Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Hadrian arrives at Zeltiva University to visit an old acquaintance, but ends up with a startling proposition.

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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Paragon on June 9th, 2012, 2:18 am

"Where Great


Men Walked"


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Timestamp: 31st Day of Summer, 512 AV


A warmth had finally come to Zeltiva -- an intercession to the bonesnapper winds that so often buffeted the port city. It was in this birthing of Summer, the next turning of the wheel of the year, that Hadrian stepped into the hallowed halls of Zeltiva University. He had been here before, though it seemed an age ago now.

Professor Stonemiller still resided in the office he had always called home, though today he looked round with fond memories, packing the stuff he intended to take with him on his travels. The office remained as cluttered as ever though, a treasure trove of old books and journals.

He had not arranged for Hadrian to catch him just before he left. It was mere chance and happenstance -- though some might call it fate. For when the little cog turned, the whole machine came to life, sparking so many unforeseen consequences.

And so it was the mage met his old teacher.

The wheels of fate turned.
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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Hadrian on June 9th, 2012, 4:43 am

It had taken so long to get from Avanthal to Zeltiva, Hadrian had spent months in thought. It was nice, of course, and there had been some action in the ports of call, but he was so ready to be in his old haunts, so ready to hit the ground running, that as soon as he had his little party stuffed into his modest cottage near the Old Quarter, he made for the University.

He was well-, if modestly, dressed in blues and greys and blacks, but of course the storm had changed other things about him since last he had seen his mentor. His dark hair was streaked with blue, and his eyes had grown paler and brighter, and though he was too tall, too pale to be a Vantha, still their mark was upon him due to the Iceglaze blood that came to him from his mother. Through his mother came the knightly blood and the bequest of Viktor Zevkan, too. He began to wonder more at his mother's lineage, but of course, she was gone now.

There were aspirations to teach within him now, but he feared Stonemiller might pigeonhole him as a research assistant again, as if the two years away -- some of that spent learning from the Nuit of Sahova to the Illusionists of Alvadas -- had not changed him at all. When he had worked for Stonemiller and been his student -- some said prize student -- he had been obliged to make a perfunctory knock before entering, not waiting for permission.

Time had passed, but the door was slightly ajar, so he knocked and walked in.

"Was I that young?" he asked mildly, referring, of course, to the students who really weren't all that much younger than him, but certainly more of the tabula rasa than him. "Oh..."

Whatever he had hoped for, feared, or expected, it hadn't been this.
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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Paragon on June 11th, 2012, 1:24 pm

Professor Stonemiller was an old man. A wizened man. A man full of thought and understanding, musings and theories. That was partly the reason the sight of him hurriedly packing his stuff was such an alien vision.

He turned as he heard a voice at the door, and a familiar one at that. Though he was startled, he did not show it outwardly. To Hadrian, who had known him way back, the tired eyes of his tutor had been replaced with something new and adventurous.

"Hadrian," he said, a soft smile forming on his lips. "a pleasant surprise, I must say."

Then, the professor looked down at his bag, and back to Hadrian, realising this would look particularly unusual to his old student. He could delay his journey for a few hours. It couldn't hurt.

"Sit down," Stonemiller finally said, gesturing to a chair, "first, you must have a lot to tell me. You were always a fast learner... I wonder just how much you know now. And then... then I'll explain what it is I am packing this bag for."
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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Hadrian on June 12th, 2012, 6:50 am

"Pardon me, Professor," he said with honest respect. "I should have sent word ahead of me, but it took so long to get back here after the storm. It is good to see you."

He sat down without thinking, used to following orders. Not only had he been a student and mentee, but also a research assistant. When Stonemiller was after something, one learned to obey with alacrity, the better and faster to reach the goal, and generally the more elegantly, as well.

"Oh. When I left here, I went to Sahova as planned, though I got into more trouble than much else. I learned a bit of Malediction; they still call it Legacy there, but I remain a rather worthless Legate. Then to Syliras. My mother died." He hurried right along past that. "Then Alvadas." He lifted up his hand, twisting his fingers around in a laughable parody of mystical mudras, but all the same, his illusions came to life in sparks and surges of energy that formed themselves into little dragons and other mythical beasts, which flew around and around, chasing each other. "Made a powerful friend. Back to Syliras where Professor Nightshade took up residence as magecrafter, but I still had a contract with the Order for sets of gems linked to each other to aid groups of knights in working together from a distance. Then up through Ravok briefly and on up to Avanthal. I made an item for Queen Morwen's prison, though it has since melted. The storm, that is what brought me back here. I want to remain in Zeltiva for a long while if possible..."

Which begged the question, why would Stonemiller be leaving?
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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Paragon on June 13th, 2012, 12:08 am

"I am surprised, of course, but I would not worry over it. It is good to see you too."

