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Aut Omnia, aut Nihil--the Ballad of Genesis:

 1 Sullen Frog, Thu, 17th Mar '11 8:47:31 AM from Voormithadreth Get RP Mod Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Whisperer in Darkness
Someone was screaming.

It was a woman, if the high pitch and frenzied nature of her gasping cries were any indication; from the sound of things, she was incredibly upset—not from pain, and not for herself, but for someone else, imploring someone not to take…someone. He had no idea who this screaming person was, but there was an unmistakable feeling running through his body that he should know her, that she was both familiar and extremely important. If he could just look at her, then maybe this would all make sense.

Alas, he could not see this woman. He tried to lift his head and glance in the direction of her voice, but it was too heavy; he tried to rise, but his arms and legs were scrawny and weak. He lacked the strength to do anything more than ball tiny, chubby hands into fists and turn his oversized cranium this way and that, causing the red fabric on which he lay to brush against his soft skin and set it ablaze with an itch that he could not scratch.

He was weak, he was helpless, and unable to even get a glimpse of the voice’s distraught owner, frustration welled up deep within him. He should be trying to help this lady, not lie here like some newborn infant and do nothing! He opened his mouth to give voice to his frustration, to tell the woman to calm down and for whoever was antagonizing her to leave her be, but no words escaped his lips; instead, all that came forth was a wordless cry with a hundred possible meanings, a generalized sound that indicated distress.

He realized that he was crying, and in that same instant he realized that he was a baby.

A voice spoke then, its words harsh, guttural and beyond his understanding; something cold and metallic glittered at the edge of his vision for the briefest moment, and then the woman fell silent, her screams cut off with a sudden note of finality. Gnarled hands descended from somewhere overhead and out of sight to seize him by either side of his head, the shock of their cold and dry touch bringing an end to his wails of discontent; with a gentleness that seemed forced, they held him still and forced the baby to look straight up.

Directly above him hung a third hand, its desiccated fingers wrapped loosely around what his mind realized was the leather-wrapped hilt of a wicked, ceremonial dagger; its blade, to his newborn eyes, looked like obsidian, and it seemed to glow with an inner light that filled him with an intense sense of unease.

That voice spoke once more, and this time its dry words were intelligible to the infant. “Hush, child. Had there been any other way, we would not have resorted to this, but no other options remain and this must be done.”

Other hands descended from just out of sight, each one taking hold of an arm or a leg to prevent him from struggling, and the baby could do little more than watch as a second hand joined the other around the knife’s hilt, their fingers interlacing in a grip of iron.

“I know that you will understand when the time comes, child. Now, you shall witness the convictions, of true believers!!!

And with that, the dagger plunged down towards the baby’s chest, and an awful, birdlike screech tore forth from his lips—
Will Everetts catapulted up from the surface of his bed, flinging the sheets from his sweaty body to land in a tangled heap at the other end of the room. For a moment his gaze was unfocused, and his eyes frantically roamed the contours of his bedroom as tried to slow the jackhammer beating of his heart. That screech still filled his ears, but after a moment he found its source, and a groan left the young man’s mouth as he brought a hand down on the snooze button of his digital clock.

Now that the irritating appliance had been silenced, Will collapsed back onto his bed and lay there for several moments, unmoving; grey eyes stared listlessly at the ceiling, his fatigue made clear by the bags under his eyes. “That’s the third time this week, ” he muttered under his breath, bringing a hand up to wipe the sweat from his brow.

Will had been having these nightmares for quite some time; as long as he could remember, his sleep had occasionally been plagued by the haunting vision of being trapped in a baby’s body and getting stabbed by some monstrous thing with a knife. They had been infrequent enough for the last few years that he had almost forgotten about them, but in the past three months his ancient night terrors had returned in a passion, almost as if they were trying to make up for lost time. He felt that these dreams were important in some way, but for the life of him he could not figure out what they might signify; was it a repressed memory of some sort?

That was unlikely, he thought with a tired smile as he glanced down at his chest. If he had been stabbed as a baby, there would have been some sign—some health defect, or a scar—to indicate that this was the case. But no scars marred his chest, and Will was as healthy as a nineteen-year-old college student living on his own could be.

