As one might imagine, a magical world has many mysteries. Perhaps, as a result of this- of knowing that stories and rumors, no matter how fantastical might be true, the appetite both mages and Nom’s have for a new urban legend is enormous. The lower classes, both NoM’s and working class mages, were bereft of the currency to engage in the magical entertainment of the upper classes and without hope to ever reach those upper echelons, lacked the drive to do more than their menial jobs and then come home. Without internet, television, video games or any of their magical equivalents the one thing the masses had was time.
And what better to spend that time on then rumors and gossip about the elites? With great power and little responsibility compared to what someone from our technological world might expect from the leaders of society, in a world where might not only makes right, but is the only guarantor of rights, many a great magister played out their fantasies in the shadows of the towers.
Of course, it was not only the lesser masses who enjoyed knowledge of such things. The great, and their soon to be great progeny, were always on the lookout for bits of information and gossip. In their constant training and overwhelming schedules, the children of the elite and the talented looked to anything they could to loosen their muscles and relax and particularly juicy pieces of gossip would be wielded as knives by either them or their parents in the complex political games and power plays that made up their world.
In the crucible where raw mages of talent and privilege were transmuted into the magus and magisters of tomorrow, the University of Fudan, rumors flew faster and more often than magic, mysteries were constantly uncovered, explored, exposed and sometimes buried again, and many a mage found themselves embarrassed to the point they volunteered for the northern front and the undead hordes.
This is a collection of rumors and stories- minor in the grand scheme of things, but as eternal and prevalent as a Mythic Being and with occasionally as much capacity for destruction- from the University of Fudan and beyond. Stories that were told, or perhaps whispered behind palms, in the passing of great events, not quite forgotten, but often wished to be so by those involved.
----A Party of Princes---
*This takes place before Gwen meets Richard at Kwan’s party*
Richard stepped out of the car, his Senior throwing the keys to a NoM valet with practiced ease, and took a look at the mansion spread out in front of him. To say it was opulent would be an understatement, even compared to his father Kwan’s own mansion. However, Richard had to admit that his Senior’s family had better taste and it lacked the somewhat tacky feel that always pervaded something decorated by his father. Why his mother ever let the man choose anything was a mystery to Richard, and one he had given up ever trying to find out.
In contrast, the Anderton Mansion- to which his esteemed senior, Henry Anderton had invited him- was well designed, practically, magically, and appearance wise. It was built like many of the mansions in Old Britain, where to a colonial eye it might be hard to tell the difference between a home and a castle and was a stately affair that overlooked a broad green lawn that kept its color despite the brutal Australian sun that had shone down today, now finally setting against the horizon. Statues flanked the stair that led up to the grand double doors, and the whole building was lit with tasteful magic lights against the evening. The magical lights were bright enough to illuminate the area, but not so bright as to be jarring and bliding to the guests that were arriving.
“Your home is exceptional Senior Anderton,” Richard said, his face carefully set to show just the right mix of respect, excitement, and subservience. “I even thought we passed a minor shielding station at the gates!”
“A minor thing given my family’s connections to parliament, and there is no need for formalities tonight! This party is half to celebrate your success!” Henry Anderton brushed it off, slinging his arm around Richard’s shoulder as he guided the younger boy inside. “Just call me Ander here, and let me introduce you to the real Princes- the one behind the scenes, and those of us that will be the future leaders of society!”
“At least let me call you Senior Ander,” Richard countered with a smile. “Surely a man like you deserves that much from someone like me, who has gotten to where I am through as much luck as skill.”
“Nonsense! We are here to celebrate your new Undine familiar after all, no matter how much luck it might take to find one, it was your skill that bound it!”
Richard let Henry Anderton guide him up the long path and stairs to the double doors, which were opened by two well-dressed servents- mage guards, not NoMs- and never once let it cross his face or enter his tone that all he had was contempt for Senior Henry Anderton and the misplaced arrogance and pride the man-boy had.