Stonemiller sat down too, pulling out the chair opposite Hadrian. He was fond of the young man, though he had always tried to keep hold of an air of authority. The man showed promise though, so much so that he often found it hard to hide the bulk of his enthusiasm. As he smiled at his ex-assistant, ideas poked around in his mind.

He listened to Hadrian, and nodded thoughtfully throughout. "Legacy indeed... how intriguing." The next thing he said made Stonemiller pause. The boy - for he still thought of him as that sometimes - had lost his mother. Hadrian skirted over it, continuing his narrative, but the professor couldn't help a pang of sympathy come into his face. He watched Hadrian's fingers, amused by the sparks of energy within. The boy had had quite the journey. The boy had become a man.


"I am pleased that you have learnt so much. It is all I could have hoped for. And I am entertained by the paradox here too. The storm brought you back to Zeltiva," Stonemiller turned to the packed bag, "and it is in the storms aftermath that I am set to leave."
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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Hadrian on June 13th, 2012, 4:50 am

Hadrian nodded at the comments, and most especially the reference to leaving. His eyes, much brighter now than when he had left, flickered toward the arrested packing. He stood up then, following old habits, and picked up where Stonemiller left off. Hadrian knew how he liked his bag pack, had packed it for the old man's occasional journey back when he had been his assistant.

"I suppose it is fortuitous that I caught you before you left, although I am sorry to see you go. I had thought perhaps you might need an assistant until such time as I could persuade the Regents to hire me on as a teacher." He smiled vaguely, his hands deftly making order of the old man's things. He was as precise in this menial task as he was with his magical endeavors. That was just his work ethic.

"I suppose I'll just have to find some honest work, then."
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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Paragon on June 14th, 2012, 11:24 pm

Stonemiller let out a dry laugh as Hadrian couldn't help himself but to try and order his things. Ever the assistant. He breathed a musty breath through a thick greying beard.

"Not so fast," he said, before laughing again, "somehow I cannot picture the young man before me waiting in the World's End Grotto. It would never become you now, would it?"

Countenance returning to something more sensible, he took hold of his belongings, placing them into the open bag along with Hadrian.

"We know your ambitions lay beyond playing assistant - though I do not dispute your integrity. I am taking off on a whim. The Regents have barely had a chance to organise substitution. It could be arranged for you to teach in my stead. If you are so predisposed?

He met Hadrian's eyes. The hurt was there, of the loss of his mother, but that same spark had never died. In fact, it had only grown brighter since they had last met.
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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Hadrian on June 16th, 2012, 4:45 am

"I'm not above working a job below my education," he reminded Stonemiller. Hadrian hadn't made many friends at the University, at least among his supposed peer group. He could imagine all the reasons they might take exception to him and assumed they were there with or without evidence one way or another. He was quite skilled at introversion and hermitage; the ability to work with people was a newfound skill.

Innovation, Eyris' messenger, the book-seller, might have said.

"But I would happily cover for you in your absence, Professor. That is actually a fortuitous coincidence, if one believes in coincidence. And hopefully by the time you return to take up the reins again, they will have judged me worthy of staying, the Regents."
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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Paragon on June 18th, 2012, 10:36 am

"So you say," Stonemiller replied with a nod and a knowing smile, "I don't doubt that you would be... adaptable."

He turned from his packing, wizened eyes landing on the window, looking out at the courtyard. Students milled around, walking between classes. Radiant sun bathed the yard, and if you ignored the collapsed marble and stone, it was a rather picturesque scene.

"You will do it? I am glad. There is no other I would feel so confident in leaving to teach my classes. And perhaps the Regents will see what I see in you."

He turned back to the boy - the man - as if making sure he was fit for the job one last time. It was fortuitous indeed that Hadrian had returned to Zeltiva.

"These halls..." Stonemiller began gesticulating, hands gesturing to the corridors beyond his room, "where great men walked. It is time I left them for a while, and explored a little more of our world. There is so much to see and understand. And when the storm came, I think it reminded all of us how fragile Mizahar is - how suddenly we could lose everything. Would it not be such a burden to carry knowing you never saw the things you wanted to before they perished? But I am speaking to learned ears, am I not traveler?"
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Where Great Men Walked [Hadrian]

Postby Hadrian on June 22nd, 2012, 9:44 pm

"You were the one who told me that life in the ivory tower would not teach me all I wanted to know, and so I traveled, and now I am back, and certainly I will travel again, as you do." He didn't bow, but he nodded his head respectfully.

"You... honor me, Professor. I have always held you in the highest esteem. And if you are going to track down the storm's epicenter, all signs point to Wind Reach. It came upon Avanthal from the southwest, and in Mura, they spoke of Visions that helped them prepare."

He had suspicions himself, but none he was like to share without prompting. In fact, he would be relieved to hear Stonemiller's own report, if he was not going to go himself to study the source.
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