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Chapter 2: Professor Marie Lal

Dawn jumped when all six doors to the classroom closed and audibly locked at once. A woman--obviously the teacher--stalked in from one of the aisles to take her place in the center of the classroom. "I hope everyone is here," she said dryly. "I don't tolerate lateness."

Several people around the room giggled, including Corrie. Dawn couldn't: she was too busy staring at the woman. When she'd walked in, Dawn had only gotten a vague impression of cinnamon skin and a mass of curly dark hair. But now that she was standing in the middle of the room, turning slowly to survey the students, Dawn could see her clearly. And what she saw surprised her more than almost anything that had happened to her at this school so far.

Her body shape was ordinary enough, from what Dawn could see under her skirt, tall boots, and dark blouse. There was no tail or misshapen legs. But there were long, delicately pointed ears sticking through those curls; the fingers were unnaturally long, ending in dark points; and when she turned and faced Dawn's direction, her eyes were nothing but a huge expanse of black, the tiniest bit of spark shining in the center. She tried not to show her shock, but the teacher raised one eyebrow, then smiled slowly before turning away.

Dawn looked around the classroom wildly. Had anyone else seen what she just had? They looked interested, but not surprised or frightened. She forced her breathing to slow and her heart to stop racing. So far, the teacher didn't seem to be any threat, for all that she'd locked all the doors with seemingly no effort. If there was any threat, she knew how to go about dealing with it, at least.

"Welcome to Introduction to Magic," the woman announced. "I am Professor Marie Lal; you may call me Professor Marie or Professor Lal, whichever you're more comfortable with. As you can see, I know what I'm doing, and I don't have patience with those who refuse to learn. If you're taking this class, you had better be prepared to do what is needed." She smiled, softening her hard visage. "Now, why don't you all introduce yourselves to me? Start here," she slapped one of the desks nearest her, making the thin, pale boy seated in it jump, "and go around in an increasing spiral. Tell me your name and why you're taking this class."

The boy cleared his throat nervously. "My name is Brian," he said, "and, well, I want to learn magic." Several people laughed, which seemed to give him confidence; he smiled. "It's a really unusual skill and I think it would be more helpful in the real world than most other college degrees."

The introductions went on. Just like when the people living in Gilkey had introduced themselves, Dawn found it difficult to keep track of them all. The blonde girl sitting in front of them was Roe, and Corrie whispered that she lived down the hall from them. That would be where Dawn had seen her before, then.

She and another girl, Lin, who was Asian and had very short, shiny black hair, had something unusual in common: both were taking the class, and indeed had made the decision to come to Chatoyant College, because they had magic talents that they hoped would be trained here. Roe said she had random prophetic visions; Lin shifted uncomfortably in her seat and asked if she could talk to Professor Marie about it later. She nodded agreeably at both of them and told them that the college could certainly help them, and they'd receive as much training as they wanted.

Dawn wondered whether she should tell about her Sight when it came her turn. But she decided against it. The professor surely already knew that she could see her true self; no one else really needed to hear about it. Besides, the question was why she was in the class, and she'd signed up for it long before she even knew faeries existed. "My name is Dawn," she said when the introductions reached her, "and I'm in this class because my aunt Pru went here and learned magic, and she loved it. She's an artist and her magic helps her with her work, so I figure I can learn something useful, too."

Professor Lal's eyebrows shot up when Dawn mentioned Pru. She nodded slowly. "I believe I knew your aunt when she was a student here. Hmm. Would you also speak to me after class, Dawn?"

Startled, Dawn could only nod, though her stomach churned in anticipation of the discussion that was to come. Professor Lal, not seeming concerned at all, nodded to Corrie to go next.

Comments

First post!

Introduce themselves in a spiral, eh? Some magic in the introductions, then. :D
So far, the Prof sounds fun.

Heh

I didn't even think of that! It just seems like the logical way to introduce a group when they're all sitting in layered circles... really it's more like introducing them in concentric circles, rather than a spiral.

For reals?

