subtly_artistic: (Default)
Emily has never had the pleasure of opening a door to Milliways, but she's willing - after Aether mediates for the wall-minded Aegis - to provide a long string of doors to try. Aether heads back to her room after Aegis is set up therewith.
subtly_artistic: (Default)
Amariah recites the entire conversation she and Callahan had to the assembled Bells and Jokers that evening, after Aether has gotten back from the dining hall.
subtly_artistic: (b ~ suggestion)
Neckrubs become a more regular part of Bella's life. And she does not tell him to stop until she is good and done. There is hugging. There is snuggling. There is kissing. There are some impressively sappy looks from his end, some fascinated mindreading from hers. The semester wraps up, Bella goes home for a week, and she comes back (now signed up for Utility Psionics 2, Intro to Mental Healing, Arcane Defense, Intro Cognition, and her survival credit, a lecture entitled "Wilderness Triage" (subtitled: Quick And Dirty Mechanisms For Identifying The Lesser Of Several Evils).

She missed Celo! She seeks him out at once. Hugs.
subtly_artistic: (l ~ prescience)
There are more elves now. They're impatient. They ran off Bella's escort with private whispers Bella didn't hear, Bella's subtle arts are jammed again, and they're faster than she is.

Where is she -

Celo's there, there are more elves now but maybe there's someone with him or he can put Bella where he puts his stuff or something -

And this is how Bella runs headlong into the outdoor session of Mixed Melee with seventeen armed elves chasing her, and spots Callahan, and has an even better idea.

"MY WARRANTY," she screams at the top of her overtaxed lungs, "IS AT RISK!"
subtly_artistic: (f ~ apopsi)
In what has become a common occurrence, Bella and Celo are hanging out in the hall kitchen, eating something Celo has baked (today: blueberry handpies).

"How's the squinting coming along?" Bella asks, after she has finished her first and is contemplating a second.
subtly_artistic: (o ~ reddopsi)
Bella is gazing on the school weavesite when she notices the inconsistent references to Vice Chancellor Embries's secretary. A second look shows that they're all from different years. A look at the public record of the school staff directory confirms: yes. Every secretary of the Vice Chancellor is from a different year. She'd expect he was just dreadful to work for, if it weren't for the way they do virtually always last out the full year -

and for the way none of them have any continued ethernet footprint after the termination of their employment.

Bella compiles this data. She a-mails it to the current secretary with a "probably nothing, just worried" note attached to it.

---

It is the following week when she is summoned to Embries's office.

This does not bode well. But she can't exactly refuse.

She finds one of the Walking Buddies looking for credit from "escort missions" to take her. The walking buddy thinks she's humoring her until Bella disabuses her of the notion that she's generously distributing an easy five-point assignment.

They arrive without incident. The walking buddy leaves; Bella is going to be on her own for the trip back.

But first she has to deal with Embries.

She goes inside, shaking in her boots.

Embries is a silver-haired, urbane man, with a long desk at which he sits in perfect stillness, and Bella feels an odd, intense pressure in her mind when she approaches - there is something out of the ordinary, with his mind or his person or just with him.

"Hello, Ms. Swan," he says. "Do sit down."

Bella sits.

"Do you know," he says, "no one has ever had the temerity to contact one of my secretaries on her own behalf, in a professional capacity, before. They sort my correspondence for me, but by and large, their own communiques are personal in nature. Until they are not in a position to receive anything at all, that is."

This doesn't seem to demand an answer. Bella sits silently, watching his eyes, shifting occasionally under psychic pressure.

"I do wonder why something has changed about this... setup."

Bella swallows.

"Something about the particular secretary, warier or more skittish? Unlikely; she had no traits of any relevance. Something about this age in which we find ourselves, breeding caution and far-off sudden opportunities to prompt career changes? No; the eras differ only superficially. Something about the communique's origin, though..."

Bella makes a small, involuntary noise.

"I think that could easily prompt an irregularity in a comfortable pattern. Don't you agree, Ms. Swan?"

Bella doesn't think she could answer him now if she wanted to.

"Ms. Swan. I find myself very disappointed. Given that you are very nearly a volunteer, venturing towards my attention as you did - surely there is something you have to say for yourself."

She opens her mouth. No sound comes out.

