and failed to look within themselves for truth and kindness. Fear and confusion ran through the land, a world forsaken by the gods.

Men looked to the past once again, revering the gods of old; hoping and praying their desperate pleas might reach the heavens. Though mankind's betrayal still broke their hearts, the celestials took pity on the lambs they'd once carefully tended to. They sent magic and guidance down to one of their descendants, a demigod who was brave and just. The gods gave him their knowledge and blessed him with magic, so that he might lead humanity to prosperous ages once again.

The demigod was crowned as the first king of the land, and thereafter all his children were known as royalty. The aristocrats, who carried the blood of the gods, of the first human who was crowned worthy of heaven, were the only ones who held the key to magic. Each year they drew cards, designed in the image of the holy beings, to see which god deemed them as worthy to carry their magic.

However, if one holds the seed of greed in their heart and still wish to take the power of the gods, divine punishment shall befall upon them. They show no mercy on the descendants of the first man of evil, who cast mankind out of paradise.

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Mankind never forgot the gods' benevolence, the gift of magic being their greatest blessing. And so the aristocracy was chosen with care and breeding, only accepting into their blood those who were worthy of the honor. There is no greater service or bigger responsibility to the world than raising a child with the birthright of a god.

But even they knew that the world couldn't function when only a small handful held the keys to the arcane secrets. The masses could not be trusted with it; why else would the gods have only chosen one individual when they could've just as easily given it to all? In a process not dissimilar to selecting their spouse, they chose partners who would be willing to bear child and then part with him. It became the norm for many aristocratic families to raise children out of wedlock, with the purpose of grooming these children for service to their own family or to the kingdom.

Many saw these children as signs of greed; certain families turned their nose at the very presence of one. But it was difficult to deny that their existence lightened their load significantly; both magic and technology improved as the arcane became more accessible to the common folk.

The stigma remains however. Though these illegitimate children would be praised by the masses, when thrust into a society that far favors pure bloodlines, they are seen as nothing more than a means to an end. After all, no child of this nature had survived past the first three years of pulling a major arcana. It only showed that they simply did not have the same capacity as those who'd been fully accepted into the family.

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Aurelius Academy came to be when they realized the benefits of standardization in magic. It is one of the oldest institutions that continue to serve its original purpose until today. Funded by the donations of aristocrats and wealthy non-mages hoping to gain favor amongst them, it grooms young men and women of noble descent. Most of the classes are taught by lesser nobles, although they will take on more common folk for classes that do not require any magic to teach, such as mathematics and the early stages of language.

The city of Okvina is integrated into the Academy itself, with around 78% of the area belonging to scholastic pursuits. While the city and some academic rooms are accessible to the public, majority of the Academy is kept away from prying eyes. Glass, steel, wood and stone come together in an architectural style that speaks of both tradition and progress.

Within a month after a mage pulls their tarot, they are enrolled in the school and remain there until they complete all their required classes. Younger students, usually in the 8 to 11 range, have the option to be brought between home and school. However, it's an uncommon occurrence as most of Aurelius' students come from outside the city. Most opt to board within the Academy itself for convenience's sake. Class is in session most of the year, with short breaks and holidays spread throughout rather than long stretches of vacation.

Once a student graduates from the Academy, they can either pursue higher education or head straight into society, as there's always an opening for a graduate. There are very few instances of students being dropped from the program, the most likely cause being the instigator of major violence. Otherwise, most incidents are kept in the hush and down low; it's not that hard to do really, considering the fact the public knows little about what happens within its walls.

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The roleplay uses images from Wand of Fortune and Kokuchou no Psychedelica. Source details for individual characters will be found in their respective sheets. All resources used are attributed to their creators, inclusive of textures used in the making of graphics.

Edited graphics, layout, writing and bbcoding are credited to Greater Secret's GM and mods; namely maccotango, MaxwellH and Soleli. We polite but firmly insist that none of the elements seen here be reproduced without our permission.

Should you wish to borrow the CS or application code of this roleplay, please contact maccotango. While it's unlikely that she will accept (as she has a rule that layouts currently in active use not be distributed), she can point you towards some of her older works which you may be able to use.

For any questions and concerns, please contact GS' moderator team via PM or discord. Each mod has a certain area they cover, so it's best to direct your question to the relevant personnel. While we can all answer most questions to a certain extent, it would be much more efficient for everyone involved to go directly to the source.

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Rules

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CHARACTERS
Players are required to fill out an application form which discusses your character and their chosen representative card. Failure to comply with this will mean automatic rejection. We will acknowledge if we've read your application, but we will always leave a week period before we make a decision. This is to give a chance for others to contest you for the spot. Usual character rules apply otherwise. For more details, head over to the app thread.

OOC
Everyone is required to treat each other with respect, regardless of one's position within the roleplay. If any issues arise between players, flag one of us for attention. As GM's, we're obligated to cater to you... to a certain extent. If we make a decision you disagree with, this is often with the roleplay's best interests in mind and is not directed at you personally. We ask that you respect it when we put our foot down.

ACTIVITY
Should you fail to talk to us within a month, you're booted from the roleplay, no exceptions. We don't mind long absences so long as you keep us updated on your current status and know you're still in it. Likewise, should you no longer feel like participating, we want to be informed graciously instead of leaving us with question marks. We take more offence at being dropped like a hot potato than being told directly that you no long feel like you can commit to us.

INFORMATION
The GS team enjoys questions, as this helps us spot plotholes and discrepancies easier. However, we find it annoying if you ask questions about information that has already been covered in our index. This tells us that you're simply skimming through the work we've placed into this roleplay, and could paint you negatively when applications roll around. Please, before asking, check if the material has already been covered.

