Gary Harper
Sugar is good.
Thu Aug 17, 2017 16:52

Gary was grinning like a fool when the flying wagons landed on the school grounds. That ride was awesome! He'd never really though about what kind of magical transportation wizards would use. Teleportation sure when the resources were available, that was a no-brainer, but they had to have something other than that, why not flying wagons? The stocky boy stood and stretched his legs before pulling his haversack onto his back. He started to lift his trunk, but the man who had accompanied them on the wagons told him to leave it for the elves.

Elves? Right, the information page had said that there were 'prairie elves' that did much of the work around the school. He knew all about High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves, and may other variants, but Prairie Elves was not a classification he was familiar with. The boy wondered for a brief moment what they were like, since none of the other groups he was familiar with were likely to help out with 'menial labor' without darn good cause. He shrugged and hopped down from the wagon, his pack jostling on his back. He'd meet them eventually and find out, for now the man was herding all of the first year students into the huge labyrinth Gary had spotted from overhead. This was going to be great!

It wasn't that great. There were signs pointing the way, and people standing at intersections to make sure he and the others made it to their destination. They had a huge labyrinth to do an initial test on the students right away to see what each one was made of, and they didn't use it? Strange. Perhaps there was some sort of deeper test going on here, he'd definitely need to stay alert. He was alert enough to spot the large welcome sign, and the tables of food and drink. "What sort of game are they playing here?" he wondered to himself.

The other kids were milling about, getting food and drinks. Another adult was encouraging them to do so. Alright, time to figure out this test, he walked up to the food table and carefully examined its contents. There was a wide range of variety and there didn't seem to be any immediately apparent pattern. Cupcakes, doughnuts, and cookies lay scattered among vegetables, sandwiches, and fruit. He had to hand it to them, they had hidden this test well under the disguise of a welcoming party. He'd expect no less from them though. What was the test? The other students were taking things without to much thought, the majority seemed to be selecting sweets over the healthy foods.

Perhaps part of the test was how long it took to take the test. When that thought struck, he decided on balance being the safest route. Gary picked up one of the little sandwiches and a creme doughnut, then wandered away from the table to see if he could observe any results of his selection. None of the adults seemed to be paying much attention to him directly, or any of the other kids for that matter. The evaluators must be scrying from afar. He ate the sandwich and picked up a cup of water from the drink table, that choice had been fairly easy, when the man from the wagons called for their attention and began speaking.

Gary almost spit out his water when the man introduced himself, but he caught himself. That may have been planned to weed out those who had read to many comic books. Still, he wondered if the professor's first name was Charles. He listened attentively, and only when it was mentioned did he notice the table of reading material. Nuts! How could he have missed that!? That was going to count against him. Well, he'd have to wander over casually later and pick them up. Try to make it look like he had known they were there and was just getting around the them now. Hopefully his bluff skill was up for that.

Gary noticed that the professor didn't list a 'gaming club', maybe he'd have to start one. He'd read about the houses in the brochure, it seemed like an odd way to run a school, but if it works, it works. Dad had guessed that Gary would wind up in either Pecari or Aladren, Gary said it hadn't really mattered to him. Then the professor told them to mingle.

That wasn't going to happen, he didn't know anyone here. Nobody. Something about that thought hit home, it pierced through his previous mindset and he looked around the garden again as if for the first time. There were lush green plants growing in the middle of the desert, kids of all types starting to mill about aimlessly, a few adults supervised, there was a fountain, a table of food and drink and a welcome banner. It looked so normal, but was completely foreign and bizarre. To top it off, there was no one around that he knew. What was he doing here? A wave of panic washed over him. He had rode here in a flying wagon, and according to the speech he had just heard from Professor X, he was going to learn how to cast charms, mix potions and fly on a broom! Was he actually going crazy?

A quiet voice in the back of his mind was screaming at him to reign it in, get it under control. Still he glanced around wildly in all directions searching for a familiar face, a familiar anything. Then he saw his mother and that halted him in his tracks. With the momentary break in the negative feedback loop, the voice in his head solidly took control again. Reason had returned once more and it had something to investigate. Gary quickly composed himself once again, hoping the wizards wouldn't count the momentary panic against him to harshly, as he examined the girl.

Obviously she wasn't his mother. She was the same age as him and alive, but the likeness was incredible. It was mainly the hair, and maybe the nose. Her profile had been the thing he'd noticed. Her eyes were completely different and the more he examined the less similarities he actually saw. Perhaps it had just been a valiant attempt by his subconscious to break him out of the panic state. Regardless, they were supposed to mingle, another test perhaps to evaluate cooperation skills. She was as good as anybody else around here that he didn't... He quelled the thought as he could feel the panic begin to rise again.

Casually, he strolled over to the table holding the schedules first and picked up a folder. He opened it, doing his best to look bored at the contents, and moved towards the girl. The thing right inside the folder was the schedule, so without really looking at her he asked in her general direction, "So, what do you think of these classes?"

When she turned and introduced herself, he mentally kicked himself and dropped his presumed test scores again. Of course you start with introductions. No time like the present to make up for it though. "Nice to meet you Tatiana. My name's Gary, Gary Harper." He should really say something else, and he wasn't sure if she had caught his question about the classes, so he couldn't ask that again. "Are you from around these parts?" Then he once again mentally kicked himself because they're in the middle of the desert and no one was from 'these parts' except the teachers maybe and some wildlife.

  • As long as there is sugar, I'll be okay.Tatiana Vorontsova, Mon Aug 14 08:39
    Tatiana could have gotten down from the wagon herself, but she accepted the assistance the fat man (some kind of servant, she assumed) offered because she knew that was what Mama would want her to... more
    • Sugar is good. — Gary Harper, Thu Aug 17 16:52
      • I'm glad you agree.Tatiana, Thu Aug 17 22:44
        Tatiana tried to work out if this one had a patronymic or not. She finally decided it didn’t much matter. They were both children, which meant it was acceptable for them to call each other ‘Tatiana’... more
        • Rumors abound about the perils of excess thoughGary Harper, Sat Aug 19 07:23
          Tatiana's response gave Gary pause for a moment, then he remembered the part of the professor's speech about language assistance for those not fluent in English. Maybe Tatiana wasn't a native English ... more
          • Eh, you only live once.Tatiana, Sat Aug 19 17:23
            The second iteration of Gary’s question made more sense. Tatiana filed away this new meaning of parts - shorthand for ‘parts of the country’. She nodded her understanding. “I come from Alaska,” said... more
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