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Fandom The Lions and the Deer


"The arcana is the means by which all is revealed"
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laude von iegan
It had been a long day, one that seemed to be never ending, but still Claude faced it with a smile. It felt like the endless introductions would never cease. Even as the new heir to House Riegan, plenty of people had never heard of him, making him an enigma to most. That was no surprise. In the eyes of the others he had popped up out of nowhere after all. House Riegan had no apparent heir then suddenly... POOF! There he was.

Questions surrounding such had been brought up by several of the more well informed nobles, particularly Lorenz. While such didn't bother him, Claude only slipped by with lie upon lie. Maybe no lies... No. He merely bent the truth of it all to avoid his actual origins. It was better for all if he did. Besides, it wasn't as if his entire story was a lie.

Luckily now, he seemed to be avoiding such troublesome questions. The other nobles attending the Academy under his house had finally left him be and the hour or so he had spent discussing with their to be professor had ended as well. Claude was free from such responsibilities- at least for the time being. Much like the other new students, he was free to enjoy their welcome ceremony. Now that was something he could get behind. He'd always been a sucker for letting loose. Such situations were far easier to ease into and have a little bit of fun. Maybe it would offer him time to poke at Lorenz and get back for his barrage of questions earlier or even better yet, let himself fade into the background for some grander scheme. Whatever that may entail.

The thought amused Claude. What kinds of things could he get up to while the watchful eye was off him? A snide smirk crossed his lips only to notice Hilda looking in his direction with her brows creased as if she knew he was plotting something devious in that head of his. When wasn't he? She would know best of anyone, though she didn't dare come over to ask. Instead, he watched as he attention shifted off him and she wandered off into the sea of students. Smart choice on her behalf.

"What to do...? what to do...?" the house leader quietly mused to himself as his pale eyes flickered around the room.

Idle chatter filled the air. Conversations of all kinds were happening, though none he could hear appealed to him. The generic "Hi, I'm..." and "Nice to meet yous" hardly appealed to him even if that was the whole point of this thing. Was he really supposed to take interest in the students outside the Golden Deer house? Claude didn't hate the idea, but it was more trouble than it was worth. He couldn't see benefit from such exchanges, although maybe he was being too negative around the whole matter. That was unlike him.

With a small shake of his head, Claude pushed himself from his place and strode across the large hall the event was hosted in. There wasn't any real thought inside his head at the moment, but that didn't mean e wasn't listening and watching. As oblivious as he could come off as, it was a mere facade to hide his rather astute mind behind. Surprise was always the best factor!

Nearing the table of foods and drinks, he watched students come and go, some grabbing more than others. Food and drinks aside, it was the best place to stake himself. If anything interesting were to come up, he was sure it would pass by at some point due to the sheer number of students passing by. He'd have to blend in though. That was no issue.

In one swift movement, Claude moved to the large bowl of what he presumed was a fruit juice of some kind, and he quietly filled himself a cup of it before stepping off to the side, attempting to blend himself in and appear inconspicuous.

steria somas
Her journey to get to this point had been a long one, yet here she was. To be standing among so many nobles and be considered their "equal" was an odd notion for Asteria to wrap her mind around. It was hard to believe she was even worthy to stand among them even if she had earned it through hard work and dedication to her own craft.

Her eyes flickered about the orientation party and her brows flattened. The more her eyes looked over the other students, the less she felt worthy. Hell, even among her own class it was clear she stood out like a sore thumb. For starters, their house leader was the prince himself. For a commoner like herself it was a mere honor to even get a glance at the high royalty, but here she was expected to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him and accept some kind of equality between them. Blasphemy!

The prince aside, that wasn't the end of the nobles Asteria would be schooling with on a daily basis. On his coattails were three other nobles, all bearing crests of their own and holding some kind of power within the Kingdom. Well... their families did at least. She had no claim like that. Her family served a noble and while that was an honor in itself, and one Asteria herself should have been following in the footsteps of, she had forged her own path. Perhaps it was no different though. She'd likely serve a noble as a knight instead of a baker like her parents.

Her mind would have continued running through the many reasons why she stood out among her class, but her attention was quickly drawn from the depths of her thoughts and forced to watch students pass her by. They were ones from the other classes. Even looking at them made her feel inferior and small, especially Edelgard. Watching her gracefully stroll past with Hubert and Ferdinand bickering behind her only caused Asteria to purse her lips. Did she really deserve to be here?

Confidence usually wasn't a problem for her, yet in the moment she felt devoid of it. She had never had these feelings while attending the school of magic back in Faerghus. Maybe it was because the number of high ranking nobles was far lower than here. Did that mean she had to diminish herself to nothingness? Probably not. Then why was she? Asteria couldn't even answer that question. A sigh slipped between her lips as she lifted a hand up to run through her messy, red locks. She was a mess and she knew it. She needed a way to make herself feel better.

Lifting her head once again, Asteria found her eyes roaming about once more. While other students busied themselves in friendly greeting here she stood. She wasn't the most social individual, but she wasn't exactly antisocial either. Even so, the thought of approaching another wasn't exactly the most appealing endeavor.

No... she had to do it! Sulking about wasn't going to make her feel any better and the whole point of this gathering was to get to know the other students. It didn't matter if she wasn't like them or not. She was still here!

Newfound conviction bubbled up in her chest and after a moment longer of searching the hall for a potential conversation partner, her pale red eyes landed upon none other than the Kingdom's prince himself. She could do this.

