Set near the entrance to the campus, the Avel’lier dorms were a loosely spaced cluster of six buildings. They were separated into two sets, three for women and three for men, and despite being considered dorms, they were, for all intents and purposes, more like small apartment buildings. Avel’lier might have claimed not to care about the status of their students, but they were still a school that catered to nobility, and the dorms were built to reflect that.

The buildings themselves, like most of the school, were on the older side, but unlike the stark, sturdy buildings used for the classrooms, the dorms were far more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The four story buildings were built in a pale stone that was glossy as if it had been recently polished, and decorated with gargoyles and buttresses in the style of Marquest’s earliest architecture. The supports were purely decorative, the buildings supported by the Althier strengthened beams running through them.

Tavia’s dorm was on the second floor, easy enough to get to if she followed the stairs in the entrance and turned left down the wooden floored hallway. The building itself was old, but the security was state of the art. Most of the doors were locked with aura detecting sensors. A simple tap on the grayish material beside the door would be enough to lock or unlock it as the sensor used the unique aura of the occupant to determine identity. In Tavia’s case though, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t use one of those voided locks. No aura meant there was nothing for the locks to sense and they wouldn’t open. That was why her room, fourth door from the stairs, used an old fashioned key. It was something even she could use, and though it was a hassle for her roommate, Tavia couldn’t really compromise on it.

As she unlocked the door and slipped inside, closing the door with a firm click behind her, the tense voices of two people reached her ears.

“I mean it’s not a big deal, right?” a cheerful voice was asking.

“I just— um…” the second voice was Evos, sounding as if he was far out of his depth in handling Tavia’s roommate.

Tavia paused by the door, curious to hear what they had been talking about, but Evos’s distraught voice was a little too pitiable to just ignore. Normally Audri just ignored Evos, but that was usually when Tavia was around. Left alone together, it wasn’t really a surprise that the loquacious Audri would strike up a conversation with the far less so Evos. Tavia hid her smile as she stepped way from the door and entered the dorm.

Though the school stipulated two people per room, the dorm rooms were more like small apartments than shared bedrooms. Replete with a kitchen, living area, and separate bedrooms, the dorms were built with the comfort of the often noble-born students in mind. The entire room was still smaller than the one Tavia had to herself back at the Renegarde mansion, but there was no comparing the two when it came to which one she preferred. A garbage bin would have been an improvement over that place.

From Tavia’s perspective standing before the door, the kitchen was on her immediate left, the small nook containing everything a kitchen needed to function. To her right, the dorm opened out into a small sitting area with a sofa and two worn arm chairs. The furniture had come with the room, and had clearly seen better days from the stains and scuffs on the grayish-green fabric.

Other than in the kitchen and dining area, the floor was covered in a tan carpet, worn down from the students who’d occupied this room before them. A vid-screen hung on the wall in front of the sofa, currently showing some news about a museum exhibit as Evos tried to watch while seated on the couch.

Though he was the one watching it, Evos didn’t have a vox of his own he could use to turn on the vid-screen and connect it to the corvex. In which case, Audri must have taken pity on him and turned it on for him.

Across from the seating area, and after the kitchen, the small dining area held a round table and four chairs that were currently submerged under a mess of papers and books. The majority of them were Audri’s, but if Tavia looked carefully, there was a small section of the table where Audri had shoved Tavia’s things while she spread out across the rest of the space. At the moment, Audri was seated at the table, a book open before her, but her gaze was focused on Evos as he tried to ignore her.

At the far end of the room were three doors. The middle one led to their shared bathroom, and the door on the right was Tavia’s bedroom, and the door on the left was Audri’s. The rooms weren’t very large, but they were private, something Tavia had never realized she would value as much as she did.

Despite living in the dorm for a little over a month now, Tavia hadn’t made much of an impact on the place. Audri had come with a collection of gauntlets she hung on the walls and trophies she had proudly lined up on the shelves from tournaments she’d been in. It wasn’t necessarily that Tavia didn’t want to do her fair share of decorating, she just didn’t have much to decorate with. Her own belongings were back hom— at that place, and she wasn’t going back for them at this point.

“Enjoying your chat?” Tavia asked as one set of alarmed eyes and one set of amused eyes turned towards her.

Audri was taller than Tavia by a few inches, and every inch of her body was in perfect shape. She was a Martial excelling in hand to hand combat, an odd choice, but Tavia had seen Audri fight before, and she wasn’t any kind of slouch. Audri’s straight blonde hair was almost always tied back, and at the moment, it was bound in a loose braid that lay over her shoulder. Her eyes were a brilliant blue, and, like always, seemed to find something about the situation amusing.

“I was just trying to get Evos to tell me about himself,” Audri said. “He’s too shy though and won’t tell me anything.”

A glance at Evos told her that was exactly the case. He didn’t try to deny it, but his discomfort was obvious even after only looking at him. He stared at Tavia, his silver eyes wide and pleading, as if begging her to save him.

A note from GracelessLiar

Wow, hard to believe we're already 12 chapters in! The Ageless Sword is going to be hitting 100k words sometime in the next couple of weeks. It's not a particularly grand milestone, but I think it's something to be proud of.

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