She's long figured out what she's talking to, at this point.
subtly_artistic: (c ~ egotism)
Bella goes about her business. Elves continue stalking her; she continues walking everywhere accompanied. Sometimes by Celo, sometimes by random people, sometimes by clusters of classmates. She does all her homework and maintains good grades in all her classes. She is now confirmed able to definitely move objects with her mind a tiny negligible bit, which means that if she works very hard for a very long time she may become able to move objects with her mind a less tiny and non-negligible bit.
subtly_artistic: (Default)
Bella didn't mean to take so long about eating her dinner. It's just that this book is really interesting. Supplemental history reading, recommended by the professor, by a different author than did their textbook, one who can really write, she'll have to find the rest of his work - and now she's one of six students left in the dining hall and it's closing. Four of them are a group of dwarves who she can only assume live in the dwarf housing; individual dwarves sometimes find their way into Harlowe and there is even one in Thatcher, but not a bunch of them. The other one's a mermaid.

Bella doesn't think the mermaid lives in Thatcher, which makes it Harlowe, but Thatcher's on the way to Harlowe from here.

She knows not to go swimming with her and this will have to do.

She goes up to the mermaid.

"Excuse me. I try not to walk around outside by myself. Are you heading towards Thatcher? Harlowe's right past it," she adds.
subtly_artistic: (l ~ prescience)
Bella successfully manages to stay in all weekend except for when she joins packs of students headed for the dining hall. If the elves are still stalking her, she doesn't notice them. On Monday, the subtle artist elf is present in their shared course, and looks at her, but doesn't bother her - Bella leaves with another classmate anyway.

Traveling in packs is quite effective, she decides.

Except she doesn't do it in her own dorm.

It's pouring rain outside Tuesday afternoon and Bella doesn't want to go to the dining hall. She has some stuff in her room - not serious groceries, but enough that she can heat up some broth and noodles, liven it up with a handful of miscellaneous dried herbs, and call it soup. She is hanging out in the kitchen doing this when Brad from down the hall, the same fellow who attempted to interrupt Celo at his baking, chooses to bother her.

"Hey, Isabella."

"It's Bella."

"But your full name's so pretty," says Brad. "You should go by that instead. So Isabella, let's go out tomorrow, I'll show you a good time in town, we'll have some fun."

"No," says Bella, "thank you, and it's still Bella."

"Isabella's prettier. Like you, you're pretty. It's not like I asked you to make like a nymph or something, I just want to take you out," says Brad. "Is it the money, I bet it's that, I can cover it, we can go someplace nice and you can get whatever you want."

"It's still no. It's still Bella."

"Don't be such a bitch, you never have plans," snaps Brad, "what are you going to do, eat at the dining hall and re-read your textbooks, you can come out with me."
subtly_artistic: (f ~ apopsi)
At least four people conclude that Bella and Celo have had sex and mention this to Bella. The fact that the door was open the entire time he spent hanging out in her room is apparently immaterial (since she wouldn't have been breaking any rules if she'd had sex with him that way, and no one was loitering in the hall supervising them the whole time). She contradicts them on this. Three people don't believe her. Miki does, and is immediately promoted to Bella's favorite out-of-class friend.

In Intro Psych for Subtle Artists, there's a discussion of what subtle artists do with their own minds, and how this differs from everyone else. Bella has already talked to all her subtle arts professors about her own peculiarities, and Professor Murray has her talk a bit about how she's used lucid dreams for introspection, self-modification, and memory boosting. Professor Murray then explains that people who aren't subtle artists can only rarely lucid dream, and even those who can don't find it an effective jumping-off point for any heavy-duty self-searching.

One of the elves in the class looks at Bella oddly through her little talk.

But she doesn't say anything, so Bella ignores her.
subtly_artistic: (k ~ astral)
Bella is seriously considering refusing to tell anyone else what her major is. Honestly. The way people flinch -

Well, no, that's not fair. She'd flinch too if she were unprotected and a subtle artist walked by. Just because most don't, in fact, casually or unintentionally read thoughts, doesn't mean that none of them do. Her tutor back home thought that her aversion to having her mind read was why her arts were set up so defensively and everything else was secondary for her.

She doesn't like the flinching, but it is fair. Maybe she'll go to the lab and scribe off a few copies of a mini fact sheet so she can hand them out when she meets people. No, that would be obnoxious.

She'll wait for it to wear off. Eventually she'll make some friends who'll know how she works. Or who are other subtle artists; she's probably more likely to make friends in classes than in the dorm, anyway.

She's not sure how she feels about the mixed-sex dorms. The rooms are singles, at least - that's why she's in Thatcher Hall, automatic single rooms for no extra charge at the price of having to maybe live next door to somebody who's not all human. There's a short list of species who qualify to be out of Harlowe and in predominantly-human Thatcher. None of them scare Bella. The orientation guide called Thatcher a "salad bowl". The junior who was wandering by at the time called it a pit.

The building looks nice. Bella's room looks nice. She unpacks her stuff and then goes back out to explore a little and encounters a stark naked man.

"Dude!" she exclaims. "Put some clothes on! This is a mixed sex hall!"
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