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Character Portrait: Leonexis Pier The Tower
Character Portrait: Aster Polonius The Sun
Character Portrait: Liliane Vidal Temperance
Character Portrait: Vincent Hamilton Seven of Wands
Character Portrait: Clause Acula
Clause Acula played by Soleli
Eight of pentacles
Character Portrait: Emilio Florentine The Hermit
Character Portrait: Nasrin Behzadi The Hierophant
Character Portrait: Troy Pendleton Ace of Swords
Character Portrait: Atticus Alethea
Atticus Alethea played by Birb
The Wheel of Fortune
Character Portrait: Ophelia Polonius Five of Cups
Character Portrait: Arte Khiefel
Arte Khiefel played by Nano
The Fool
Character Portrait: Lilina Ainsworth Page of Cups (Reversed)
Character Portrait: Charlotte Wynetta Page of Swords
Character Portrait: Alphonse Rue Ace of Cups
Character Portrait: Eirian Sauveterre Nine of Pentacles

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These poor, unfortunate souls were once a part of this great world, but have been abandoned. Why don't you consider viewing their profiles and making a decision on whether or not you can roleplay them accurately?


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BIAMC

The Academy is abuzz with excitement as the BIAMC begins. When the students are divided into four different groups, tensions come alight and the competition gets dirty. When it all cultivates in a battle royal, who will take the crown?

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Events

Soon™.

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aster Polonius Character Portrait: Ophelia Polonius Character Portrait: Lilina Ainsworth Character Portrait: Alphonse Rue
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Aster was feeling very much like a Mother hen as he watched over his hoard of team members, most of which were younger than he was. Liliana, one of the sole exceptions didn't instill him with the utmost confidence of a mature voice, so Aster took it upon himself to lead them the best he could. He didn't mind the least, being the eldest child of the Polonius family has instilled him with some sense of commitment to taking care of others, namely his two siblings that were both antisocial for the most part. Aster's efforts mainly came down to trying to get Emilio to get out of the house and make some friends, and coaxing ophie to open up a little more to others.

He managed to get Emilio to attend at the least, after counts of threats and desperate cajoling. Part of him knows that Emilio was simply going for the victory that he will henceforth never stop gloating about, but all in all he was just relieved that his adopted brother even made an effort to show up at group events. Vincent could handle him, Aster was certain. The seven of wands was a passive existence that while Aster can't wrap his mind around admired for being so very composed. If anyone could put up with the presence of Emilio in their group, it was him. Right now all he had to do was concentrate on the task before him, and if there was anything he gave himself credit for it was knocking down obstacles in his path.

Not that he was any good at plotting, that was more Emilio's trait, shrewd and cunning with an eye for detail. As far as Aster cared life was like a series of walls, obstacles to be busted down with the sheer force of positivity and a little elbow grease. The room of levers they were in was no exception. Without even giving a second thought to the repercussions, Aster pulled one down and waited. Nothing. He pulled down another. Still nothing. The room was unresponsive, without much changing around them, and Aster counted 16 levers altogether. He cast a glance around at his other teammates occupying the puzzle room, giving them a one shoulder shrug. "I don't think this is rigged, at least?" He offered. "If it was pick the right lever something should have happened by now. UNLESS, of course picking the wrong lever doesn't do anything to you! Hmm." Aster blinked at the roomful of levers pondering for a second before almost instantaneously turning back with an excited grin. "Hey, wanna pull all of them?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leonexis Pier Character Portrait: Vincent Hamilton Character Portrait: Emilio Florentine Character Portrait: Arte Khiefel
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While Leonexis was in no way naive, he was satisfied with his group's cooperation yesterday and had been looking forward to their performance during the event itself. The random room maze wasn't anything new to Aurelius, but the last time it had been performed was before he came into his school, and so only knew of it from hearsay from long-graduated students. However, the instructions left with them didn't seem hard, and the fact that everyone had arrived promptly left him with a positive impression.

The group moved along about 60% efficiently as it would have had they been halved in numbers, but he had a feeling that they were amongst the better performers today. He needed to present little input to get them moving along, only some gentle nudges here and there to spend less time celebrating and more time solving. Things were going rather well, the team cheering as yet another room was cleared. Things went awry in less than a second, the Tower seeing everything as if in slow motion.

Somewhere in the depths of his mind, Leo's sanity gave a cry of defeat as the pillar came crashing down. He gritted his teeth, reigning in the temper that rarely saw the light of day. Should one observe closely, they would see the force behind his smile and the way his fist tightened as if ready to raise it to someone's face. Thankfully, most were too busy playing the blame game or simply panicking to notice. It was almost comically appropriate how it had been two diluted bloods that had caused the entire mess. Leo immediately removed them from the running for the final event, though it's not as if he'd ever considered them in the first place.

With an uncharacteristically curt tone, he cut off whatever remaining accusations and apologies were being thrown about. The others looked to him with surprise, but understanding as the likeminded knew his frustration about the diluted. He could barely hear Vincent through the din, but obviously, he was one of the more reliable ones since he'd already crouched down to survey the damage. He cut through the crowd to join him. Though he hadn't heard what he'd said, Leo's reply was almost a direct answer to his statement.

"It'd probably be easiest and fastest if we rebuild the biggest pieces then fill in the blanks with a temporary material. We have enough mana to power it again, I'm sure."A slender hand briefly gestured towards the other majors in the room before he knelt beside Vincent. He picked up one of the largest chunks, studying the shape as he tried to recall all the past portals they'd gone through. Silver eyes perused the rune in his hand as he flipped through his mental library.

