Larson Academy is like no other place in the world. I would know; I spent six years of my life at the place. And I wasn't alone either: no, I had four impossibly annoying brothers to accompany me.
Larson Academy is an all boys school in New York, just outside of Saratoga Springs. It puts up a nice façade for potential students. All the buildings on campus are made from either white or black marble, depending. The outsides make it seem like you are in Washington D.C. or something, with the huge columns you have to walk through to get to the huge oaken doors of every building.
There are five main areas on campus. The northern sector contains the main school building, which we just call 'Main'. Then to the east is Wright House, the southeast is Tudor House, the southwest is Lancaster House, and the west is York House. There are also small gardens overflowing with flowers, and fountains, and stone walkways almost everywhere you turn. I guess it's a nice place. On the outside.
I would love to tell you that everyone is friends at Larson. That everyone always gets along, and we become a united front against the evils of the world outside of campus. But if I told you that, I would be lying worse than I have ever lied in my life, and trust me, I've lied a lot.
When Mr. Charles James Larson (great great grandfather of the celebrated American physicist, Dewey B. Larson, who worked on the Reciprocal System of Physical Theory) first founded the school in the late 1700s, he knew he would have to separate the students for them to find success among their peers. He created the names of the houses with thoughts still straying back to his home country, England. His saying was, "York, house of talents, Tudor, house that relents, Lancaster, house of achievements, and Wright, house of good intents." Undoubtedly, he thought that we would still be unified as a school, on which account, he was wrong.
When you first come to Larson, you are placed in a dorm that will most suit your talents and abilities, unless you are a day student, of course, and you don't board. Your placement determines a lot for the rest of your Larson career, and each house holds a very different group of boys.
York House, where I used to board, is the "House of Talents". We can all sing, dance, act, and play instruments. There are also other students who are talented in writing, and even a few who are talented in their various sports, though most sports-proficient students end up in Wright.
Tudor House, where one of my brothers boarded, is the "House that Relents". They are nicknamed this for their superb ability to keep the peace among themselves, and the other houses. They are very good at keeping everyone friendly with each other, and they are generally a nice, hardworking group of people, though they are normally overlooked. I honestly have no idea how my brother got in this house, as I assure you, he normally starts the fights.
Lancaster, where another one of my brothers boarded, is the "House of Achievements". Yeah, they are a group of smart overachievers. They would rather study and do homework than sleep or eat, and they are all obsessive about their grades and GPAs. They push themselves to the limit ALL THE TIME, and I've heard of dozens of kids suffering from nervous collapse. But no one can doubt they have the best grades in the Academy.
Wright House, where I believe all of my brothers could have been placed, but only one ever did, is the "House of Good Intents." I think old Charles must have been mistaken about that. We normally called it the "House of Torments", or something of the like. They are a crazy group of kids; literally insane, off the walls. They are talented as well, some in the arts like York kids, and many in sports, but there is just something about their lunatic tendencies that make them all Wrights. Maybe some of them have good intents, but I believe more of them have good aim.
And this is where Mr. Larson was wrong again. Almost none of us get along. Wright and Lancaster have the longest rivalry of us all, but no one can really remember why. It's more just a prejudice passed down the generations. And I suppose it's not hard to see why those two houses in particular despise each other; one is all about grades and school, and the other is all about having fun while you're still living. But even Tudor can hardly contain them when big fights break out between the two houses. I've seen many in my day.
And then, York doesn't like Wright either, much, and Lancaster doesn't really like York. There is a three way hatred between those houses, with Tudor usually pulled in the middle of it all by force.
And between these inter-house fights, crazy workloads of homework, revengeful teachers, scandalous relationships, stalkers, mysterious illnesses, and poisonings. . .well, I did say Larson was like no other place in the world. But that's not always a good thing.