Chapter 5: What A View!

As soon as they entered the corridor, Harper walked over to the windows and let out an excited exclamation, “Look at this, surely this stuff isn’t just outside the dorm?” Kason ran over to join Harper by the window and promptly let out his own gasp of astonishment.

Outside, there was a stretch of neatly cut grass reaching between twenty and thirty meters away from the base of the wall. Past that, rising out of the lawn like a wave from the sea, trees upreared their canopies of emerald leaves, getting progressively taller as they went deeper into the mass of trees.

“It goes on forever!” Harper breathed in awe, “Just look at the size of some of them.”

There were indeed some behemoths deep in the forest, rising hundreds of meters into the sky, gnarled trunks twisting and turning in ways that no tree ought to. The whole place looked majestic, bathed in moonlight, shadowy shapes flitting about under the canopy and across the tops of the trees, glowing bugs rose slowly through the net of leaves, shifting erratically in the night breeze. Brent, who had been walking down the corridor, turned to look out of the windows when he heard the exclamations of the two.

He gave an appreciative sigh, “Looks like you guys got lucky with the view.”

“What do you mean by lucky?” asked Harper, “Surely it’s always like this.”

“Ah, well, not always. You see, the floors sort of move around the house sometimes when the dorm is getting rid of rooms that it doesn’t need. So this means a floor facing the back one year, like yours, might end up facing the front the next year.”

Harper nodded and, as Brent walked off down the corridor, came over to stand next to Kason who as still looking out the window, “He makes it sound like the house is alive.” He shivered slightly.

“I think it’s awesome!” Kason said excitedly, “just think, you can do all this stuff with magic! I can’t wait to start.”

“Same!” Harper replied with equal excitement, “But I still don’t really like the feeling of living in some giant house monster’s stomach.”

At that moment, Brent called to them from the other end of the corridor and they ran to catch up with him.

“These will be your rooms,” he said when they arrived, pointing to two adjacent doors, “you, Kason, will be in 17f and you, Harper, will be in 17g, there are ten rooms on each floor so you’ll probably have eight other floor-mates besides yourselves. Each floor also has a sort of common room and small library area over at the other end of the hall, which has an exit to the nexus, that’s the room where all the doors are. ” He pointed to a door at the other end of the hallway where another door stood. “To open the doors, you need to touch the grooves with the pendants you’re wearing.”

“Anyway, you can get food at the dining hall any time until midnight today and then starting tomorrow, between seven and eight in the morning, twelve and one at midday and six and seven in the evening, you’ll have your uniform delivered before teaching starts, that being in three days time and you will be expected to report to the room shown in your pendant at nine in the morning, On. That. Day.” He took several deep breaths and began again, “I recommend that you try and get used to the college before that though so that you don’t get lost, you can look around in the days before college starts. If you have any troubles anywhere at any time around your dorm, there’s be a teacher supervising the dorm at all times so you’ll be fine.” He then turned and began to walk away back down the corridor, waving his hand as he went. Kason and Harper watched as he passed through the door and out of sight.

“Well now that’s over, I’m going to check out my room!” Harper pranced over to his door and tried to open it, but it wouldn’t but budge.

“Umm, you need to touch your pendant to the grooves.” Kason reminded.

Harper nodded his head and did so. His door swung open.

“Alright!” He walked inside and the door closed behind him with a light thud.

Kason unlocked the door to his own room and walked inside, within there was a roughly seven by five-meter room with a small bed in the back left-hand corner and a wooden desk pushed flush to the wall in the middle of the right face, a chair floating in front of it. There were several empty shelves around the room and a rectangular window in the middle of the back wall, but apart from those items of furniture, the room was empty. Kason had the strange feeling that he was looking at a blank canvas like one might see on an artist’s easel.

Light was being emitted by something, but Kason couldn’t figure out what, feeling tired he dumped his bags down in a corner and went over to lie down on his bed. As soon as he did so, whatever was lighting up the room, turned off and blackness rolled in to fill the absence of light, except for a patch of silver on the floor in the middle of the room which was illuminated by the moonlight streaming through the uncovered window.

Kason lay there and felt exhaustion overcome him. He was about to succumb to its assault when the door banged open and Harper’s voice came from within the darkness.

“Woah, it’s dark in here!” He looked around and spied Kason’s limp form on the bed, “Come on Kason you can’t sleep now, let’s go get something to eat!”

Kason grunted and rolled off the bed, landing on the floor with a thump. The lights came back on. Harper walked over and heaved Kason up off the floor,

“Man, you can’t just fall on the floor like that, come on! Food!” He said looking very serious.

Kason rubbed his eyes sleepily and nodded, following him out of the room.

“It looks like they lock themselves when there’s nobody inside,” Harper said as Kason turned to touch his pendant to the door. Kason abandoned his endeavour and followed Harper, who started complaining about how the dorm was feeling more and more like a living thing, down the corridor to the door leading back to the nexus.

They emerged from it and were walking across to the door signed dining hall when the sound of laughter at the entrance made them turn and look.