"The good news is, all the portals are based on the Academy's main teleportation portal, which we should all know." He looked expectantly at everyone; some nodded, others looked at him in confusion. It was a requirement for one of their basic classes to memorize the composition of the main magic circle in the center of the school. "The bad news is, there is at least one changed and two additional runes based on what I can see. The tricky part is finding the right order."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Liliane Vidal Character Portrait: Troy Pendleton Character Portrait: Atticus Alethea Character Portrait: Charlotte Wynetta
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While carefully munching through his sandwich, making sure to keep the crumbs from messing with his work, Atticus added the finishing touches to the last of the cards he planned on bringing with him today. He might act careless but even he hates it when a spell malfunctions because a bread crumb caused an awkward gap in carefully drawn out lines. And while he doesn’t particularly care for the current event, Atticus does want to test out a few new spells he learned. They were nothing really harmful, some of their effects were even encircled within a complimentary dampening rune chain, but every time he looked for willing participants they would just escape without even letting him finish asking the question. Honestly, this was why he had to resort to surprising people with pranks...before the school’s head of security “talked” to him anyway.

At the mere passing thought of Aurelius’ head of security, Atticus shivered as he finished off his breakfast and cleaned off his desk. There were just some toes you never want to step on. Even someone like Atticus learned to at least attempt to avoid having to confront the head of security like the plague. He definitely learned the hard way but he still learned. He was also still alive so Atticus just took it as a life experience he’d like to not repeat if possible.

Still, Atticus wondered, while packing away his cards into one of his pockets, if they were allowed to just...sit on a couch or something after finishing at least one or two tasks. The prize was honestly not worth the effort to try to win and he really didn’t feel like stroking his family’s ego by winning. He was fairly confident he could act difficult enough to have them lag behind. He only really need to test one or two spells after all.

Not that being late wasn’t being difficult already. Miss Leader was probably halfway ready to eat a hat, he mused as he took his time getting out of his room and locking the door behind him. Though his thoughts were promptly scattered when a sudden gust of wind caused his ponytail to lift and whip him in the face. It didn’t hurt but it was still sudden and bewildering enough for Atticus to take a few seconds to turn away from his door to stare at what looked like Miss Leader’s favorite victim rushing to the gymnasium (probably) for his life.

“Well, I guess this means I’m sufficiently late,” he hummed to himself as he pushed his hair behind him again. He brushed off the mild shock and just followed the other teen at a much more sedate pace.

...

Arriving a only few moments after the other teen due to the stairs slowing the other boy down, Atticus cheerily waved at the others as he let the door shut behind him. After pulling out his perfectly “legitimate” excuse for being late (like his non-existent cat interfering with his equally non-existent responsibilities), Atticus finally noticed the state of his fellow tardy teammate and blinked at what looked like leftover soap on the other boy’s person. ...Was he like that before he left the dorms or did someone leave a spell lying around for him to trip up? If it was a spell to last even running and climbing the stairs it must be a useful one. Maybe he can even make the bubbles larger and stickier? It would probably be easier for him to pull off with illusions rather than the elements, though...

Ohhh, this was going to be fun.

Thus, being the concerned and not at all scheming teammate he was, Atticus pushed down the eager curiosity that was threatening to bubble to the surface and pulled up his best “concerned well-meaning citizen” face. He gestured as he asked in his most sympathetic tones, “Are you alright there? You look like you went through a wringer.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aster Polonius Character Portrait: Ophelia Polonius Character Portrait: Lilina Ainsworth Character Portrait: Alphonse Rue
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Before arriving to the room of levers Lilina was unamused, to put it lightly. Aster - despite both himself and Lilina being the same age - took the unofficial leader position of the group while Lilina tailed behind. As much as she would like to tell Aster that she could take over however, Lilina admittedly knew it would only end in disaster. Under her charge the group would likely travel in circles, a result of her poor navigation skills. Thus she kept silent, allowing her group member temporarily lead the charge.

Entering their first room Lilina was already overwhelmed. Sixteen levers, all of them arranged in a neat row for the Cups to see. Each lever could have served their own separate purposes. One could represent a win, and one could go as far as to guarantee death. Narrowing her eyes at the levers she grew puzzled. There had to be a logical way to solve the puzzle, yet she couldn't see any clues. Lilina opened her mouth to ask if her fellow Cups had any ideas, yet just as her was about to produce a sound she heard a slide of a lever.

Lilina's head immediately shot to Aster. Pulling a random lever, Lilina expected something to happen, yet there was an eerie silence. "A-Aster..." she said in a barely audible, broken voice. Unless Aster had already solved the room - which she highly doubted - his act could have harmed them all.

Then another lever was pulled.

Lilina shut her eyes quickly, this time expecting a noticeable change or event to happen for sure, yet there was still silence. Slowly she opened her eyes again and Aster spoke.

"Hey, wanna pull all of them?" he suggested, to which Lilina loudly interrupted.

"NO!" she exclaimed, shaking her head furiously before calming. "One more random lever and it could've been the end of us..."

Lilina's voice trailed as she examined the wall of levers again. We've pulled on two levers but nothing's happened yet, but what does that mean... she thought. There was likely no meaning however. It could've been that it was a trial and error test and pulling on the right lever would lead them to victory. Though it could also be based on combinations; if there must be an order to which the levers were pulled in. Lilina didn't understand the puzzle, yet she understood that they shouldn't recklessly pull levers.