Connections in Parliament? That statement almost made Richard laugh, despite how well he had schooled his face. The Andertons were distantly related to a minor lord in the British Parliament, it was true- that, plus the fact they were old money- had got Henry Anderton into Princes, where the man had demonstrated no talent besides his ability to make people think he was important and to throw his parents money around to buy off anyone who wasn't impressed by his distant relations.
There was a reason that the Anderton’s were in a frontier city like Sydney, and a reason they had nothing to do with anything important even here.
Despite that, Henry Anderton’s ability to make connections far outstripped his potential as a low tier Earthen Abjurer, and this party was a chance for Richard to make some connections of his own. If all went well, his hat would be in the ring for Praetor by the end of the night, and all he had to do was pretend he liked Anderton until then.
As he took a step across the threshold, the quiet Australian night was immediately drowned out by incredibly loud music and the understated and tasteful lighting visible from outside was replaced by dim magical lights in various colors that drifted around the rooms of the manor, creating patches of dancing purple and blue lights with shadows between them.
“And the benefit of having a minor shield is that the family abjurers can tune it to contain light and sound,” Anderton shouted over the music, a rather horrible American Pop song that was inexplicably all the rage at the moment. “No need to upset the neighbors and get the parents coming home early! Now come on, let me show you around!”
The stunned Richard was easily dragged out of the entryway and into a nearby sitting room, the stately furnishings had been shoved aside to make room for a platform, where the lights illuminated a woman who was dancing, and not really wearing very much at all!
Richard, as a healthy teenage boy, was hardly innocent. In fact, despite the masks he put on to fool his family and friends, he was well aware that he was deviant in a fair number of ways. But having been pulled out of the quiet night into a raucous party and having been stunned by the music and the transition, his mask slipped a bit and his eyes went wide at woman gyrating on the stage.
That she noticed his look and turned her ass towards him, teasing with a thumb the panties she wore by slightly pulling them down to give him a better view, before blowing him a kiss as the guys around roared in laughter.
Anderton grabbed a bottle from a passing waitress- whose dress was so short it was arguable whether or not it was a dress or a shirt- and pressed it into Richard’s hands. Richard was thankful for the excuse to take a moment to compose himself, and took a grateful swig, only to start coughing a moment later. He hadn't been expecting vodka! It wasn’t even the weak local kind, but an import from Russia- less a drink and more an alchemical concoction that burned like it was made by a magma mage as it went down!
There were more roars of laughter and calls for a toast to his new familiar, introductions were made, hands were shook, and connections established. The earlier teasing had not made the elite of Princes look down upon him so much as it had brought up their fond memories of when the class before them had first introduced each mage to the nightlife that being an elite allowed them to enjoy.
Of course, as he was brought alone to celebrate his new familiar and the power it would bring him, Lea, his Undine was brought out. Unfortunately, the atmosphere of the party was too much excitement for Lea to handle, and she was bouncing around, or rather splashing around, all over the place. Anderton didn’t care about the mess, his servants would clean it up later, and asked Richard to keep Lea out, and Richard, having had perhaps a bit too much of the vodka, couldn't think of a good reason to refuse.
As the guest of honor, and a somewhat innocent one that was amusing to tease, Richard was flanked by two of the women Anderton had hired wherever he went. Thankfully, these ones were dressed- if heels and a microdress with cuts to show their stomachs, backs, and generous cleavage counted as dressed- but between the alcohol, the stage where the first dancer was joined by another who had proceeded to pour out another bottle of vodka on the quite topless first and was now in the process of licking her clean again, the two pretty women on each side pressing their chests against him and with their hands resting on his lap distractingly close to his crotch, Richard missed the point when Lea joined the girls on stage.
For all it was a sentient creature, the Undine did not understand human society, or humans in general for that matter. Richard would spend weeks trying to explain it to his familiar, and months unsure what to do with the memory of the event, but the sight of a beautiful Undine licking a dripping trail of vodka from a stripper’s ankle, to the stripper’s crotch, and up the center of her chest, was something that would likely be burned, for good or ill, in his memory forever.
Hello! I am Vladerag the author of several stories here on Royal Road! I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading, and I hope you check out some of my stories!
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