Her feet began moving on their own and in a matter of seconds she found herself marching over in Dimitri's direction, though as she neared, her advance abruptly came to a stop. The sight of Dedue lingering near the prince was enough to deter her from approaching any further. It wasn't as if she had some underlying issue with him. No... He was just tall. Very tall. That alone intimidated her.

Finding herself standing there like a wide eyed idiot, Asteria cast her gaze down. She was frozen in place. This couldn't be worse.
Felicity von Lundgren
Today could have been worse, Felicity tried to convince herself. She could have gotten lost on her way to the reception hall, or accidentally offended a classmate or another high ranking noble. She could have found herself on the receiving end of some monotonous prattle, like a few of her fellow students seemed to have fallen victim to by the looks of it. Luckily though, everything seemed to be going smoothly. So far.

Truthfully, this day felt more like a hindrance to Felicity than anything. Surely she would have time throughout the year to get to know her classmates. For now what she really wanted was to get her hands on some of the library’s more rare material. Half of the reason she enrolled in the Officer’s Academy in the first place was to bolster her research. Though she did suppose she also enrolled in order to take her place among Fódlan’s nobility.

Felicity didn’t really feel like a noble born though. She wondered if her classmates could tell. Would they shun her if they did?

Taking a deep breath in, she broke away from the sidelines and made her way around the room, taking the time to observe the other students carefully. If she wanted to acclimate to the Academy, then she would have to socialize, at least a little bit. Felicity quickly took note of the fact that she didn’t seem to be the only one who didn’t really want to be here. One of the Black Eagles was even trying to hide under a table!

Her time in Abyss meant she had developed an eye for the subtle ways in which people held themselves. She wanted to introduce herself to someone who seemed friendly enough. Everyone in her own house seemed nice enough, from what she could tell, which was a step in the right direction.

Finally, she decided that the best person to introduce herself to first would probably be her own house leader. His name was…Claude, right? It may have been a while since she caught up on the gossip, but she couldn’t quite put a face to the name. Being the heir of House Riegan, Felicity thought she would have heard of him before.

Looking around, she wondered what to even say. ‘Hello, I’m Felicity!’ - no, too casual. Or was it? Did she need to be more formal? What would be considered proper, or did formalities matter since they were classmates? ‘Good day, my name is Felicity von Lundgren, a pleasure to make your acquaintance’ - that didn’t sound like her and it seemed too cold. This was embarrassing - she should know how to hold a simple conversation!

A golden cape caught her eye and Felicity recognized its wearer as Claude. For a moment, she watched him carefully. There was something…not off about him, but like he was trying to keep out of the way. She knew what it meant to want to blend in. It was probably just the stress of being the new Golden Deer house leader. Hopefully she wasn’t overstepping by interrupting his quiet.

“Hello,” Felicity began as she approached him, trying not to catch him off guard before she could even start a conversation with him. “Um. I don’t believe I’ve introduced myself yet. My name is Felicity von Lundgren.” It was hard to try and hide her apprehension. Putting on a small smile and letting her shoulders fall, Felicity held out hope that she could make this work.

“My family’s territory is just north of the Adrestian border. Near Ordelia?” Ah, but he probably knew that already. “Anyways, I just wanted to come and say hello. I didn’t want to give you a negative impression of me on our very first day.” She explained quickly.

Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd

As Dimitri looked over the crowd of students, he kept a particularly close eye on his new classmates. As the brand new house leader, he wanted to make a good first impression on them. At least he already knew many of his fellow Blue Lions. Though Ingrid seemed more distant than he remembered and Felix regarded him with nothing but contempt, he at least knew them already. And Dedue was ever by his side. That much was a comfort in these new surroundings.

He even saw Edelgard walk amongst the crowd. Though he tried to start a friendly conversation with her, Dimitri was surprised to realize she didn’t seem to regard him with any sense of familiarity. Oh well. He would have other opportunities to talk to her. Perhaps she was just feeling overwhelmed from meeting so many new people.

Here at the orientation party, Dimitri made an effort to say hello to those he could. As the sovereign prince of Faerghus, he understood well the importance of first impressions.

Though he tried to appear friendly and down to earth, he noticed the distance that many of the other students had towards him, opting to regard him with more respect than perhaps he really deserved. Dimitri knew his status as the Faeghan prince kept them from regarding him as just another student, but he was still just that - another student! He would need to find some way or another to amend this gap.

But for now he was content to stand off to the side and watch the festivities from afar. He didn’t mind taking the time to be on his own, especially when everyone seemed to be having a good time. At least it gave him time to reflect and sort out his thoughts.

As always, Dedue followed at his side as he strolled along the sidelines. His presence was a nice constant, though he wished he would go and find his own potential friends. Eventually, Dimitri took a pause, standing just off to the side as a way to take a bit of a break.

Feeling like someone was watching him, Dimitri suddenly looked up, his gaze sweeping the reception hall before locking eyes with one of his classmates. Trying to search his mind to remember who she was, Dimitri smiled and approached her after telling Dedue he would be right back.

“Hello there,” He greeted warmly, noticing her unease and trying to reassure her. “You are…Asteria, correct? I do not believe we have been introduced you. I am Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd.” Dimitri introduced himself with a small bow. “My friend back there is Dedue. He is often by my side but please, do not let him scare you. I assure you we are both rather approachable.” He said with a small chuckle, hoping to put his new classmate at ease.

“Forgive me if I am overstepping, but what has brought you to the Officer’s Academy?” He asked curiously. From what he’s learned about a few of his other classmates, several of the Blue Lions came for the express purpose of becoming a knight, notably Ingrid and Ashe. “I only ask as a means of understanding my fellow students. I find it fascinating to learn about others.”

