I admit, I'm slow. Mostly, my brain has already moved on and I end up completely missing the punchline.
Ch 19. Taryn Ravenheart-Grandmaster Diviner A wizard of no small consequence:*
Taryn's first 6 months in the Spiral were spent on Quests. Zipping through her courses and achieving honors marks were her obsession. As with everything in her life, if it could be done well and be done shortly, that was the Goal. Mostly because if it takes Too Long, she wanders off and forgets what she was doing or where she was going. After receiving higher education in the Mundane World and discovering Anything Anyone Would Ever Want to Know is available almost free of charge through the Online World (and by physically acquiring first hand experience) the decision to attend an institution of education in the Art of Magic seemed like nothing more than a mildly entertaining diversion.
She was quite unaware that her life experiences and desire for new challenges would enable her to become not only a proficient student of Magic, but a Wizard of such high standing and ability as to assist her fellow students and comrades in defeating the malevolent force of Malistaire Drake. After which it was revealed that the former Professor of Death was actually a mis-guided widower overwhelmed with grief and rage at the loss of his wife; unable in his command of the Loss of Life to actually accept losing it.
Having received highest accolades and graduating much sooner than she had anticipated, Taryn felt the Spiral and the Worlds of Magic no longer held anything of interest for her. She just didn't have the attention span needed to battle proficiently in the Arena against other Wizards, nor did she feel comfortable hanging around her Alma Mater, regaling new students with the tales of her great achievements and adventures. And yet, her desire to return to the Mundane World had waned. She no longer felt at ease in either existence. She was sure there had to be as yet unexplored reaches of the Spiral! That this simply could not be all there was to achieve and experience!
During a brief encounter with a brilliant and handsome young wizard, it was revealed to her that some of the miscreants she had defeated during her campaign to rid the Spiral of evil were once again causing terror and suffering among the worlds. She learned that it was also whispered in the classrooms and dorms that new worlds that had long been cut off from Wizard City were sending emissaries imploring Headmaster Ambrose to send aid, wizards skilled in battle and in diplomacy. It was rumored that creatures of all types from all worlds and places far flung about the Spiral were being captured and held by many of these Monsters. Some were enslaved sentient beings. Some were the creatures of the forests and plains, of oceans and skies. All were being trapped and mistreated sorely.
Taryn recognized her opportunity to continue serving the peoples of the Spiral and to Champion a cause which was already dear to her, Animal Well-being. She had always been fond of animals of all species. Her bond with them had throughout her life left her on the outskirts of social engagements with her peers, and her family. Her journeys through the Spiral had enabled her to come to know many of the different life forms that inhabit all the various worlds. Many times they had sought her companionship and had assisted in battles to provide freedom for their kinds.
Many new students, who suddenly find themselves free of parental confinement, with a little jingle of gold in their hems, make their way to the Shopping District of Wizard City. Some of them, even before they register for classes or meet Headmaster Merle Ambrose! There, they find the clothing and necessities required for their area of study. One of the shops offers pets for a nominal adoption fee. Some of the animals available at the Pet Shop are bred to assist specific magic schools, and others are suitable companions for a new wizard far from home.**
After settling into her studies, Taryn visited the Pet Shop. Her beloved ferret, Bouncy, had died of old age right before she decided to attend Ravenwood. Taryn never felt at ease staying in the dorm and hanging out with the other, much younger, students. Spending time with the amazing variety of creatures at Pet Shop was her favorite activity outside of classes. One morning she arrived at the same time as a delivery of tiny, newly hatched dragons. She was amused by how their heads seemed almost too heavy to be held up by their slender necks. The babies were tripping over each others wings and blinking at the bright light shining in the shop's windows. One drake, decked in the yellow and purple of Storm, stretched his neck straight up. He shook out his wings, and gave out a loud honk! He sat back, looking very pleased that he had gotten her attention. Taryn held out a piece of dragon kibble, which he snatched up and swallowed. He waited, watching her pull out another piece of kibble. Finally, he decided she was just too slow and jumped up on her shoulder snapping for the whole box! Taryn realized, as the little purple dragon with the full belly had made himself a cozy spot in the crook of her arm and went fast asleep, that she would have to name him Chance. She was also relieved that the dorms didn't require a pet deposit!
*referenced : as narrated to a first-year Pyromancer whose notes were later found in a purple urn in Krokotopia, under a ladder, written in Spring Green Crayola marker
**referenced : The Visitor's Guide to Activities Enjoyed by First-Year Students of Ravenwood in Wizard City 2nd edition Baul, Whayle, and Krie etal