Once inside they saw the marvels of the interior of the building. The first place anyone sees, who enters the Academy is the Blue Hall. This hall was more of a hallway than an actual large open place, but the combination of magicore lights and spells from the teachers of the Academy turned it into something different. The ceiling was blue due to the lights, but it was constantly shifting, slightly changing color. In different areas, there was a different shade of blue. Always varying always changing, almost as if it was alive. The constant change and the blueness together produced the feeling of water, as if there was a river flowing upside down above one’s head. On the sides of the hallway, there were statues of the previous prides of the Academy. Altogether nine statues, each displaying archmages who previously learned their craft here. Naturally, these statues were also lit in blue.
They proceeded to the central corridors. This was where their way parted. Ignatius went to the third floor to meet up with the headmaster of the Academy, while Henriette headed to the ballroom.
When Henriette arrived at the ballroom it was already crowded. People were everywhere. The relatives of the graduates and the rest of the common folks were seated in front of the stage set up for the speeches, while the influential people got their seats at one of the balconies. Henriette was surprised, there were a lot more people than she expected. After her brief moment of awe, she noticed how sparsely decorated the ballroom was. The ballroom in its normal state was highly exclusive, and it was only opened for special occasions, but right now hardly anything implied that the event that is going to be held here will be a graduating ceremony. This was the first time Henriette attended such a ceremony, so she didn’t know what to expect, but in her opinion, within the excessively glorious style of the Academy, this ceremony seemed to be a bit pale. She hardly thought through all this, an organizer came to her, and led her behind the stage.
Her speech was ready. She wrote it herself, she knew pretty much what she wanted to say, how she wanted to talk and how she had to act. The closer her speech came, the calmer she felt. Most people would have become more nervous, but she didn’t. As a matter of fact, after the rushing all day long, she was a bit tired, but she could by no means show this. She wasn’t just any student, she was the best there is, what’s more she wasn’t just a nobody, she was representing her homeland.
Henriette was silently preparing backstage, rehearsing her lines. A staff member or two came up to her every now and again to check on details, but asides from that everything went smooth. The ceremony started. This gave an unconscious signal for her, she stopped preparing. She was fully ready, so she enjoyed the show as much as she could from backstage, and when the time finally came, she stepped up on stage, to hold her most important speech of all times.
-Dear students and guests!
-We are gathered here for a very special occasion. Today, the wonderful graduate students of Maar Academy of Magic finally became full-fledged mages!
Henriette hardly started her speech, but it was already time for her first demonstration. At first, she did not like the idea of showing off the special magics of her home, but she had to accept the fact that this was the most effective way for her to impress the crowd in front of her.
Karsh, her home, was the only place in Midgard, where people could actually develop the abilities of time manipulation. In a way, every citizen of Karsh felt special because of this, yet no one really liked to showcase their unique capabilities. Outsiders were often terrified, partly because time-related magic was indeed a force to be reckoned with, but mostly because they did not understand. For some reason, outsiders could not execute spells that manipulate time.
Henriette closed her eyes and bowed her head slightly. Only a moment passed for her, but when she opened her eyes everyone around her in the ballroom stopped moving. She froze time. With slow, somewhat melancholic steps she walked down from the stage right to the center of the audience. She never liked this state. Everything around her felt dead. She knew very well, that others disliked this state as well, although most people didn’t even notice a thing, but those who did were truly frightened in the presence of Karshians. These fears were justified. Right now everyone in the ballroom was at her mercy, for this infinitely small moment of time she became the almighty judge of life and death in the room. She, however, had far less menacing reasons for doing this. Her only aim was to impress. When she stopped her spell she was right in the middle of the audience. Once time moved at its regular pace, she continued her speech.
-As a student of this academy, I can tell you studies here were sometimes not easy. Mastering spellcraft is difficult, not everyone can do it, but those who graduate today all did it. Fine young sorcerers willing to devote their skills for the best!
She held a small pause so everyone in the audience could understand what just happened. Many were still gazing at the stage where she stood a moment ago, while others looked at her with utmost astonishment. Her speech was short, but she already reached her next performance. She was an expert in time magic, but it always surprised her, how perception of time varies from situation to situation. She knew her whole act just started a few minutes ago, but it felt like hours for her. One more sentence before the next spell… She bowed as she said her next line.
-Allow me to hand out a small pamphlet about our graduates.
And while she was still bowing time stopped again. She had to go backstage get the pamphlets, give everybody one in the audience. It took her several turns to get everyone a pamphlet. This was especially tedious as the balconies were also filled with guests. After she finished she went to her new location back on stage. She let the normal flow of time continue with a rather excessive gesture and continued her speech. The audience could hardly keep up with her sudden change in location.
-Now that you’ve all got one, please spare a moment and read about the greatest achievement of our graduates while the orchestra of the Academy gets ready to perform.
She bowed again as she finished her last sentence. The reaction of the audience was great applause, but it was obvious, that only a few understood what actually happened, and those who did understand were all shocked. The ceremony continued as planned.
Henriette silently left the stage as the orchestra started their wonderful music. She did not like what she just did, but she understood the importance and necessity of it. Her home, Karsh, needed Charr, and Charr needed Karsh. She had to relay a simple message: Charr is supported by Karsh. Little did she know that Karsh was about to be erased from the history of Midgard forever…