Dimitri tried his best to appear as friendly as he could. Though he didn’t care to admit it, he was tired of the formalities that everyone used around him. He knew it would take time to build bonds with everyone, but he supposed that was what this orientation party was all about. At least Asteria seemed nice enough.
laude von iegan
Claude's eyes were flickering about as he watched people come and go from the punch bowl, but nothing of interest seemed to poke its head. How disappointing. Here he thought some students would be blabbering away with some kind of useful gossip, but he was painfully mistaken.

His brows creased as he lifted his cup to try and hide the frown that had formed upon his lips. He couldn't afford anyone seeing him in such a manner. A sign of weakness would only open him for questions he wished to avoid. He much rather deal with the generic "hellos" and "how are yous" than talk about his feelings- the less desirable ones at least. Maybe he should have been careful what he wished for.

Felicity's hello was quick to reach his ears only seconds later and his pale eyes were quick to flick to her. Claude immediately recognized her as familiar though he couldn't put a name to it. Luckily, he wouldn't need to. She would offer her name, albeit in a rather passive manner. Was she nervous? Maybe, though maybe it was something else entirely. It didn't bother him. As elusive as he had been thus far, he didn't mind having a little chat.

Lowering the cup from his lips, his signature smile quickly made itself present. It was a small gesture, but he hoped it was something that could ease whatever nerves she might be feeling. He was an easy going man after all and he wished for those around him to feel as relaxed. Sure, some chided him for it, but he saw good in it. Besides, it helped hide any ulterior motives. Nobody could read him if he was relaxed and seemed casual about everything.

"It's nice to meet ya, Felicity," Claude greeted, giving her a curt bow of his head in attempt to be somewhat polite, though such things never really suited him. He was no stiff royal. In his eyes the formalities they had were beyond tiresome, but still, he was often nagged to at least try and act the part sometimes. "The name's Claude. Claude von Riegan, though I'm sure you already knew as much."

A cheery laugh escaped his throat, trying to keep things lighthearted as he rested his free hand against his hip and took in the rest of what she had to say. Her final statement certainly something that stood out. Did she really believe she would leave a negative impression on him if she didn't introduce herself? It was an amusing thought that only made the smile on his lips grow as he shook his head.

"No need to worry about negative impressions. I'm not one to judge so quickly." Claude could only hope those words would put her at ease. The last thing he wanted was a classmate feeling worried he might judge them harshly. Besides, he knew how that felt even if he didn't act like it. He was an outsider even if most were unaware of such a fact. Maybe that made him perfect for dealing with people who felt similarly or maybe it didn't. He didn't know. "You're a Golden Deer after all. It's only right that we'd put any negative judgments of each other aside and try to get along, right?"

Was that too optimistic? It felt like it, yet Claude had dared to let such words slip from his lips. If they helped it was all the better in his eyes.

steria somas
Despite her own freeze up, it seemed her idiocy would be overlooked. Asteria didn't know whether to feel lucky or not. It felt like an embarrassment no matter how she looked at it. Either way she needed to look presentable. This was the crown prince speaking. He deserved nothing but absolute respect.

Straightening her posture, she attempted to make herself somewhat presentable as Dimitri began speaking to her. As he asked if she was Asteria, she bobbed her head slowly before she politely curtsied. Was that even enough? Usually for an ordinary noble it might be, but it wasn't as if he was an ordinary noble. He probably deserved so much more respect than she knew how to give. She had never been privileged enough to be in close proximity to anyone of the royal family before. This was a first. Maybe she was overthinking it all. He didn't seem the least bothered speaking to a commoner like herself after all.

Asteria lifted her head after a moment and cast her gaze past Dimitri to Dedue as he was spoken of. She gave a slow nod of her head, though his words admittedly did little to ease her mind. It made her feel pathetic, although she shoved those feelings deep down in order to keep any extra attention off herself.

"It is a pleasure to be in your presence, your highness," she finally spoke, though she bite back a remark regarding whether she was worthy or not to be in his presence. "You are correct in you're assumption that I am Asteria. Asteria Psomas."

Most others would have had a fancy title to follow their name or even a claim to some crest, yet she had neither. She was nothing more than her name. As much as it bothered Asteria, it was yet another concern she kept hidden for now and she bore a smile instead. There was no possible way she was going to burden the Kingdom's prince with her own insecurities, especially upon meeting him. Collecting herself, she focused on his questions again in attempt to keep things going and not embarrass herself.

"Well, admittedly I am here on recommendation from the School of Magic back in Faerghus," she stated. It probably wasn't meaningful information, but it was something she had been proud of and was the one major accomplish she had for herself. "I was there studying to become a knight, but they believed my talents would be best nurtured here instead."

Her confidence seemed to be finding its way back to her the more she spoke. Even now Asteria stood with a glint of pride in her eyes and a bit more poise in her posture.

"Being from Southern Faerghus and with the state of the border, I figured this could be my way of keeping my home safe... You never know when bandits or random mercs will come raze a village after all."

Her head lowered as she spoke such words. Maybe those weren't things he was overly familiar with. He lived a life of royalty. It wasn't as if she knew what that entailed, though maybe he did understand such hardships given what had happened in Duscar. She didn't dare ask such questions though.
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Felicity von Lundgren

Felicity tried to relax as Claude smiled, folding her hands carefully in front of her. At least he seemed to have a sense of humor. Or, at the very least he was just trying to reassure her. Or maybe he was just amused by her unsureness. Whatever it was, she pressed on. “Ah. Yes. Perhaps it was a bit presumptuous to believe I would make a negative impression, I’m sorry.” She winced internally, realizing that any sort of apology probably wouldn’t help her case.