"Aster," she began in a scolding mom's tone, "We shouldn't pull random levers. There's obviously a pattern to all this - I'll show you. The solution is clearly....uhm..."

Lilina obviously didn't know the solution, and she was reminded of this again as the words came out of her mouth. She continued to stumble on her words, trying to find some sort of logical conclusion, or something to make herself sound intelligent - yet she had nothing. Instead, in a low mumble, she continued, "...we'll find it."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leonexis Pier Character Portrait: Vincent Hamilton Character Portrait: Emilio Florentine Character Portrait: Arte Khiefel
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For all the gusto that he had exhibited during his rush to the scene at the time of their little library meeting, Arte’s enthusiasm seemed to take a plummet from the moment he had stepped into the maze. With the numbers they had, the process was near autonomous; he had few places to step in. While he didn’t necessarily mind the luxury of taking it easy, only murmuring little suggestions and notes on the things he managed to catch (not that there were many) left his typically over-active self bored out of his mind. Even his roommate seemed to be facing a similar dilemma. Of course, it was plainly clear that said dilemma found its roots in an entirely separate reason from Arte’s.

When yet another puzzle was clicked into completion, Arte prepared himself for yet another round of bland applause and cheering. However, as all simple tasks go, nothing can be completed devoid of any complications whatsoever.

The moment the pillar came crashing down, the redhead’s lackadaisical expression briefly slipped into one of mild shock. However, rather than be consumed by the crowd’s panic (as per usual), he trailed after Vincent, taking in mind to tip-toe around the rubble. There was no way to restore the portal to its original state perfectly, but the last thing he wanted to do was to kick away any important pieces strewn about. Besides, at least now he had something to do rather than just sit around.

Vincent and Leo’s commentaries brought Arte’s attention towards themagical inscriptions in question. True to the Tower’s words, the portal they were looking at used a slightly different formula than the standard portals used around the school, though the majority was still based on the main. One of the stranger runes, however, tickled the back of his memory.

Pulling his phone out and into his view, Arte left a few taps and then swipes on the display to get to a particular rune that he’d happened to have saved. It only took another look at the broken pillar and back at his phone to confirm his suspicions. He’d forgotten what exactly he and Atty were experimenting on that they needed this particular rune for, but those were minor details. At least the knowledge came useful.

“This rune is typically placed second, so it’s probably safe to assume that the same would apply here...if I’m not mistaken?” He looked toward Vincent for any further clarification. Though, for once, the Fool was sure of the information, he did recognize that any possibility of error would put anyone on edge in this situation, not to mention, due to his nature, there were undoubtedly many who were skeptical of just about anything he said. In fact, he could feel those very stares at present.

Was he really always that unreliable?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leonexis Pier Character Portrait: Liliane Vidal Character Portrait: Vincent Hamilton Character Portrait: Emilio Florentine Character Portrait: Troy Pendleton Character Portrait: Atticus Alethea Character Portrait: Arte Khiefel Character Portrait: Charlotte Wynetta
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Vincent Hamilton
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Vincent only recognised the silence that came over the group when it allowed him to better focus on the matter at hand, briefly glancing over his shoulder to see what the sudden change in tone had been caused by. As Leo made his way over to investigate the damage with him, it seemed the boy was in agreement with his basic summation of the situation; though it seemed he was more in favour of repair the damage rather than starting from scratch. Taking one of the larger chunks in hand, Vincent set about infusing it with some of his personal magic, having it sit in midair at an appropriate height. From there, he could continue doing so for each piece until they had the shape roughly completed, then it would be a matter of repairing the rune damage and getting it to stay together once it was completed.

While Vincent had been working on this, Leo seemed to have been further investigating the root origin of the runework, which was unsurprisingly based around the standard portal rune at the academy – Albeit, with some modifications. Still, his insight into the quantity and number of changes was invaluable, and it did feel better to have another working on a different aspect of their self-imposed puzzle. At present, Vincent was simply connecting what obvious pieces he could, typically the larger ones given the nature of the fractures or breaks. In addition, the outer pieces were smooth and flat, leading to a simple process of elimination to determine which of the 6 sides they belonged to. That said, there was plenty of rubble and pieces that would not be suitable to replace into the pillar, so substitutes would be necessary at some point.

“This rune is typically placed second, so it’s probably safe to assume that the same would apply here...if I’m not mistaken?” Recognising Khiefal’s voice, as well as the rising tone that indicated a question, Vincent looked up from his current work. Meeting the boy’s gaze, he found a replica image of a rune printed onto his phone, Arte allowing Vincent to observe the finer intricacies.. Hmm, perhaps that could be useful. It certainly seemed to match one of the runes over the pillar when he overlayed it in his mind. Judging by the ligatures and loops present, it appeared to be a modification rune of some kind, which would follow along cleanly with Arte’s declaration that it was a secondary rune rather than the primary conduit. Nodding, Vincent decided to air his agreement.

“It seems like a sound conclusion, and having that as a point of reference will make replicating the rune simple enough. If we can identify the remaining changes to the rune, we’ll simply need some material to hold this pillar together. I should be capable of tracing the runes onto it when we achieve that.” Vincent declared with some degree of confidence. Though he specialised in healing magic, it was important to understand the fundamentals of medicine in addition to the runes used for healing. It was pointless to cure a dying man’s cold, or heal over a wound that was infected. As such, Vincent was capable of a magic used for precise incisions for surgical efforts, along with the steady hands to utilise such an ability. Needless to say, his knack for details and regal penmanship was more than capable of replicating a rune by eye.

