April 5, 1033
It’s been too long since I’ve written. I’ve been in such a whirlwind of new beginnings here that it’s been impossible for me to find the time! Let me see if I can describe all that’s happened to me…
We rode into town about midday on the 29th. The guards, looking so regal and important in their red uniforms with the gold lion on the front, stopped us immediately and asked everyone to pay the toll since we were obviously merchants. I presented my letter instead, and one of them personally escorted me to the gates of the University! I had no idea I was so important, but maybe he was just being nice. The streets were filled with peoples of all shapes and sizes and colors. A gnome stood at a booth of whirling trinkets, gears spinning and clacking in the marketplace. Several greenish half-orcs had carts for hire and I saw several nobly dressed humans reposing in style as the half-orcs dragged them behind to their destination. Guards stood here and there on the street corneres, the golden lions glimmering on their chest, and through it all bustled the general public with fervor and purpose. It’s truly the biggest city I’ve ever seen. I can’t even begin to imagine how huge Free City must be, to be bigger than Brindol.
Brindol University sits on a slight hill with the city surrounding it on every side. The city seems to stand apart from the University, though. There are sporadic trees sprinkled in the midst of the grassland, young little things just beginning to bud in the spring rains. The University itself is made of brown stone block, with expansive windows that reach all the way to the ground. It’s a building conceived and residing only in peace, for the residents would be hard put to defend something so open to the outside. I climbed several dozen stone stairs, and pulled the long gold chain next to the grand front door seamlessly inlaid with a giant book and two hands holding it open. A silent old man took one appraising look of me, showed me into a little room off the entrance hall, grunted inaudibly, and indicated that I should stay. The room was washed with strange colors from the two gigantic stained glass windows depicting the same giant book as the door. The motto “Let Magic fill the hearts and minds of those withing our walls, and ever shall we meet to seek great knowledge in these halls” was glazed in magical script upon the pages of the book, which I didn’t realize until I had been staring at it for a few minutes. Quite crafty of them, I’m sure. I took a seat in front of the ancient desk placed in front of the windows, and proceeded to twiddle my thumbs until Madam Damynda made her appearance.
I’m not sure I’ll like Madam Damynda. She seems very strict and unbendable. Rules are rules with her, and there’s absolutely no reason for suspension or bending of any kind. It makes me a little glad I won’t be a teacher here. I’ll answer directly to professor Annandale (who is quite wonderful, by the way) and not to her. She gave me this long speech about how I’m expected to abide by all the rules and tenets that have been “set forth by the great magicians gracing these halls for time imemorable,” and live up to the honor they’re confering on me by letting me work here. I was certainly struck by how serious she was, and I missed my quiet little home in the hills quite a lot at that moment, thinking I would never fit in if everyone was as rigid as that.
She took me through a maze of dark paneled corridors and up a worn, marble staircase to a gorgeous little room overlooking the city. Murals of beautifully robed magicians and their spells were splashed here and there over the walls of the University, especially in the more public areas, which I studied carefully as I walked past. There’s a lovely one just outside my door of a blue-haired fairy, her arms reaching toward the sky, a silver bolt of lightning streaming from her fingertips out of the mural and clear up to the top of the fourteen-foot ceilings. I immediately took this as a good omen. My room is positively luxurious compared to the little stone room with nothing but a bed at the temple. It’s got cozy, white painted walls with a dark wood door and dark wooden trim, the same as the beautiful woodwork lining the halls. I have a window that’s almost as long as the wall it sits on and a bed with a feather tick! If you’ve never slept on a feather bed, you are missing one of the great luxuries of life. I positively sink into it at night. My quilt looks very bright and cheery in the mass of sunlight that streams through that window, and I’ve been provided with the quaintest little table with a bowl set into the top of it for my wash water, and a rope seat chair with the same book that was carved into the front door, and set into stained glass in Madam Damynda’s office, carved into the back. At night I can see the flickering lights of the city from my window, and I feel like quite the lady of the world, in the midst of such sophistication. Apparently, I’ve been given one of the nicer rooms where the wealthy finishing school students board as they’re completing their classes, and not a regular student room. I’ve been told that those are nice and quite simple, but lack the size and decoration that mine has. After Madam Damynda left me to myself, I immediately hung the brass symbol of Boccob above my bed. The room looks quite homey now, between my quilt and other belongings.
I met Professor Annandale the next day. He is the tallest Elf I have ever set eyes on, with a quiet but studious power that seems to radiate from his very bones. He welcomed me quite warmly before explaining what I was to do throughout the day, showing me around a little, and the disappearing without another thought for my well-being into the library. I sit through his classes every day except Saturday and Sunday so I can answer most questions that get asked, occupy his formal office until 3:00 in the afternoon, and grade any minor assignments that get turned in. He does the main things himself, and really just wants someone to field the silly stuff. The formal office has a hightly polished wood des, and several cushy chairs to lounge in. A bookcase with a bunch of simple magical theory books and spell books with cantrips inside stands on one wall, and there’s a long window like the one in my room on the other wall. I’m writing from this office right now, as it’s hardly very busy for long.
His informal office is just behind the formal one, with a large heavy door separating the two from each other. Inside, it’s a veritable warehouse of shelves filled with the most interesting books I have ever seen. The titles all glitter with magical writing, and I positively itch to open one. I don’t suppose I ever will, though. There’s a standard wooden des, and a bookstand in the corner, but little else. There isn’t even a window to the outside in this closet of a room. I can bother him if I really need to, being that the rooms are so close to each other, but I shall try my best to never do it.
He’s explained a little bit about what he’s working on to me. He thinks there is an inherent magical language that runs in the bones of all things, and he’s trying to piece together this dialect any way he can. Mostly through intense study of all magics he can get his hands on. He’s already discovered some key words, so it seems as if his theory is true! I can barely contain my excitement when I think of what this would mean to magical study in general!! Though Anandale is a Cleric, and I a Wizard, Iknow from our mutial worship of Boccob and from Professor Annandale’s true devotion to the arts, that I have made the right choice to come here.
The classes I have been sitting through are filled with spells and theories I just learned myself, so I shall have to study extra hard to keep ahead of the courses I’m assisting in. Many of the theories are geared toward Cleric abilities, though, and I just don’t understand them. The classes regarding Turning are especially impossible for me. I just can’t get it. It’s no surprise, really. I have this strange mental blockage regarding anything undead that nothing will overcome. It really hasn’t affected me at all until I came here, so I don’t imagine it being too incapacitating once I’m out in the world, even if it does hinder my assisting abilities. I shall try my best to understand the theories, at least, even if I can never do it in practice. That way I shall be as useful as I can be.
I still feel a great deal as if I’m settling in here, not knowing anyone, one little blip in this University of thousands. The spring rains have just started to get fewer and fewer, and the short hillside outside my window is the deepest green. All-in-all I love it here, and hope to stay for – A student has just come in, and I must find a copy of the latest lesson.