“I think I’m just eager to meet everyone,” It was a bit of a stretch to say she was excited to meet everyone. Truthfully she was fine with just exchanging pleasantries and calling it a day; maybe exploring around a bit or checking out the library before turning in for the night. But that wasn’t practical. Felicity knew that if she was ever going to reclaim her title as a noble, she needed to at least be friendly with her peers.

Besides, most everyone already seemed to connect with their classmates quite well. Especially since so many students seemed to know each other already, or had begun forming groups despite only knowing one another for such a short while. She didn’t want to be left out before the year even began.

Not that she was particularly enthused about socializing but that was a problem she would need to overcome one way or another. At least Claude was a good starting point. He seemed friendly enough. “It’s interesting to see how so many different people have come here. I’m curious to see what stories there are.”

That much was true. Just looking over the crowd, Felicity saw a few fascinating characters. Carefully returning her gaze to Claude, she wondered what his story was. She imagined it was a lot different than hers, considering he was the heir quite a large territory. Or perhaps it was boring or uneventful. After all, there must be a reason why Felicity had never heard of him before.

“Anyways, I still just wanted to introduce myself. I know you said not to worry about negative impressions -“ She continued, throwing her hands up slightly with a bit of a smile, trying to appear a little more relaxed, “But I wouldn’t be able to rest well if I knew I didn’t greet my own house leader on the first day. If I’m going to be honest for a moment though, I’m also not very familiar with anyone here.” Felicity admitted.

“It’s been some time since I’ve attended any sort of gathering. I wasn’t expecting so many people to already know one another.” It made sense though. Seeing as many of the noble’s families tended to work closely together, of course they would know one another already. And many of the commoners seemed tight knit already. Felicity knew she missed a lot of opportunities during her years on the run.

Strangely though, Claude didn’t seem particularly close with any of the students either, save for Hilda. Felicity wondered why. Was he more reserved than he appeared? It would explain why he stood to the side. Was he acting more friendly just to appease her? She wouldn’t be entirely surprised. It was part of the noble life to sometimes appear as something you weren’t. Hell, she didn’t even really want to be here! “I’m sure you know all about the other Golden Deer though.”

Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd

Dimitri shook his head with a kind smile. He wished she didn’t feel inclined to use such formal titles with him, especially when they were both just students, but he supposed he could let it slide just this one time. The year was just beginning, there was time to correct Asteria.

“Oh, so you’ve come from the Fhirdiad School of Magic?” He repeated with a keen tone. “Then I believe you’ll be happy to hear that you are in good company,” Quickly glancing around, Dimitri gestures towards two other Blue Lions who were in the middle of a conversation with each other. “Mercedes and Annette over there have both transferred from there too. From what I can gather they are both rather kind individuals.” Dimitri explained, hoping to use his knowledge on his house to seem more down to earth.

He was pleased to hear that he was right and that Asteria was looking to become a knight. With any luck Faerghus would have a handful of promising knights by the end of the year.

Dimitri’s smile dimmed as she spoke of bandits. It was his greatest dismay that his country was being razed by such people. “Yes, I…understand,” He mumbled. Unfortunately there was very little he could do to help at the moment. He was still too young to become king and until then his hands were tied. The feeling of being helpless in this matter frustrated him to no end. It was like he was useless! “Please believe me when I say I wish there was more I could do. It’s unfair to you and your village that you should be the ones suffering from this.”

“I do believe it’s admirable that you are stepping up to become a knight though. The path is not an easy one.”
Dimitri mentioned, noticing her confidence seemed to grow a bit the longer they spoke. That was good, maybe he could prove to her that they were equals if she was less unsure. Watching her carefully, he continued, “The knights would be lucky to have you, I think. Magic isn’t an easy art to master. I’m sure I couldn’t cast a spell even if I wanted to.” He insisted with a small chuckle.

He was more gifted with weapons anyways. The Crest he was born with granted him brute strength which was well suited towards his weapons of choice. Though it could be a bother whenever he needed to handle something more delicately. The amount of dishes he’s broken were astronomical.

“I hope you enjoy your time here, Asteria. I, myself, am quite looking forward to what I may learn here. Though I am also quite looking forward to meeting the students of the other houses. It would be nice to strengthen the bonds between our nations.” Dimitri quickly glanced towards Edelgard and Claude. It seemed like pure luck that all three heirs had enrolled at the Academy at the same time. He wanted to take advantage of that.

“How are you settling in so far, though? I hope it isn’t too difficult to get situated.” Considering she was from southern Faerghus, he could imagine the lofty and decadent halls of Garreg Mach could be hard to adjust to. Even he found it much different than the Fhirdiad palace.
laude von iegan
Claude could understand her feelings to some extent, albeit he was in a much different position than she was. Of course that was a mere assumption on his behalf, but he couldn't imagine anyone had the same odd circumstances as himself. Hell, the other nobles were still questioning where he suddenly popped up and doubted his lineage, though his crest did help in that behalf to prove he was in fact of Riegan blood.

"There are bound to be plenty of varying stories among the students here," he agreed with a small nod of his head as his gaze briefly left her and he quietly looked around the room of students. While he knew only a few of the students himself, he couldn't deny there was a lot of interesting things revolving around this years classes. it wasn't everyday all three heirs enrolled, but even beyond that the variety was rather intriguing. "Our class is a good mix of nobles and commoners alike. That in itself makes for an interesting dynamic."