Stepping back from the pillar, Vincent gestured on the progress he’d made in reassembling it, gesturing to a few main points. “This obviously matches with the standard Rune that Leo explained to each of you, while this area here belongs to Arte’s suggestion. This leaves these two areas here to identify, though with the gaps, It’s a little hard to envision their final form…” Vincent trailed off as he began scrutinising the shapes and scanning his memory. “If we can identify the properties of the portals we’ve used thus far, that might help us identify what further modifications – and therefore, what runes – we are missing.”



Charlotte Wynetta
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Charlotte literally jumped when she heard the door clang open, whirling in place and clapping her hands together as she recognised one of the most crucial members of her team. Of course she was here! How could she have doubted the Majors? Likely they were making her wait for dramatic effect and testing her loyalty! My, Liliane and Atticus sure were shrewd people, but Charlotte herself was quite the astute judge of character herself. Heels clacking on the polished floor as she made her way over, Charlotte more carefully decided to stop in front of Liliane and greet her less intimately given their last experience.

“Hey there, I’m here now. Sorry about the lateness I think I caught Atty’s allergies.” Liliane mumbled as Charlotte made her approach, laughing to herself as she closed the gap to a short foot and gesturing to herself warmly. “Liliane, darling, think nothing of it! I do hope you’ve recovered for the competition, but rest assured I will do my utmost to ensure both your comfort and freedom to solve the dastardly maze that has been set upon us. I have no doubt you and Atticus have been studying fervently for this occasion, possibly to the detriment of your sleep and health, but do know that I appreciate you doing your all for this team.” Charlotte beamed, the idea of being this closely associated with one of the school’s finest was a huge boost to her mood. And ego.

“Speaking of Atticus, I’m surprised you two aren’t together. Pray tell, perhaps you’re aware of his current whereabouts?” Charlotte queried as she lead Liliane over towards the main doors and the seating in the corner. Of course, the opportunity to speak in private with Liliane wouldn’t last as they were rudely interrupted by loud, thudding footsteps followed by a cacophonous crash as the side door was thrown open with such force it hit the inner wall and rebounded back into the person who’d opened it – though the imbecile didn’t seem to mind. Charlotte gritted and grinded her teeth as she watched Troy make his clumsy approach.

“Troy…” Charlotte elongated his name awkwardly as he came into earshot, stressing it far more than was necessary. “How nice to-“ Charlotte froze up as she was interrupted – AGAIN – though this time, by his horrible coughing. Reflexively, her eye twitched as she felt an uncomfortable spray hit her face before he had the decency to cover his mouth and wheeze into his sleeve. Unintentionally, she felt her hands make a wringing motion before she retrieved a handkerchief from her pocket, flicking it out once before wiping her own face. Vaguely, she could hear him mumbling some apologies regarding their previous meeting, claiming it to be for Ms. Liliane’s sake. Moving to return the pink cloth to her pocket, Charlotte returned to her superior and noble disposition for a moment, before giving Troy the sweetest wicked smile she could muster.

“You should be very thankful Ms. Liliane is here to forgive your mistakes. Most people are not so gracious.” Charlotte shot her sharpest glare as she finished her statement, completely out of eyeshot of Liliane as she stepped forward towards Troy. The implications of her words and expression said it all. She had certainly not forgiven him. Still, there were far more important matters than simply dealing with Mr. Pendleton. Atticus had slipped in behind the young man, and made apologies involving a family pet, to which Charlotte could only smile and nod. Pets were an important show of responsibility, and this simply showed Atticus’ dedication towards helping those most in need. Truly, he was a generous soul. Still, rather than consult with Charlotte on a plan or get the team in motion towards the entrance, he began making conversation with that nitwit of all people!

”Atticus, dear,” Charlotte unceremoniously pushed Troy out of the boy’s line of sight and stepped into it, interrupting whatever response he planned on giving. “Should we not forge on into the trials and save the socialising for our celebration party? After all, we…” Charlotte paused midsentence as she retrieved her arm. Why was it wet? Not wanting to think about that prospect any further, Charlotte merely held her arm at an awkward length away from her body as she walked back towards the portal behind them. “I understand your confidence and graciousness in giving us a handicap so that the other teams have more of a sporting chance, but 10 minutes headstart is more than enough. Shall we begin?” Retrieving her handkerchief again with her clean hand, Charlotte began wiping down the soiled one, before graciously bowing aside and letting the majors lead the way. Then, she cut in before Troy before stepping into the portal herself.

As soon as they arrived on the other side, orders were already flowing from Charlotte’s mouth. “Okay team, let’s fan out and see what we have to work with. Troy, since you and I can’t compare to our fine colleagues, you can come with me to investigate this side, while Atticus and Liliane can explore the front and right side of the room.” Making her way over to the left, Charlotte was at least temporarily oblivious to whether anyone actually listened to her as she made her way to the west wall. Still, the team was together and had started. Nothing could stop them now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aster Polonius Character Portrait: Ophelia Polonius Character Portrait: Lilina Ainsworth Character Portrait: Alphonse Rue
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Levers, why were there so many levers? Ophie looked toward her tower of a brother, he wouldn’t even be able to reach the ones on the ceiling. Ceiling levers. This nonsensical but otherwise unremarkable room was reminiscent of a nightmare.

It was all rather overwhelming. With no sense of what each one did the idea of using one was horrifying. Merely opening a door was an ordeal and now there was sixteen consecutive unknown outcomes. Of course Aster a couple with reckless abandon to no repercussion. Being in a group came with some comforts, mostly that she could slink into the shadows and try to coast along with them

Ophie nearly laughed to herself, like Aster would ever let her get away without participating. Can’t run to the shadows with a beam of light will chase you down. Using her brother as shield this room would be a piece of cake, she’d muster up some confidence and

“NO!”

