If the classroom hallway had driven home that Reinmonte was housed in a castle, the dining hall shouted it. Nilien stopped in the doorway, despite Lorque’s tugging, to look up at the huge vaulted stone ceiling and then to look down the hall at the columns and the long tables.

“You can eat with my friends and me.” Lorque gave another tug, and this time Nilien relented and followed along without dragging. Once she had stopped staring at the scenery, it became very quickly clear that she, in turn, was being stared at.

Some of the looks were simply curious. Nilien had already encountered that with Lorque — even with her friends back at her old school — and so she smiled at those people as she passed them. See, she wanted to say, I’m not all that strange. I’m just another student.

Her smile faded quickly, however, at the other expressions: people who clearly didn’t like her on sight, who disapproved of her or didn’t think she ought to be here.

“Should I have changed?” she asked Lorque. All of the students seemed to be wearing something similar to Lorque, but in different colors. Those students she could see that had familiars seemed, like River and Lorque, to be color-matched — which would please the fox, she considered, if it was true.

She didn’t think new clothes would help the current situation, but the outfit she had been so pleased with this morning suddenly seemed to make her stick out even more, and the dirty looks were beginning to wear on her already.

“Oh, no, we don’t have your uniform yet. It’s fine,” Lorque assured her breezily. “They’ll get over it eventually. Here, this is my table.”

The looks Nilien was getting didn’t quite seem like get over it eventually sort of looks. Nilien followed Lorque’s directions and tried not to worry too much. She could deal with some people glaring at her, couldn’t she? It wasn’t like it was her fault she’d ended up a Wild Rune!

“Hello, everybody, this is Nilien, and she’s new. Nilien, these are my friends, Augustin, Riva, and Istore.”

Nilien’s smile grew brittle and tight-feeling as she looked around at Lorque’s friends. Augustin looked friendly enough, but Riva and Istore were both wearing unfriendly expressions.

“A wild Rune?” Augustin leaned forward over the table. “And that’s your familiar? Does it bring you good luck?”

“Well—” Nilien started, only to be cut off by Istore.

“A Weed,” he sneered. “I bet your familiar bites.”

“Oh!” Augustin jumped up. “Can it—”

“Guys,” Lorque interrupted. “That’s enough. Let Nilien eat, okay?”

2 thoughts on “2.1

  1. She’s got just *one* friendly acquaintance here. Getting settled and integrated will take a *lot* of support and help, especially as the only newbie. Stick with it, and count on Lorque and maybe Agustin to smoothe it out at least somewhat.

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