Claude's eyes soon drifted back to her and he still wore his ever charming smile upon his lips. As Felicity continued on and mentioned she wasn't too familiar with many of the others, he couldn't help chuckling. He was hardly better in that regard even with the members of their own house. He had been given some background regarding them earlier in the day, but it was all rather baseline information such as names, ages, crests, and other common information that was given to the Monastery. There was nothing too in depth, making it hard for him to get much of a read on the students he hadn't been familiar with. He had to speak with each of them individually to get that much.

"If I'm being honest, I'm not overly familiar with everyone in our class," he openly admitted as he rubbed the back of his neck and let another chuckle slip from his lips. "I've spoken a small bit with each of them, but it was only enough to get a small feeling of what they're like on a surface level."

Surface level was hardly anything to go by though. He was a prime example of that. Anyone could know him on such a level a be nowhere close to understanding him. If anything, he was prone to misguiding people of his true nature. Most would think of him as someone without much of a thought in his head- a schemer who loved to be devious- yet he was far more than that, and far more observant than he lead on. Even now he was still taking in as much outside noise as he could in hopes of catching on to something interesting.

Brushing the thought off for the time being, Claude put aside his own surface level behavior and focused on what Felicity had said. As house leader, it was his job to help her be informed to the best of his abilities even if he didn't have the most information at hand. "Is there a classmate you're curious about? I can offer up any information I have."

Maybe that was too forward of him, but he left the offer on the table anyways. She seemed like the type to be a bit shy in her approach so maybe the information he could provide would offer her some insight into who she might find easy to talk to before even approaching them.

steria somas
As Dimitri mentioned two other students had come from the Fhirdiad School of Magic, Asteria's gaze followed his gestures. Neither girl looked familiar which was a bit of a surprise, but given she had only been there a short while before her recommendation here, she probably shouldn't be. She had been rather closed off most of her time there, spending most of her time in the library or taking private lessons with her instructors to quickly try and improve herself. Making friends hadn't been something she had done.

"Oh, well it's nice to know I am among good company then," she stated before looking back towards him. It was clear he knew much more about their classmates than she did, though she supposed that was to be expected. He was the house leader after all. Knowing such things was likely important and she assumed the likes of Claude and Edelgard were in the same boat.

Deciding to leave the topic at that, Asteria noticed how his demeanor slightly changed as she had mentioned her own situation. While she respected his words, she couldn't help but shake her head. He was as caring of his people as the rumors made him out to be, but even so she didn't want him thinking every burden was his own to bear, even if she wished there was more that could be done.

"If I may be blunt," she began as she looked directly into his eyes. She knew the words she was about to speak were bold of her, but she wasn't one to hold back often. Even if he was the crown prince, she would say what she found necessary. "Not everything falls on you. While I appreciate your concern, and I'm sure the people of my village would to, you are all but one person. Some may not understand that, but as I see it, people need to be willing to stand up and protect our home as well. I could have easily turned a blind eye myself, but I wish to ease the burden where I can."

To think she dared to speak such a piece of her mind to someone like Dimitri made solidified her confidence in the moment. Asteria could only hope he wouldn't find some kind of offence in how she spoke. She didn't think it was too out of line, but for a commoner to speak so boldly to someone of higher status... her parents would likely disapprove and ask she immediately apologize, yet she had no plans of such unless things got out of hand and she had struck a cord in him.

Clearing her throat after a moment, she relaxed herself once again and tried to back off the seriousness she had just dropped on him and return to a more lighthearted note. "Magic is no different than weapons themselves. Some are more gifted in the craft than others, but with enough practice I'm sure you too could wield it, even if only in a minor degree."

Offering a small smile with those words, Asteria brushed the stray strands of her hair out of her face before dropping her hands back to fold in front of herself as she thought over how she had been faring thus far. Adjusting to a place like this was certainly a lot. She'd never been to a place as grand before and for a commoner like her it was a lot to take in, but she was doing better than she had thought.

"Adjusting to a place like this is a rather major shift, I will admit, but I'm handling it better than I anticipated. I do believe I should be alright."
Felicity von Lundgren
“Truly?” She responded with a raised brow. Perhaps it was a bit presumptive of Felicity to assume that Claude already knew many of their classmates. By her count there were four other nobles in their class, not including either of them. Had he never become acquainted with any of them? He was their heir to the most influential noble house in the Alliance so it was very odd. At least she had the excuse of coming from a small territory.

But Felicity was getting ahead of herself yet again. She wasn’t one to pry into others lives. After all, she didn’t want others prying into hers. If she were to begin poking into places she didn’t belong, she would surely invite trouble for herself. Better to be safe than sorry.

“Hmm,” Felicity hummed at Claude’s offer. She was curious about most of her classmates. After watching from the sidelines, she at least knew most of their names. Marianne was an interesting character. So was Lysithea. And though his loudness uneasy to her, she had to admit Raphael seemed kind enough. But she didn’t want to talk about them behind her back when she hadn’t even talked to any of them herself yet!

“Well, I suppose I’ve told you a bit about myself. So now I think it would only be right if I gave you the opportunity to tell me a bit about yourself.” She finally decided that it would be ideal for Claude to tell her a bit about himself. She had already revealed a bit about herself, after all. It would only be proper if she allowed him to do so as well.

Additionally, she was a bit curious about him too. Though she herself had never met any of the others, she at least knew they existed. Though her parents didn’t often join in round table discussions, they did sometimes travel for political meetings. Never once did they mention the Riegan heir. It wouldn’t do if she knew absolutely nothing about her own house leader!