His smile disappeared to be replaced by a frown as he glanced at the clock, noting the time with some dismay; class would be starting in two hours. “A mystery for another time, perhaps, ” he muttered as he leapt out of bed and threw on some clothes. “For now, breakfast.”

Twenty minutes and a hastily-consumed bowl of cereal later, Will was out the door and dashing downstairs at a fast pace, taking them two or even three at a time. Had he lived closer to the actual campus, such a rush would not have been necessary, but as it was his apartment lay some distance from the college, and while the drive wasn’t particularly long by public transportation, even at rush hour the bus came infrequently; if he missed it now, he would be late for sure.

He tore out the door just in time to see the bus begin pulling away from the curb. Will stifled a curse and broke into a frantic sprint, waving at the bus and shouting at it to stop. It didn’t, alas, and he was forced to run for nearly three blocks until the damn thing hit a red light, finally permitting him to catch up. Panting heavily, he rapped his knuckles on the door, and it opened. “Thank you, ” he gasped, stepping inside and presenting his pass to the driver.

With that hectic business taken care of, the young man strode down the long span of the bus to find a seat. Fortunately, he didn’t have long to look; even at quarter to 11, arguably the busiest time of day for this town, the bus was practically empty. He sank into one of the plastic seats with a weary sigh, resting his bag on his lap and his stubble-covered chin on his knuckles, and then, for lack of anything else to do during this trip, elected to stare out the window.

The dry, dusty old town of Genesis Springs rolled past, a quaint, almost pastoral vista that was made more beautiful by the melting snow and the budding trees which heralded the onset of spring. The sun hung high in the sky, shining its warm light down on the town from a cloudless blue expanse. With the obvious exceptions of his apartment complex and a few other locales, not a single building was more than three stories in height, and they were spread out in such a way that suggested both a close-knit community and, somewhat paradoxically, an emphasis on privacy; houses shared yards, yet at the same time were separated by relatively large distances and barriers such as fences and meticulously-pruned hedges.

It was a somewhat insular place, to say the least, and this suited Will just fine; though he appreciated their kindness, the neighbours knew well enough that some people just preferred to be left alone, and as such they were generous enough not to stick their noses in his business. After all, he’d made it this far on his own; the young man could make it through college without anyone’s help.

The grey gaze of his reflection caught his eye, and the student let out another sigh as he looked himself over. His short black hair was a mess, thick bags lay under his eyes, and his chin was covered, as always, in a five-o’clock shadow; mute testament to his lack of rest and hygiene. The boy had barely gotten five hours of sleep last night, for he had had to work the night shift and it had taken him some time to get home; worse, as that job required him to read through countless files and documents and make sure they were sorted correctly, his mind had remained active and it had taken him several hours to fall asleep. It was a lousy job, and for the amount of effort he was putting in the pay wasn’t that great; had he any choice in the matter, he would have quit and found work during more sensible hours of the day.

Regrettably, there was little Will could do to fix this deplorable situation; the tuition for Genesis Springs College was rather steep, and as his parents had died years earlier and he had never been adopted, the young man had no financial support. Thus, in order to put himself through college he was forced to hold down a large number of jobs simultaneously, a situation that often left him tired, sleep-deprived and with almost no time for himself.

He could simply have dropped out and spared himself the trouble, but that would have been tantamount to throwing in the towel…and that was something he simply would not countenance. He was going to make something of himself, and to do that he needed a decent education; he couldn’t afford to give up now, not when he was only a few months from graduation and receiving his diploma.

So engrossed in his thoughts, he scarcely noticed when the bus reached its next stop and drew to a halt, barely registered as its doors swung open with a hiss to allow several new people onboard…

Fear me
-Leo Harbet gets on the bus, finds a seat and pulls out a book on the evolution of medecines through the ages. So engrossed is he that he barely notices anyone else.-