You've never heard the concept of doing magic in spirals? I thought that was one of the more common themes. Maybe I'm off my rocker, but I know of several storylines that use spirals and circles as integral to the magic. See Anne Bishop's Pillars of the World trilogy for an example. Warning: it does get a bit racy in her books.

That's not what I meant!

I've certainly heard of spirals and circles being magical. I just didn't think of it in this situation. I'm sure they will use spirals later on!

Hmmm

I wonder if Pru also had the Sight?

There's only one thing I would change about your serial novel....I wish You'd post like 20 chapters a day so I wouldn't run out of stuff to read. I hate waiting days for stuff to be posted :P

u&me both!

I work 12-hour shifts, so I need lots to do.

No pressure, Clare. ;)

One tiny nitpick....

I love this story even if I don't regularly comment, so please don't take this criticism as some anonymous poster being harsh.

The way this chapter started was rather jarring for me; I had to go back and read the last paragraph of the previous chapter to understand. A moment after what? It is probably mostly due to it being in serial form rather than being able to flow seamlessly from one chapter to the next. Perhaps the last paragraph from the previous chapter might be better as the opening chapter of this one? It doesn't seem to add much to the first chapter and might provide a clearer beginning to this one. Just my two cents.

Hm

You may be right. I didn't see a specific good place to split these chapters so I just did it where the wordcount worked. (And, of course, they flow right together when I'm writing them so that sort of thing doesn't always occur to me.)

Anyone else have any input? Jarring, not jarring?

I'm glad you like the story!

I agree, it seemed jarring to

I agree, it seemed jarring to me too...
Also : I'm actualy HAPPY yon don't post more often / longer chapters, because that's probably the only reason I get anything ELSE done at my computer...
Great story :-)

RE: Hm

It is a little jarring if you are just reading this chapter. If you remove the phrase "A moment later" and start from there it works fine.

Love the story and can't wait to see how Ever comes back into the story. (If only as a topic of conversation between the girls.)

That's the ticket

I read it directly after #1 so I got it, kinda, but if I had come back a day or two later I would have been tripping all over myself wondering what "A moment later" was later than. Just drop that, and the first sentence will naturally gel with Ch. 2.1 once the reader thinks back a little.

OK, I'm convinced

I guess it's one of those things that would work in an ordinary book, but sometimes a serial has to work a little harder.

Don't beat yourself up

I frequently read the last paragraph/sentence of a chapter before moving on. This isn't the first time this has happened, but I figured that you might do a compilation or something later on and it wouldn't matter as much.

That's cool

Have a fae teach a magic class, that would be one of the best teachers for that class too.
Poor Dawn is a little scared of her teacher, at least she saw a couple of fae before otherwise she might have tried to leave the room running if she had not before.

well i thought it flowed fine

well i thought it flowed fine though the chapters. i love this story and i like how it is posted throughout the days also. i remember fine what happened the chapter before and all the people who dont just have a bad memory because it isnt that far after that this was posted that you would forget what happened. love it! :D

Awww

Thank you! I'm glad you are enjoying the story.

Interesting

I like her, so far. I don't think Dawn's interview will be as harrowing as she's worried it might.

As far as the end/beginning thing goes, I obviously read it after you made the change, since I don't see any 'a moment later', but I think I see what was going on. It would be a hard choice to split. I might actually tack the jumping onto the last one, to give it an ending beat; that or stretch that moment over both parts. Something like

    The teacher wasn't quite late, but surely someone ought to be there soon. Just as she thought that, all six of the doors into the room closed with a snap.
    ---
    Dawn jumped, and winced again as the doors audibly locked, apparently by themselves. Of course, she chided herself, this is magic class after all.

    A woman...etc.

Of course, I like that because I just wrote it; may not be your style. Looking that over again, it could work just as well to leave this chapter as it is and just add some sort of ending tag on One's final sentence, either like the one I used there or something else. Or, of course, you could leave everything as it is and tell me thanks but no need to be nosy. ;-)

Regardless, 'twas a fun chapter, and I shall proceed to the next.

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