“Oh, but please! Don’t feel like you have to answer! I know I kind of sprung this conversation on you.” Felicity added quickly, realizing that it might have been too forward of a question. “I only ask because you say you don’t know much about the others. However, I’m sure you know plenty about yourself.” She tried to joke lightly with a small smile. Though she was slightly assured she wasn’t making a bad impression, she didn’t want to blow it now.

“My curiosity sometimes gets the best of me, I must confess. I don’t mean to overstep if I have.”

Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd

Dimitri was taken aback by Asteria’s words. Her perspective was curious to him. Did she truly believe it wasn’t his duty to protect her village? In a way, he supposed it wasn’t. After all, he didn’t live there, nor did he feel any personal loyalty to its residents. In that way, it wasn’t his responsibility. But they were still his people and they were suffering due to Faerghus’ instability. Whether she wanted to believe it or not that instability was in part due to the lack of a king. Dimitri needed to rectify that.

Her spirit was admirable though. She came from a difficult situation yet she was still determined to fix that. If only everyone could think like that. Maybe then they wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.

Not wanting her to think he was offended by what she had said, Dimitri grinned again, following her lead to a lighter topic. “I’m glad to hear it,” he responded with a small nod. Even he found the change to be a bit difficult. The Fhirdiad palace was definitely lonelier compared to the Monastery. And Garreg Mach was also quite a bit warmer. Faerghus was known for being a cold place but he didn’t think the change would be so noticeable.

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you were finding it difficult, though. Even I am having trouble adjusting. If it weren’t for Dedue I suppose I would still get lost on the way to wherever I was trying to go.” He said with a small chuckle, eying Dedue who stood not too far away.

“This Monastery is nearly one thousand years old and full of all sort of twisting passageways. I’ve heard rumors of secret tunnels that lead below ground though I think they’re just gossip. Even the Fhirdiad palace doesn’t have such a complex structure.” Dimitri commented, trying to be conversational before clearing his throat. “Suffice to say, I don’t think either of us will become bored with this scenery.”

Truthfully he didn’t see a whole lot of use in exploring either. Dimitri planned on spending much of his time training. That and perhaps finding more information about the Tragedy. Becoming stronger was at the forefront of his mind and while he did want to help his classmates grow, his quest was important to him too.

“Ah but speaking of the Monastery have you visited the training grounds yet? It’s a great space to get some practice in. I hear there’s a beginning of the year mock battle to assess our skills.”
laude von iegan
Maybe Claude should have expected her question, but admittedly it took him by surprise, though he didn't let such emotions show on his facial features. Talking about himself wasn't the easiest thing. Well... at least not his true self. If others knew him for who he really was then he was sure all hell would break loose. His origins weren't exactly something most people took kindly to. An outsider like himself was often looked down upon. It didn't matter where he went; Fodlan... Almyra... on both sides he was treated harshly by people due to his mixed blood. It was tiresome, though it had given him a goal to work towards. That wasn't what he needed to think about right now.

"You want to learn more about me, huh?" he chuckled, pushing whatever concerns he might have had aside. They weren't anything for Felicity to worry about. "Well, where do I even begin."

He paused for a moment and stroked his chin in thought as he pondered what to tell her, ignoring the fact that she thought she had overstepped some kind of boundary. The whole point of this event was to get to know each other. Claude couldn't fault her for asking such a simple question even if she seemed to think otherwise.

"Well, I guess I can start with something simple. Most people in the Alliance are curious of it after all..." he trailed off momentarily as he briefly thought of how he wanted to word his next statement. That was always the difficult part about it. Tiptoeing around the truth was a thin line. He never wanted to reveal too much, but also avoid being too vague and causing more questions to arise than need be. "Everyone always wants to know where I suddenly came from. Truth is, my family is an offshoot of the Riegan bloodline and when there was no immediate heir, well, I was brought in due to my crest. Not too exciting."

A hearty laugh escaped his lips, figuring it probably wasn't exactly what she wanted to learn about him right off the start. Still, it was the question that often seemed to be at the forefront of everyone's minds. He had to explain it so many times before yet it never became any easier. His lie was easy to slip up on after all, though perhaps he was so far down it that it had become second nature by now.

"Maybe that wasn't really what you were hoping to learn," Claude decided to continue on as his hand moved to rub the back of his neck as yet another chuckle slipped from between his lips. "Is there something specific you'd like to learn?"

It was a bold question on his behalf, given the possibilities it could bring up and the number of things he may not want to talk about. The best case scenario was being asked a simple question like his favorite color or maybe even his preferred combat style, though part of him doubted it would be that way. There was no telling if others would be as prying as Lorenz was and he wasn't looking forward to it.

steria somas
Asteria was relieved her words hadn't caused any issues, though she still couldn't believe she had been confident enough to be so bold towards the crown prince. Then again, maybe they had and he was silently sparing her. It was hard to say. Either way, he didn't vocalize any distaste which put her at ease.

As the topic shifted away from such matters, that sense of relief only heightened in her. They seemed to be on the same page with keeping things lighthearted. It was for the better. The last thing she wanted was to leave a bad impression of herself, though she supposed even with the shift it didn't mean she hadn't give him a bad view of her. She couldn't regret it now. She meant it all.

Pushing it to the back of her mind, Asteria listened to him mention rumored passages beneath the Monastery and she felt a spark of curiosity hit her. While she wasn't the most adventurous type, the prospect did intrigue her. If such tunnels did exist, then what purpose did they have? Where did they lead? Was some kind of secret hidden within them?

