Fan fiction:The Mage Academy of Gea Kul/Chapter One
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From the first day of Zia's arrival at the mage academy in Gea Kul, she was remarkable. Her beautiful face, her youthful vigor, her astonishing inherent talent; all gleamed like diamonds in the sun. More than those traits, there was something entrancing about her, a shining clarity to her personality that made her unforgettable to all, whether they were friend or foe. And yes, she had friends in those early days -- do not allow the slanders that sprang up after her abrupt and deadly departure obscure that fact. Zia was a friendly, cheerful girl, one who was unfortunately and tragically unaware of the power she wielded in every laugh and toss of her shining hair.
Her radiance, her attraction, came entirely from within. Her clothing was plain, and there was certainly nothing notable about her pedigree. In an academy full of princesses, lordlings, and the children of nobles and powerful merchants, Zia was a pauper. She hailed from an obscure village on the edge of the Southern jungles, the daughter of wool merchants who had scarcely been able to afford her passage to Gea Kul. She had only enough gold for her first year's tuition, and could not afford robes, books, reagents, or a better quality of food than that provided to the servants.
None of those facts ever dissuaded her in the slightest, nor did much else make an impression on her perpetually sunny disposition. Some attributed this to a mental defect, an inability to grasp the gravity of difficult situations, but I came to see things differently. I believed then, and still do, that Zia simply chose to ignore such obstacles. She focused all of her indomitable will on the problems she could surmount, on the spells and lore she was set to learn, and let other issues take care of themselves.
Which they did, to a remarkable extent. For better and for worse.
She made her mark during her first week at the Academy, a time when most new students are content, even grateful, to remain ensconced in their rooms in the novice dormitory. Zia studied; she learned more than the rest of the novices combined, while also appearing at the center of every event in the Academy. She'd ridden to the Academy in a small wagon with two other students, both of whom were years older than her, and quite experienced with magic in their own ways. During the long journey Zia had picked their brains for every bit of lore and witchery they possessed, and though none of it was proper magecraft, she absorbed it at once and somehow applied it to her formal learning.
First year students have few regular classes, and much of their time out of their rooms is spent in study sessions with older students, who point them to the books they must learn before they can progress to any proper spell casting. Most novices are hardly seen for six months, so buried are they in remedial reading and solitary practice as they attempt to master the basic incantations.
Zia studied as much as anyone, but somehow contrived to be out and about as well. I saw her reading at meals, and even while walking through the hallways. Twice I saw her literally walk into another student, so absorbed was she in the book she was holding before her face. No one took offense, and it seemed like the other students, males especially, were flattered by the collisions. Part of it was Zia's clothing; though she wore the novice robes she'd been presented, and seemed utterly without concern for her appearance, she maintained an erotic aura. Her clothing was either too loose or too tight, often at the same time. Parts of her swelling anatomy were hugged most provocatively, even as her robes seemed about to fall off her slender shoulders. Like all student robes hers was hooded, but the cloth never seemed to obscure the view of her long, graceful neck, an expanse of skin more sensual than another woman's complete nudity. Zia was striking in any garment, almost enchanting, with her perpetual open-mouthed smile, flashing white teeth, and dancing blue eyes.
I found cause to speak with her on several occasions during those first few days, and after no more than a few seconds looking into her eyes, I always found my thoughts wandering into most unsuitable areas; especially unsuitable given my position as Arch Maester. My thoughts for Zia were never erotic; I never allowed myself to fall prey to that temptation. Not sexual, but protective. Though she was in no danger within the fortified walls of the Academy, I felt a compulsion to guard over her and to keep her from harm's way.
I took special pains to protect all the students, of course. Decades past, during my early years as a student, a rather aggressive mentality had permeated the Academy, and there were dangerous magical competitions and ruthless hazing rituals which resulted in numerous injuries, several deaths, and the premature departure of a number of promising, but less assertive, students. I had put an end to such practices once I became the Archmaester, and had made the protection and cultivation of the students my utmost priority. Before Zia's arrival, I'd never felt such a personal bond. She was a pupil, entrusted body and mind to the Academy I had been elected to direct, but at the same time she was a daughter, or at least a younger sister, to me. I would have moved mountains for her, and wreaked a terrible vengeance upon anyone who tried to harm her.
And yet, in the end I was the one who harmed her the most cruelly. Not directly, but by inaction. Blinded by my infatuation, I allowed the situation to grow untenable, and for that I hope Zia can forgive me. Even if she must grant that forgiveness with my hands around her throat.
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