Get a fright, scurrying behind her brother. It was just Lilina, who was apparently loud. And saying one more lever could end them. End them? Ophelia began to feel light headed, what did Lilina know that she didn’t?! Lilina sounded so confident and had enough bravado to match Aster in size.

Ophelia tugged her brothers shirt, begging him to lean down so he could hear her meager voice. “What happens if we pull the levers? Did it when you did hurt? Do we lose? If we lose do we get scolded? Will dad be upset? Will we get kicked out of school?”

She probably would have kept going and pulling worries thin despAIR, however this amount level of worry had physical effect. Ophie felt like she was gonna retch into her brothers face if she kept going. Shaking her head and whispering a nevermind, and walking a short distance away to pretend and examine a lever.

For a reason she couldn’t understand, she automatically started breathing deeply. Her very body trying to force her to calm down. It worked, even if vaguely, and with her nerves calming Ophelia checked what Watcher was up to. Staring directly at her with his horrifying unblinking eye, regular stuff.

Once she made eye contact he looked at the lever, then back at her, and so on. The constant looking back and forth reminded her of a funny commercial she saw a few years ago. Even if he was being amusing, feeling comfortable around the creepy eye that follows you all the time was hard.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Aster Polonius Character Portrait: Ophelia Polonius Character Portrait: Lilina Ainsworth Character Portrait: Alphonse Rue
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The novelty of BIAMC had yet to wear off for Alphonse, who'd excitedly greeted Aster when he'd come by his dorm room to pick the blond boy up. Unlike the others in the group who were obviously being dragged along his pace, Alphonse matched his excitement perfectly. The energy the two possessed did not, unfortunately, prove infectious, but it kept their group from being too gloomy.

As they entered the room, it became painfully clear that this was not going to be an easy puzzle. There were numerous levers in various corners of the room, two even on the ceiling, and there weren't any obvious clues as to what order to push them. As he was about to pull the lever nearest, Aster beat him to the punch. Alphonse was about to pull another in response to his question when Lilina's sudden outburst made him pull his hand away as if scalded by the object.

Alphonse looked to Aster for guidance, around the same time Ophelia looked to her brother for reassurance. The more words he heard come out of her mouth, the more frightened he became. "Aster... none of what she's saying is true right?" Blue gray eyes stared up at him, but then soon looked to Ophelia once again as she quietly stopped herself from saying anymore and walked away from the group. His worry was quickly replaced by curiosity when she began getting into a staring contest with the air after studying the lever.

Pulling away from Aster, the blonde approached Ophelia, unknowingly walking right through Walker.
"Ophelia?" He waved a hand in front her face, trying to detract her attention from whatever she'd been staring it. "What are you staring at?" An eyebrow rose in question, but he shrugged it off in favor of the currently more pressing matter. "Do you think we should pull this lever? You've been staring at it for a while now." The ten year old smiled, bringing his voice lower so the others wouldn't overhear. "I'll pull it, and if it's wrong, I'll say it's my fault." Without waiting for her response, he waved at everyone to look his way.

"Guys, I'm going to pull this lever. I have a good feeling about it!" Someone gasped in shock at his audacity, but Alphonse was simply too excited to get them rolling. The moment he brought it down, something did happen. All the other levers in the room reset, which was progress compared to earlier's nonreaction. "Huh, that did do something. Good job, Ophelia."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Leonexis Pier Character Portrait: Vincent Hamilton Character Portrait: Emilio Florentine Character Portrait: Arte Khiefel
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They'd made a lot of progress on the portal's reconstruction, but lost precious time doing so. Not that he could blame them; he could at least acknowledge that Vincent's rune recreation was twice as fast as his own would have been. The Tower found himself skeptical at Arte's suggestion, but was mildly assuaged by the other's confirmation. He knew Vincent was an excellent student, and the rune that they both spoke of was one he wasn't familiar with, which irked him. Instead of complaining, he committed it to memory to learn at a later date.

With the almost complete rune circle in front of them, Leonexis tried to remember the past couple of portals that they'd gone through. Studying the rubble, he bent down to pick up a piece that held a small section of the rune. Gray eyes lit with triumph as it hit. "This part," A slender hand points to one a section that looks like an amalgamation of different runes. "These are 'choices', or possibilities of where the portal will bring us to. In the normal school portal, this missing area is the part that allows us to choose where we go to. But with the way these portals are operating..."

A quick search around the vicinity nets him two pieces of paper, which he infuses with magic to fill the two gaps. With the fire basics he'd learnt, he inscribes a rune onto one piece of paper. "This first one gap has a rune for fate, which in layman's terms means random." He again burns another rune onto the second paper. "The next 'statement' in the circle asks if the other end of the portal is open or not; it's taught to us in abjuration for security purposes. Let's see if we got it right."

The rune circle lights up in gold, indicating a successful mana channel. "Hopefully we got it right." He didn't add that if they got it wrong, who knew where they'd end up. He let others take the lead first, not because he wasn't sure, although that was part of it, but because he was forced to be support the circle up until the last person got through, which would be himself.

As everyone gave a mild cheer of success, some even giving the three main problem solvers pats on the back, they went through the portal one by one. As the second to the last person came through, Leonexis practically made a run for it, holding the magic as long as he could before passing through to the other side. A quick mental check of his body reveal no missing limbs, and so he opened his eyes to inspect their new puzzle room.