Such thoughts felt like a mere fantasy, one she'd only read about in books. Even with the thought of the mysteries that could be solved if the rumors were true, she had to remind herself they were merely rumors. People spread such things to pull in others and get them chasing after lies. There was also the off chance it was something former students passed on as some kind of prank and it was a tradition that was fondly upheld. She supposed it didn't matter which it was. It was a distraction waiting to happen and she'd have to put it aside despite her own personal interest.

"I can agree on that," Asteria finally spoke as she nodded her head. "For someone like myself, it's not often I'd find myself in a place like this. This place almost feels bigger than my entire village. It's certainly a huge change of pace. Even the School of Magic doesn't compare."

Her eyes briefly left him as she looked around the hall they were currently in. Even this structure was quite something in her eyes. Its tall ceilings and beautiful stain glass windows were picturesque to the likes of her. There was nothing that even came close to it back home.

"I imagine I'll be getting lost often here simply because of the sheer amount of places and scenery to be had."

Or maybe she wouldn't be. Even with so many places to explore, she'd likely post herself in the library most days. She had to prove her worth after all. Money hadn't bought her way into this position and she felt a strong duty to prove why she had been chosen. In a way, it would likely be no different than her time at the School of Magic. She'd isolate herself and study into the late hours of the night. Friends likely wouldn't be a thing for her, making all this time useless to her, yet she didn't say a word about it.

Her thoughts snapped as Dimitri asked if she had been to the training grounds and mentioned an upcoming mock battle to assess their skills. It was the first she was hearing of it. "I have not been to the training grounds yet. Most of my time has been spent adjusting to such a major shift in scenery, though if we are supposed to mock battle, then perhaps I should. While I have no worries on my magic abilities, my lance skills probably could use some work."
Felicity von Lundgren
Felicity slightly tilted her head as Claude spoke. Ah, so there was some curiosity among his origins. She supposed that matched with what she wondered. “I admit that I wasn’t aware of all the interest in you background,” She replied, “I just figured that since I’ve never heard of you it was due to my family’s detached relationship with most of the other noble houses. I haven’t personally met any of our other classmates until today either.” It was easy for her to brush off the simple response. It was easy enough to believe Claude was from an offshoot family and she had no reason to believe it was a lie.

She laughed slightly and shook her head at him. “Oh, I don’t mind. I’m sure you’re used to giving that explanation all the time if people are as curious as you say.” Felicity reassured with a small smile.

“Well…” Felicity began, thinking for a moment. Something specific? She wasn’t sure, especially because she barely knew Claude. What would be a good question to ask someone you hardly knew? From the way he answered her first question, Felicity wondered if he was a bit guarded, or maybe tried to guess what other people were thinking before they spoke. It would explain why he answered her question by talking about his birth family. It could also be that he was simply so used to telling the same story that he subconsciously explained it before she could ask.

Perhaps it would be safest to ask an easy question. Felicity already worried that she was looking too deeply into things. “What do you like to do? What are your hobbies?” That wasn’t a bad question! Everyone had hobbies, and it told a lot about them.

“That might not be the type of question you were expecting…but I find people’s interests to be very telling.” Felicity always did her best to read people. It wasn’t as easy - nor the same - as reading a book, but she found that people tended to reveal a lot about themselves in all the little things. The way they stood, they spoke, how they interacted with others, it all told parts of a larger story. Sometimes it was almost fun for her to watch how an interaction unfolded. Unless she was part of such an interaction. She wondered how much she gave away about herself. She wasn’t exactly the best liar. Or the best at interactions. At least she was good at deflection.

“Personally, I enjoy riding horseback and reading,” she shared with a small grin. “There’s no better feeling than being able to ride as fast as I can. Though, ah, I admit it’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to go out for a ride.” Her smile fell ever so slightly at her statement. True, it’s been some time since she’s been able to hone her talents. Being on the run meant very little time for pleasure.

“Hopefully I’ll change that soon enough. I hear the Monastery has excellent stables. And a library! I must spend time getting acquainted with its knowledge.” Felicity paused as she realized she was beginning to ramble. Here she was talking about herself when she asked Claude a question, how rude of her! “I apologize for going on. Er, please, tell me about yourself.”

Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd
“I can imagine so. Most villages in Faerghus don’t quite compare. Though I haven’t thoroughly explored quite yet, I do believe Fhirdiad castle is nearly the same size as this Monastery. It really is quite remarkable.” He chimed.

Asteria’s words piqued his interest, particularly when she mentioned she used the lance. It seemed uncommon for someone to both be skilled in magic and weapons. He wondered where she was able to find the time. Maybe she was like him and spent much of her waking hours training. Rarely did a day go by that he didn’t spend hours practicing and sparring. If it weren’t for Dedue he would probably live in the training grounds. He even found himself getting frustrated when he spent too long away from his training. He couldn’t fault anyone but himself though, he had too much to fight for.

“Oh, I hadn’t realized you used the lance. We seem to have that much in common. Perhaps, if you would like, we can train together,” Dimitri offered with a pleasant smile. It would be the very least he could do. As house leader it was his duty to ensure all his classmates were performing the best they could, even more so as a prince. Besides, there was no better practice than a spar against a teammate. “I’m rather curious to see where you stand in terms of skill, if you don’t mind me saying. Maybe we could practice together after this little welcoming party…”

Feeling eyes on him, Dimitri quickly glanced to Dedue, seeing a disapproving frown on his face. Right, there was more to the Academy than training. He could already hear the words Dedue would likely share with him. “Ah, or maybe another time. I suppose it would send a poor message if I were to spend all my time in the training grounds.” He conceded quietly, like he was speaking to both Asteria and himself. It would be unbecoming for someone like him to spend day in and out in the training grounds. He didn’t want to come across as antisocial or disinterested.

