Swashbuckling Vixen of Shaleback Arcane Universitie
A bit of an arcanic prodigy the girl Hibiscus showed more raw gift than many of her counterparts over the years. The gift of magic ended the same for hundreds of other children across Greystone. Descending from blank sky like vultures upon weakened prey bids for the girl and her parents’ attention collectors sought to gain a body and mind with aptitude for the arcane. Magic is quite the commodity, as much for its scientific and practical applications as for its capabilities to bolster the ranks of Greystone’s mage corp in the endless war against Nexora. Magic no doubt had played a none-too-small part in the yawning gash between the two countries, the Scar of the World. But mere distance and the faint echoes of foreshadowed cataclysm are not enough to cull the belly fire of war from mortal minds.
Like a farcical and glossed over slave auction Hibiscus fate was bought in coin and favors by the high bidder. Leaving her parents and far simpler life behind her with the sugared lies of returning soon and often to the parochial scene the girl blazed the roads north and wound into the arched spine of the Shaleback Mountains. Left by her new patron and guardian with a self-satisfied smile at the bud of his investment the doors of the Arcane Universitie shut behind the girl and with them any simplistic notion of returning to her provincial origin.
The better part of the first year within the walls of the Universitie Hibiscus spent as small, dark blur of terror. From the first bell tolls of the morn long past the final peal of day the girl wreaked havoc on all she could. It was difficult for most children, the immediate and forced isolation from their parents and former life. She found many co-conspirators but Hibiscus, the pint-sized hellspawn too smart for her britches, dwarfed the others. A caged tiger she lashed out at any fool with utter disregard for his or her intentions. But even the wildest colt will break in time and as she and her like-aged compatriots grew older their resistance washed away. The mightiest oak no match for the storm by itself. Once their shared passion lapsed the other children found Hibiscus strange and dangerous. Her ire no longer aimed at the Universitie it feel upon the backs of her peers. Children, simple and awed by the world about them also are brutally cruel. Her schoolmates cast the girl a pariah early and it was a blow she would never truly recover. Hibiscus made friends and they floated in and out of her life, leaves down the path of a stream. Crippled by loneliness and occasionally bouts of depression the girl reached out to the only ones willing to spare her a moment of attention. Hibiscus’s instructors spent some hours with her, worried by her temperament and of course the need to cultivate the bud of whom her benefactor so highly paid the stabling. Still things did not improve so well as they might, the adults of Shaleback had their own schedules and responsibilities and often Hibiscus was left to her own devices. She plied her energies to school as the arcane came easily but the emotions always grew to the boiling point in the background. In a couple rare occasions Hibiscus had been found under a table in the library between spires of stacked books in the middle of a raving nervous breakdown.
Hibiscus was forced to the books of the Universitie’s libraries. Her peers were too boorish or too callous to keep her attentions and those of her instructors she did find agreeable often were busy with running the school. But within the library’s tomes were collected people of caliber enough to be immortalized with ink and binding so the future might learn from them. Once the girl found her attention better spent on departed spirits rather than the flesh and blood people of her setting she began to question her time at the Universitie. True she had learned much, but why should she be tamed for the use of a man she had met briefly years ago. With new vigor she began to pour over the library’s tomes with renewed vigor to find some mystery or unknown to unravel.