The sight that greeted him was not reassuring. Everyone was at a certain degree of panic, with some even straight up yelling. As he tried to speak to call their attention and calm everyone down, he realized one very distressing fact.

He couldn't make a single sound.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Leonexis Pier Character Portrait: Vincent Hamilton Character Portrait: Emilio Florentine Character Portrait: Arte Khiefel
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Emilio Florentine


Barely thirty minutes into the competition, Emilio was honestly getting rather sick of the event, despite the fact that it'd only just began. The noise level in the room had reached levels far beyond unbearable long ago, he was losing sense of time and spatial awareness, and the pure concentrated amount of brain dead sheep present in the room was suffocating, to say the least. It was a good thing that no one was paying him much attention, because Emilio was wilting in the chaos. Leaning lightly against a wall for support, Emilio closed his eyes and willed himself to count to ten. Someone stepped on his left foot with no small amount of force, and Emilio forced in a breath. The more competent of his teammates were gathered across the room, and had Emilio been feeling any less faint from being stuck in the room with idiots he might have tried to make his way across to volunteer to help. They were losing precious time, and even Emilio was willing to have to actually carry out teamwork for once than to fall behind on the competition. God forbid, if someone like Aster ended up taking home the trophy instead of him because of his team's utter incompetence, there will be blood.

A cheer went up around the room, and it was the most welcome sound in the world then. Sure enough, the masses of people started clearing out of the room through the portal, and Emilio could have cried with relief now that existing was no longer a chore. Straightening himself up, he made his way to the back of the crowd and took his time meandering in the back, trying to get some air before he's locked into the other room once more.

Finally making his way up to the portal, Emilio stepped through the ring feeling as prepared as he could be. He was feeling much better now that the his head was cleared, and he decided that he would offer as much assistance as needed to get himself (and the group, but they don't really matter) out of the maze as possible. Anything for a swift victory. Wars, after all, weren't fought by picking your allies based on your likings.

Then, the situation managed to go to hell in less than three seconds flat.

The world was suddenly thrown into pitch darkness, and Emilio flailed from the sudden loss of sight and almost lost his balance. His head started buzzing, and not only because he felt like he was about to lose consciousness again. Oh, this was bad. Somehow, by some cursed fate, the situation was even worse that it was before. The screaming had gotten louder. Someone was crying. Emilio's loss of sight resulted unfortunately in all other senses becoming more acute, and the din in the room was amplified tenfold and reverberated back to him like a plague. Hell, he felt like crying at this point of time.

Stifling his own despair, Emilio began making his way around the room, groping blindly and pushing away whoever was in front of him. Hamilton and Pier were bound to be somewhere close, since they'd passed through the portal last. He needed to get to the only competent people in the room so they could figure out a way to get out of this wretched maze, and if it meant stepping on a few unfortunate Wands, then so be it.

"Hamilton," he barked out, ignoring how his voice wavered and the desperate tinge lacing his tone. "Pier, where the hell are you?!"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Liliane Vidal Character Portrait: Troy Pendleton Character Portrait: Atticus Alethea Character Portrait: Charlotte Wynetta
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Blonde leader girl sure had a nice voice, mayhaps a bit too loud. She was like a golden retriever, just yapping and trying to get real close to everyone. Really friendly and forgiving. Probably. She didn't seem mad so whatever was being said could be friendly. Liliane mentally smacked herself, opening her eyes wide. It was time to try and actually pay attention to blonde leader girl and not imagine how cute of a dog she would be.

But she totally would be an adorable dog. A really accessorized dog, pilot goggles were the best accessory. No matter species they made someone dashing. Lili pondered for a moment if she had any pilot goggles and if blonde leader girl would agree to wear them. Only one way to find out if she would wear them.

Liliane posed to ask but was taken aback when a bubbly boy was also there. A large boy who smelled like shampoo and was coughing like he just ate it. That was team member... Trent? Troy? Troy. Liliane whispered the name to herself three times, a secret technique to aid in remembering basic facts.

Oh, a familiar voice? Had Atty finally dragged himself in? Lili beamed with joy when gazing upon a familiar face, slowly drifting toward him with open arms.

"Atty~ come here and let me try and warm up that cold heart." Not that the boy had much choice, she basically lunged at him. Latching on tightly like a shipwreck survivor to driftwood. Given the energy of friendship, she managed to listen to golden retriever for once. Getting the show of the road was probably a good idea, but... confidence? Lili looked up to Atty's face "Does she not know how I performed in prior years?"

Deciding Atty probably didn't want to drag her through the portal, Liliane released him. For now. Golden retriever was nice enough to let them through first, no reason to be rude. Once in the plan was set, team member Troy and golden retriever take one side and Lili gets to slack on the other. As far was she was concerned it was a perfect plan. Perhaps she would humor this and try the room out.

Doubtful.

"C'mon Atty, bosses orders. You're a smart kid, impress me." Lili smirked a him, while lumbering off to their half of the room. She took a moment to examine the room, and a moment was all she needed. It was a block sliding puzzle, these things were awful. Liliane would put in the most effort she cared to do, reaching into a deep pocket and pulling a small metal toy out. It was a cute little figurine she made as a child to practice metal working.

