Noir City 9

“You have such lovely hair.” Yewna’s friend, Maggie, said this as the princess of Ronalee encircled the curly tresses with the silver tiara. “What color is it?”

“I don’t know.” Yewna replied, putting some finishing touches on her face. “Some days it shines as golden as the noonday sun. On darker days, brown reins supreme.”

“And what of the red?”

“It’s always red, like a sun-kissed cloud in the morning.”

Maggie rolled her eyes and caked on another dab of mascara. They had met in History of Wards 101, becoming fast friends, though, not completely close. There were many more tests to have before the title of “best” could be added.

“Are you really going like that?” Maggie asked.

Yewna looked up from her reverie and saw her new friend’s liberal treatment of makeup. Just like an actress in a play. She kept the thought to herself and responded with a simple shrug. Yewna liked things natural, simple, and pure. That was that.

“I don’t mean your makeup style.” Maggie said, “I’m talking about how that white bracelet clashes with your stilettos,”

Maybe on your side of the fashionable world. Yewna thought. Maggie made to grab the thing playfully. Yewna pulled back and said, “No! The bracelet stays.”

Maggie laughed, “Suit yourself. You’ve been wearing it every day since I met you.”

Yewna was beginning to wonder if the bracelet really did clash. She wore a forest-green, bellowing dress which brought out the red and gold of her hair. Her shoes were bright silver along with her necklace and tiara. All were studded with emeralds as deep green as the dress. She held up the her hand and gazed into the white bracelet. Two emeralds gazed back. At least the emeralds match, she thought.

Maggie gave her a side hug, glancing into the mirror and putting on that scrunched up pouty face (that Yewna hated oh so much). “We are two dolls in a China cabinet.” Maggie said. Yewna nodded giveing a reluctant half-grin. Maggie took the grin as Yewn’s demure way that she agreed. She couldn’t be further from the truth. Yewna wasn’t agreeable at all and had many deferring opinions, she was just too easy-going to worry about it. But, catch the princess on something that really did mater… that was when steely resolve and grit would suddenly surface.

She did love a good hug or two, but Maggie’s was all a bit too much. The friend finely released her and went back to her side of the mirror, added a few more touches of makeup. 

“Okay!” Maggie said after 5 minutes of what she had called ‘finishing touches’, “Let’s go pick up some boys!”

Boys? Thought Yewna, another dithering idiot with his mouth gaping open, trying every flex pose he can? No thanks.

She thought of one of the Juniors on her first day. Was his name Jim? She had only wanted to know where the campus coffee shop was. He had pointed it out very slowly while puffing his chest out.

“Oh yes,” Maggie said as they entered the horseless taxi carriage. She gave Yewna some fluttering eyes, “I think John will be there.”

It was John not Jim. Yewna made sure Maggie wasn’t looking when she rolled her eyes. She fiddled with her white bracelet. It seemed to shift on its own. Two jewel emerald eyes gazed back up at her.  The shape of a dragon’s snout lifted and hissed in Maggie’s direction.

Yewna had no idea how Nin’s metallic dragon worked, some wizardry alone or maybe a magic mixed in with the mechanical. The toy dragon could coil into almost any shape including that of an unassuming white bracelet.

They were not going to the dinner party in search of boys however. It was a rare invitation indeed to be at a dinner party hosted by the Magio Family. Whose many sons and daughters had taken on the art of Wardcraft, a subset of magic that most serious wizards avoided.

Yewna was reminded of her short conversation with Jim… no John. He was trying very hard to speak in as deep a voice as he could, “You’re majoring in Wardcraft?” He had said with a laugh. “Why not elemental or at least healing? In five years I’ll be able to harness fire and wind, maybe even become a binder of earth. Wards can barely move a boulder. They’re the laughingstock of all arcane academia!”

Yewna had ignored the dolt in her own quiet way, giving him that nonchalant half-smile of hers. If he’d only asked why she would have told him.

It was the history of Wards that fascinated her most. They were, after all, the closest to heaven, tracing their lore and knowledge all the way to the Exalted Elves. So what if it couldn’t move a boulder. It was just such a thrill to learn all of those ancient languages.

“I wonder if Tommy will be there!” Maggie dreamed allowed. “Do you think he will?”

Yewna ignored her and pulled out the Magio Family invitation: off-white textured card, words scribbled in scarlet ink, in the old language.

The taxi pulled up to the mansion. It was build in the ancient style back when war was far more common, more castle than home. Lightning struck one of the turrets.

This gave Maggie a jump. Yewna just sighed at the fantastical adventure of such a place. I wonder where the library is?

She translated the invitation as the taxi pulled behind a few other carriages, all waiting in line for the tall front door.

You are invited to a grand dinner. The invitation read. Professor Grumbold is our quest of honor.  He has some new and exciting theories that might lead us back into the warp.

Only the strongest families wrote in the old language, that and maybe a king or two.

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