“Still, if ever you would like to train, I would be more than happy to face against you in a spar or two. Our classmate, Felix, might also enjoy a good challenge, but, well, between you and I, he tends to be a little…over competitive.” He said with a small chuckle. “What I mean is, you have no lack of opportunity when it comes to practice.”

Oh, but there he goes again, talking about training and practice when that wasn’t the purpose of this event. He really should try harder, especially when Asteria was trying so hard to be polite. “Forgive me, Asteria, I didn’t mean to drone on. I suppose now you can see I have a particular interest in training.” Dimitri apologized sheepishly. “Believe me when I say I’m also looking forward to getting to know you and the rest of the class”

He already knew a few of his classmates from childhood, and Dedue of course. But ever since the tragedy they had been…distant. He hoped he could find some sort of equal footing this year, even if by accident. At least he didn’t have a bitter history with everyone, Asteria being an example. It might be nice to start fresh. She seemed pleasant, after all.
laude von iegan
As Felicity spoke, Claude was quick to realize he could have avoided sharing his little lie with her, though perhaps it didn't matter anyways. It was bound to be something she heard eventually whether it came from his lips or not. To most nobles it was an important such a thing. He was sure they'd talk about it whether he liked it or not, especially if someone like Lorenz was involved.

Pushing the thought aside, he decided not to let such things bother him. The conversation needed to move in a different direction, and that it did. As he was asked what kinds of hobbies he partook in, his brows furrowed a bit and he hummed softly in thought. It was a generic kind of question, one Claude himself should have expected. He couldn't say his answer to such a question was overly exciting either.

He'd keep himself quiet though as she went on to speak of her own hobbies first. They were ones he took a mild interest in, though he preferred flying compared to horseback riding. Still, the concept was similar and he could respect it. Her mention of the library also caught his attention. While most wouldn't consider him the type, he did tend to bury his nose in books rather often, albeit much of his reading was about schemes he could pull off to mildly hinder opposing troops or about Fodlan's history given his teachings of it back home had been vastly different than what was taught here.

"Riding, eh? I can't say I do much of it myself, though I admit I have enjoyed it in the past, although I much prefer it be atop a wyvern than a horse," Claude admitted with a smile. Even though she had rambled, he didn't mind all too much. It was nice to chat and not have to drive the conversation himself, even if he was an extroverted, talkative individual. When she gave him the go to speak, he simply nodded.

"My hobbies, huh?" he mused as he momentarily rubbed his chin. "Well, I do enjoy playing board games, like chess or similar games, and a bit of harmless scheming never hurts to partake in either."

Those hardly scratched the surface of his interests, but Claude believed they spoke volumes of who he was as a person. His enjoyment of board games indirectly hinted as his interest in tactics and the intricacies that came with them, though his love for schemes and harmless pranks almost counteracted that very notion. However, it could also be taken as him using schemes to divert from other things. It was how he went about most things after all; he'd say or do one thing to draw attention away from his true intentions or thoughts. It was the best way to keep people on their toes.

"Perhaps I could indulge you in the schemes I plan to use for the upcoming Mock Battle." A laugh briefly slipped from his lips before he shook his head almost immediately after he spoke. He knew he wouldn’t open up on his plans, not even to his own housemates. "Or maybe not. A little surprise is always more fun."

steria somas
It hadn't crossed her mind that Dimitri wielded a lance. She obviously knew the had used some kind of weaponry, though what exactly what, she hadn't been sure. Maybe she should have known given which Heroes Relic belonged to the Royal Family's bloodline. She would keep her own idiocy to herself though.

"Oh I assure you my skills with a lance were hardly above those of an amateur," she admitted with a sheepish smile upon her lips as she rubbed the back of her neck. While she could wield a lance well enough to fight, she was far from skilled with it. "I'm sure practicing with someone like me would only be a hindrance to your own training."

The last thing Asteria wanted to do was slow another down with her novice skills. She knew how that felt already. It had happened when she had first discovered her magical prowess. Sure, she had talent, but how to use said talent had been a different story. Early on she had greatly frustrated the one mentor she had managed to find in her village. She had only felt like an inconvenience to him, which was what eventually led her to seeking other outlets like the School of Magic. Maybe she was overthinking it though. This was a place of learning after all. It was entirely possible that the others were more willing to help her than she assumed.

"But if you would like to see my skills with your own eyes, then I suppose it would be rude of me to turn down such an offer. It would serve as a good learning experience even if I am severely outclassed."

Severely outclassed might even be an understatement barring Dimitri's own skills, but knowing he was the crown prince, she could only assume he was adept in combat, though then again there was a number of nobles who hardly were fighters. It was possible he too could fall into that category. If that was true though then what reason would he have for attending an academy like this?

As Dimitri mentioned another one of their classmates, Asteria couldn't help letting a soft chuckle rumbled from the back of her throat. From how he spoke of this Felix, she could tell he knew him rather well. It was nice to know he could offer such in sights on their classmates even though they hadn't been at the Monastery for more than a day. It told her that even if he didn't openly express it, he cared about those around him.

"Do not worry about droning on. I do not mind it one bit," she assured him as her smile seemed to soften an she offered an appreciative look in his direction. "Actually, I must admit, it is quite nice to see that you are willing to train with even the likes of me. I guess I would have never thought someone like the crown prince would take interest in training or even speaking to a simple village girl like myself. Perhaps I am too used to doing everything myself because of my position that I've put such a thought in my own head."

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