On the back of the little metal boy was her rune for temperance, which was soon receiving mana. "Alright little buddy, your orders are to help Atty and the others solve the puzzle." The small metal boy was no more then a few inches tall, completely unsuited for the task. Not to mention she was fully aware the sentience granted to it was far to simple for puzzle solving. Ah well, it would help more then her when taking a seat on the floor seemed so darn appealing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Leonexis Pier Character Portrait: Liliane Vidal Character Portrait: Vincent Hamilton Character Portrait: Emilio Florentine Character Portrait: Troy Pendleton Character Portrait: Atticus Alethea Character Portrait: Arte Khiefel Character Portrait: Charlotte Wynetta
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Vincent Hamilton
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As Leo placed the final piece of the puzzle into place, the group was greeted with a pleasing glow that showed the rune resonating with the Tower’s mana flow. It wasn’t a guarantee that they were correct, but Vincent was confident in his own work at the least. That aside, surely the faculty would interfere if they were about to do something either dangerous or against the rules of the competition. Somehow, he felt creating their own rune portal to leave the maze was against the spirit of things. A few congratulations went around, to which Vincent cordially and modestly waved off as being simple deduction, gesturing the group to continue rather than lollygag about. After all, this was an unintended diversion; they’d wasted enough time as it was, and it would be particularly stinging to find out they were slower than another group thanks to this setback.

Calmly and confidently stepping through the portal, Vincent’s first instinct when entering the new room was the same as all those previous. That being, immediately look for anything notable to determine the dimensions of the puzzle or task they had been set. Immediately moving over to a nearby wall, he could faintly make out what seemed to be symbols burned into the wall, perhaps a code of some sort? Bringing his hand up to touch the stone wall, the most perplexing thing was the lack of temperature or anything to the material. Odd, perhaps that would contribute to the solution of the room? Thinking on it a moment, the shouts and other noises behind him finally were becoming obnoxious enough that he couldn’t really ignore them, and Vincent turned to try and see what exactly was causing such a commotion. Hopefully not another broken pillar.

The chaos Vincent observed was… Well, discouraging. No matter what was happening, why were some of them stumbling around like idiots? And why hadn’t anyone stopped them yet? Peculiar. It was true what they said about people. A person could be rational, but something was clearly driving some of them in the room to act strangely, and that was causing quite a bit of panic. Even Leo, one that Vincent felt was fairly steadfast in most situations had a gaunt look on his face. As he planned to try and make his way to ask just what was happening, Emilio made his overbearing presence known; though amusingly, it seemed he was after his help. Observing the way that he seemed to be fumbling about and waving his arms in front of him, it didn’t take a genius to realise that he perhaps couldn’t see. In fact, that might have been the case for a lot of the other people around the room, though maybe if they weren’t panicking so much they would have thought to stand still a long time ago. Still, why only a few of them? It was far too simple that just a handful of them couldn’t see, there had to be more to it.

Finally making his way back to Leo, Vincent posed a question, ignoring Emilio’s plight for the moment. “Tell me Leo, what do you make of this?”

After an uncomfortable period of silence where Leo mouthed a few choice words, it became that much clearer the problem plaguing this room. Unfortunate that Leo couldn’t speak, but that simply meant that once again, Vincent would have to try and take charge. As far as he could tell, he didn’t seem handicapped at all, though there was likely some aspect he was missing. Turning towards the group at large, he raised his voice, assuming some of them wouldn’t be able to hear him, but hoping that herd mentality would get everyone under control.

“Alright, everyone, calm down, and stand still. Anyone that can’t see, take a seat on the floor. You’re probably not going to be much help. Anyone who can’t speak, make your way to the wall on my right side. Everyone remaining, who can hear me, make your way to the left wall. Those that aren’t reacting should be those who cannot hear, and I’ll see if I can gesture them to go to the far wall.” Doing his best to take charge of the situation, for the most part, it seemed his plan was going to order as people got into position. Once everyone was settled, he’d see if he could just get them to wait patiently while he worked on a solution. Moving up to start pushing those that hadn’t heard his announcement to another wall, Vincent became dimly aware that he lacked a sense of touch. Arguably, almost the least valuable sense in this sort of situation. Those without smell were probably the best off. Still, no doubt each sense would be pivotal to some part of this puzzle… Perhaps they needed to identify a scent, touch, sight, sound and then relay that to something in the room? A solid working theory, but he’d need to do a bit more exploring before settling into anything concrete…



Charlotte Wynetta
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“Well, I’ve surveyed this side of the room completely, and I’m confident that the only thing of use over here is myself.” Charlotte gave a coy laugh as if joking, but it was anything but. Sure enough, the walls and floor on the side she had chosen were bare and useless, other than the gate that would form a portal upon their completion of the room’s challenge. “Still, we should be thorough in our search. Pendleton, make yourself useful and scour every inch of this side of the room. I will attend to Atticus and Liliane and ensure that they are completely comfortable and empowered to solve this room. Do not interrupt them with any of your inane babble; we cannot afford to sidetrack them and fall behind our goal of perfection. Simply remain here and stay out of the way.”

Dusting off her hands and content that Troy was at least for the moment, disposed of, Charlotte moved to check on the Majors at work. Immediately, she was impressed;the two staring at a block puzzle on the wall. A simple, sliding, child’s toy; and no doubt they were seconds away from a series of precise movements to reach the solution. In fact, Liliane had prepared some sort of tiny servant to perhaps do the job for her? Or maybe it was analysing all the possible combinations for the quickest solution. Oh my, the Majors really were miles above the rank-and-file. Clasping her hands together, Charlotte stepped up behind the two. “Excellent, wonderful, I see you’re both hard at work solving the puzzle. I imagine you’re moments away from having us move on, so I suppose I won’t make myself comfortable. Really, you two are quite incredible; I knew I was right to rely on you two.” Smiling pleasantly, this puzzle was likely going to be a wake-up call for Charlotte, but for now, she was still in ignorant bliss.

Greater Secrets: Out Of Character (OOC)

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