Not Literally Me
-Rebecca Stevenage sat at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to arrive. Her hooded sweater was pulled up over her face to hide her worried expression. Something had been bothering her lately, tearing at her dreams. She had seen things in those seconds between wakefulness and sleep when she woke up. A humanoid figure, covered in white fur, a wooden mask over his face. She'd seen him walk past her bedroom door. She was sure of it. And it scared her. Not just the strange and frightful nature of the apparition, but the nagging, incessant feeling that she recognized it from some long-ago memory. Her mother was already worried for her; she could see the distraction and nervousness in her daughter's voice when she'd called this morning (more because she wanted to hear a familiar voice than anything else). She didn't want to have anyone else probing or asking questions. She'd be happy to just get to school and cram her head with facts and figures until she could forget about the strange vision she had had-

-As the bus shuddered to a halt, she clambered on board, throwing her bag to the floor under her chosen seat. She sat down, staring at the floor and hoping none of the other passengers saw her.-

edited 17th Mar '11 10:13:56 AM by MadeOfAxes

"One thing, though- apparently the eldest goat is the bastard child of Muhammad Ali and the Hulk." ~ Exelixi, on The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
 4 Oni-Lord, Thu, 17th Mar '11 10:40:04 AM from Somewhere Get RP Mod Relationship Status: Forming Voltron
Dynamite with a Laser Beam
Jamie let out a yawn as she climbed on board the bas and sat down in a seat near the front. She had no idea why, but she felt like she wasn't getting enough sleep. She knew she was having bad dreams lately, but when she woke up they were gone and she couldn't remember them. They really weren't helping with her part time job and she was hoping that the damned things would just stop. Not one to focus on the bad, she shifted her thoughts to today, it was her favorite class and nothing was going to ruin that for her.
 5 Sullen Frog, Thu, 17th Mar '11 10:47:51 AM from Voormithadreth Get RP Mod Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Whisperer in Darkness
The sound of a bag hitting the metal floor caught Will's attention, and he glanced over in the direction of its source. His brow creased in confusion as he caught sight of a familiar black-haired girl staring at the floor.

Was that Rebecca Stavenage? he wondered. It certainly looks like her...

Will looked away and stroked his chin in worried contemplation. He didn't know Rebecca that well—she was in a few of his classes, although beyond that they didn't interact much—but he knew that this behaviour was decidedly unusual for the normally-outgoing girl. Was she troubled by something?

He considered sitting next to her to ask what the matter was, but thought better of it; though he meant well, they weren't exactly friends and she might not appreciate the gesture.

edited 17th Mar '11 10:48:32 AM by SullenFrog

 6 Colonial1. 1, Thu, 17th Mar '11 10:55:36 AM from The Marvelous River City Get RP Mod
Crazed Lawrencian
— All things considered, Reginald Georges was not having a bad morning. Weird dreams, sure, but not bad ones. He had woken to the sound of birds chirping, and the sight of the sun charging its merry way over the horizon. Breakfast was the usual toast with a sprinkling of nuts, accompanied by some half-drunk cola and the sleepy muttering of his friend (and host) as he belatedly followed. The bus-stop had been quiet, the bench covered in leaves. Thanks to getting to the stop on time, he didn't have to wait long for the large automobile to arrive.

He got on, passing the usual assortment of the bright-eyed and half-conscious, the cheery and the fried, and sat down near the middle, looking about himself for someone with an odd hairstyle, or maybe overly bright clothes. I don't want to be COMPLETELY bored. He thought as he fished a bag of almonds out of his pack.—
Proud member of the IAA

What's the point of being grown up if you can't act childish?
Walking the path of heaven, ruling over all...
"Uwaaaaaah!"

Charlotte yawned loudly, slumping back into the bus seat. The trip just seemed to get more and more boring every day, just like her destination did. It wasn't that she was bad at school or anything, she just... Didn't see the point in it all. None of what she was doing was really going to be relevant, right? And her teachers being so painfully dull didn't help one bit. They never seemed to appreciate her efforts to liven up her classes, either. I mean, how was she supposed to know that Little Miss Libby Perfecto was wearing that much hairspray? They did say she was only getting off with minor burns. And hey, she got to wear that cute little wig now! It's like she was doing her a favour!

Ugh... And I have to see the principal about that today, too. So lame!

