Chapter 3- Brown Robes

Wren called goodbye and "Treia eren!" to Kiera and Melody, the last people remaining at her table. Hurrying out, she opened her journal and checked the front page. Four minutes after sunset. Would do. Hurrying into her dorm, she noted that neither of her two Beginner roommates were here. Just as good. She hated their wide-eyed wonder as they watched her.

With a purr of approval, she dumped the book-bag on her already messy bed and took off her brown robes, hanging them up carefully. Underneath, she wore linen trousers and a jerkin. Grabbing a hair-ribbon, she yanked her hair into a suitable ponytail and grabbed her journal, along with a portable ink and quill set.

Setting them in a pouch, she set out. A few shocked glances from the more proper Initiates met her attire as she walked through the halls, but she just grinned. She was used to it even without the trousers. Reaching the door to the extensive gardens, she started to jog, taking the long route around to keep her in shape.

She had a favorite place in the gardens already. It was a small, circular, flagstone area around a fountain, the flowers surrounding the oasis pure white. There were several benches, and one she had fallen in love with at first sight. The wooden slats were held in place by iron curlicues, and the rest of the ironwork was in the shape of vines and flowers.

The fountain itself was absolutely beautiful. It was white marble, and a stream of water poured from the jug on the top of the statue's head. The statue itself was a dancer, and in the abandon of grace that Wren saw in it, she found release. She herself loved to dance, and the way the woman or child in the statue threw herself to the air touched her.

As she slowed down and reached the courtyard, she was surprised to see a fireball hovering in the air near someone's head. Whoever it was wore blue robes and looked vaguely familiar.

At the sound of footsteps, he looked up in surprise, a shock of black hair falling into his face. She nodded her head to him. What was his name? He was at her table. The silent oneā€¦. ah yes, Daran.

"Hello, Daran," she said, smiling broadly. Daran nodded briefly in return.

"Hello, Wren," he said, cheerfully enough. She sensed the tension in his voice and decided to stick to tradition.

"Would it offend you for myself to be placed on that bench yonder?" she asked, in all the quaint etiquette and speech of the court. His eyes reflected surprise again.

"May it please your self to be placed on that bench yonder," he replied, continuing the stiff tradition. Wren giggled, and then glanced at him. He had frozen for a moment and then relaxed again, a soft smile on his face. So he wasn't mad.

"Sorry, but it just seemed so odd to be talking like that in Trian Academy," Wren said, biting off her smile.

"You did start it," he said, making it sound warm and teasing. Wren smiled gratefully.

"I know, I know. By the way, I'm Wren Eriasdaughter, and I'm 16. I'll be seventeen in Tain. On the 4th." He relaxed even more, his smile visibly strengthening.

"I'm Daran Carosson, also 16. 17 will be in a few cycles for me. The 26th of Kiera, for which your friend at our table is named. Very talkative girl, she is," he added, now happily grinning as he closed his book.

He doesn't miss much, she noted in amusement. "I love this part of the garden. Especially since all the flowers are white. There's narcissus," she continued, pointing into the darkness, "And lily-of-the-valley, and jasmine, and resa, and-" she paused in the middle of a sentence, looking sheepish. "I'm sorry. Am I boring you?"

"No. On the contrary, it's a pleasure to be talking to someone who apparently knows something of farming. Everyone else I've talked to seems to think that they should concentrate on their major only. And Serani, of course, won't talk to me about anything," he finished wryly. Wren laughed, the sound ringing out clearly in the still night air.

"Well, my mother was a flower fanatic, so I grew up grubbing in the ground. My favorites are jasmine and rose. What flowers do you like best?" she asked curiously.

"Well, I don't really know. My mother loves roses, and has a plot of them, and I do like them, but I like the lily-of-the-valley a lot too. And the Nymphania is gorgeous."

"It is very pretty, but really, I like-" and they were launched into a discussion of the various properties of flowers and other things. Finally there came a pause in the conversation.

"Well, I really should be going," Daran said. "Do you often come here at night?"

"Almost every night," said Wren solemnly.

"Well. I must make it a habit to come here more often," Daran said with a grin, then swung away. A faint "Treia eren," floated back on the wind to her ears.

Settling back on her bench, she brought out her quill and ink and dipped it in, touching it to the blotter. Her strokes were neat and perfectly formed, forming a regularity that followed itself like clockwork.

2nd Kiera, Year 2 of the Scarlet Years

Diary- Do you remember me talking about a silent boy at our table named Daran something or other? Well, I just met him in my sanctuary. He is truly a delightful conversationalist, and very good on herbals. He should be wearing green robes instead of blue! He is also an excellent debater.

She nibbled her fingernails for a little bit, debating before adding a last line.

He said he would return.

Closing up her diary, she returned the quill and ink set to its pouch and got up. Closing her eyes, she searched for the rhythm inside her and began to set it to music. Soon she was dancing in graceful abandon, every movement its own story. The tears of the ages were wrapped in her dance that night.

She slowed down and then stopped. Retrieving her journal and quill and ink set, she tucked them safely on and then set out, taking the long way round again. Reaching the dorms, she went to the showers first and took a cold shower, rinsing off and then drying. Humming a tune, she wandered back into her room and stopped.

On her bed was a stalk each of white rose, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, and Nymphania, tied with a single rich brown ribbon that contrasted with the whites and delicate pinks of the flowers. A small note was attached.

To a truly delightful lady, who I hope will become a friend. Daran. Touched, she smiled, slipping off the ribbon and placing the flowers into a vase she had brought along after discarding the old flowers and filling it with new water.

The ribbon and note in hand, she hesitated, then retrieved some paste and pasted the note into her journal, then placed the ribbon with the rest of her hair ribbons, just as Ilamna walked in. She was the most annoying of Wren's two roommates. She was human, tall, thin, and debonair, wearing the red robes, and seemed to delight in teasing Wren.

"Where'd you get that ribbon, Wren-den?" she said spitefully. Wren, unfortunately, blushed furiously at the girl's impudence. "Ooooh, Wren has a beau," Ilamna teased. Just then Irean walked in, a mixed elf who wore gray robes.

"Really?" she said absent-mindedly.

"Of course," said Ilamna, ignoring the quiet flexing of Wren's hands. "See the ribbon he gave her!"

She never saw what hit her. A moment later, Wren had her held by the collar and backed against the wall, revealing her canine teeth in a slow, feral grin.

"Take that back," she hissed.

"I take it back!" Ilamna panted painfully. Wren released her, watching in scorn as Ilamna staggered back.

"Never talk to anyone about that again. Got it? That goes for you, too, Irean," she snapped.

"Sure," they chorused together. Suddenly tired, Wren lay down on her bed.

"Crazy," whispered Ilamna.

"Fool," Wren returned sleepily as she turned over and fell asleep.

The moonlight poured through the open windows as slowly, the other two girls drifted off into the realm of Haren.

A normal night at Deepsea Circle.