The three other children who they had arrived with had entered with one of the other people from the registry office. They now wore close-fitting white and blue robes, the two girls twirling around showing off to each other, evidently happy with their new clothes, the boy walking behind. The registry officer stopped them in the middle of the room and then, after a moment listening like Brent had, directed them to the door leading to floor seventeen.

“Looks like they’ll be out floor-mates.” Harper mused as they disappeared through the porthole, “And those robes are probably the uniforms, I wonder why they got theirs now?” Kason shrugged and they walked through the door to the dining hall.

The hall was spacious and very clean. Tables were arranged in rows around the hall and there were one or two people eating at a few of them. Kason and Harper stood awkwardly at the entrance, looking around for where they could get their food.

“Just sit down, there’s a menu at each table.” A female voice sounded in Kason’s mind and he looked around confusedly for the voice. He saw Harper also looking around, seeming equally befuddled.

“Did you hear a woman’s voice?” He asked Harper, still looking around.

“A woman’s?” Harper stopped his searching and looked at Kason, “No, I heard a man. He said to sit down and something about there being menus at the tables.”

Kason shrugged and motioned that he was going to sit down, Harper waited for a second and then followed him. They chose one of the tables and sat down, immediately the surface of the table rippled just like the desk in the registry office, and two pieces of paper emerged, one in front of Kason and the other in front of Harper. Kason picked the one in front of him up and scanned its contents, a minute later looked up at Harper with a confused look on his face.

“What are these things?”

Harper looked up from his examination of the menu, “What’re what things?”

“The things on the menu, I’ve only heard of a few of them.”

Harper set down his own menu and looked curiously at Kason, “Well I’ve not heard of a few of them but most things on here are usual meals,” he chuckled, “what have you been eating all your life?”

“Well I lived in a village all my life and we didn’t have any fancy things like these…” Kason mumbled feeling slightly embarrassed.

Harper looked at him for a second and then picked up his own menu and began to explain the items on it. “Well most of the items are petty obvious, I mean it says what they are in the title like Lerran steak is steak made from Lerran meat and looks like it comes with various herbs and vegetables.” He continued to go through them until he came to the last three items on the list, “I don’t know what these last three are and they don’t provide any explanation so I suppose you’ve just got to try them out?” He shrugged.

Kason looked at the last three at the bottom of the menu, they were called Ropla Stew, Nagrack stir-fry and Evine salad. Kason had a sudden urge to try something new, “I guess I’ll try the Rolpa stew then.” he said out loud.

After he said it, the menu in his hand suddenly became heavier, like it was being pulled downwards towards the table. Kason let go of it and it sunk like a stone back through the rippling table, a few seconds later a steaming bowl emerged from where it had disappeared along with a spoon.

Inside the bowl, there was some kind of pale coloured broth in which floated chunks of some blue meat and a variety vegetables.

“Looks nice.” Harper commented with a grin, “But I think I’ll go for a tamer option. I’ll take the Halgrad finch.” He copied Kason and said the name his dish and moments later, his menu disappeared to be replaced by a plate of meat and salad.

They were both very hungry and so were finished very quickly, Harper let out a satisfied sigh, “Now that I’ve eaten I feel like I could fall asleep easily.” He yawned loudly stretching his arms as he did so. Kason also felt full, the Rolpa stew had been surprisingly delicious if a little spicy. He had gone red in the face after a couple of mouthfuls, causing Harper to laugh uproariously, but after that, he had learned to take his time and so had managed to avoid embarrassing himself further.

The sleepiness that had vanished when they entered the dining hall had begun to assault Kason once again so he suggested that they return to their rooms. Harper agreed and so they made their way out of the dining hall and back to the door to floor seventeen.

“Shall we go and look around the college buildings tomorrow then?” Harper asked Kason as they walked down the corridor towards their rooms. “We can meet in that common room place down there.” He pointed to the door at the other end of the corridor,

“Yeah, okay” Kason replied drowsily.

“Okay, then let’s meet there at nine,” Harper said after thinking for a moment, “that way we’ll have time to eat and do whatever else we need to do beforehand.”

Kason nodded, only half listening. Harper then said goodnight and went to his room; Kason returned to his and, opening the door with his pendant, he flopped face first down onto his bed not bothering to get under the covers or change into some other, lighter, clothing. He rolled onto his back and realised that he hadn’t shut his window, through it he saw a sky full of radiant stars, sending shafts of shimmering starlight tumbling towards the earth below. His eyes became half-lidded as he lay there, slowly drifting off into sleep.

Just before he relinquished his waking state in favour of blessed sleep, he saw a bright patch of what seemed to be starlight moving across the sky. Within the glittering light, he saw a human figure. It was beautiful to the extreme, perfect in every way imaginable, or at least it seemed that way in his current state. He could not tell whether it was male or female, all he could tell for sure with the lethargic state of his brain was that the figure was slowly coming closer like they were making their way towards the dorm where he lay.

His body, however, would not be denied of sleep any longer so before he could see where the figure ended up, his eyes closed and he slipped into dreams filled with starlight wreathed enchanting figures and bowls of spicy stew.

And here is the fifth chapter of The Time Mage, feel free to follow the site, leave a comment and all that jazz.



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