Groaning loudly in exasperation, she decided to vent her frustration by repeatedly kicking the chair in front of her.
Nightfury
Mokrus woke up from where he had slept the night befor, in a abandond Caravan. "Ahh, morning." He had got into the habit of saying 'morning' to himself every day when he woke up. That night he had had one of his worst dreams yet, they tended to frighten him and make him wake up sweating. He walked out the door, not needing to put his clothes on since he slept in them, and walked into town. When he was round about in the center of Genesis Springs, he noticed a woman locking up her house and walking down the street. "Cool, free breakfast." Mokrus walked round the house to the backdoor, and checked it to see if it was open. realising that it was not, Mokrus looked aound for another way in. He was about to leave when he noticed that a window was open around the middle of the wall. "Yeah, I think I can climb up there." When he was young, Mokrus was never any good at climbing, he always seemed tired for some reason, but now, when he needed more food to survive, he tought himelf how to climb. He ran at the backdoor, used it as a boost to run up, and grabbed the ledge on top of the door, he hoisted himself up so that he was standing on the ledge. Now he was just tal enought to reach the open Window. He grabbed hold of the window ledge and hoisted himself up again, like he did with the backdoor ledge. Opening the window a bit more, Mokrus climbed in throught it. When he was up and on solid ground he emmediatly felt drowsy, befor he could say anything, he collapsed...

Around ten minuits later, Mokrus woke up quickly, and got ready to run should anybody be downstairs. He didn't even think about why he passed out, it happens when he gets tired from something. After a minuit of listening he decided that there was nobody downstairs. He ran down the stairs, taking two at a time, and, noticing that the kitchen was at the bottom, which was much to Mokrus' surprise, ran straight to the cupboard. Inside he found three types of cereal: Coco pops, Shreddies and Cornflakes. Mokrus decided to have a mix of Cornflakes and Shreddies. He searched all of the cupboards until he found a bowl. Taking them both with him, Mokrus went to the dining room and poured the cerial into the bowl. "Oh for Gods sake, I forgot the Milk." Mokrus, cursing himself while doing so, walked over to the fridge, opened it, and got the milk. To his distaste, the bottle only had a little milk left, so Mokrus had a dry breakfast. When he was done he put his bowl in the sink with all the rest, so that the woman who owned the house won't realise he had been there. He walked back up the stairs and climbed out of the window, gently climbing down again. When he was on the ground, he walked back around the house, stepped onto the pavement, and walked away thinking what he was going to do next...

edited 17th Mar '11 11:13:25 AM by QsxShaDoWS

"Nightfury! Run for your lives!" - How to train your dragon.
 9 Sullen Frog, Thu, 17th Mar '11 11:08:22 AM from Voormithadreth Get RP Mod Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Whisperer in Darkness
After a moment's consideration, Will decided that he couldn't just leave her like that; the way Rebecca was staring at the floor made it clear that whatever was weighing on her mind had troubled her deeply. The young man rose from his seat, strode across the aisle and sat down in the chair to her left.

"Hey, " he whispered gently, trying not to disturb her thoughts overmuch. "Are you okay?"
 10 Colonial1. 1, Thu, 17th Mar '11 11:11:27 AM from The Marvelous River City Get RP Mod
Crazed Lawrencian
—That did it. Regg looked over at the younger girl briefly, wondering why on earth smaller things always made so much noise. Hmmmm...

He hunkered down in his seat, then sprayed some ''Newspice" into the air when it looked like she was about to yawn again. —
Proud member of the IAA

What's the point of being grown up if you can't act childish?
 11 SOCR, Thu, 17th Mar '11 11:14:06 AM from the head of a fox Get RP Mod Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Clear Skies
The sign read 'Genesis Springs College'. It was a sign the woman had seen many times before, or at least a similar one without the 'college' attached. She felt immensely pleased she was actually looking at it, or at least this variation of it, in person.

Aricrethiel had wandered the country for a long time, but this town was the first place she actually felt purpose in upon entering. She had been having weird dreams, some blinding light surrounded by creatures strange, eldritch, but somehow not frightening. Genesis Springs it told her. The dream would skip then, lots of incredibly fast flashes of memory or figment, like a bad CD. It always ended with her staring at a sign that said those very two words.

It had taken her quite awhile to learn that it was actually a location. The little hole in the wall seemed to get little traffic entering or leaving, some rustic town circumvented by the ongoing modern world. Ari had meandered across the map towards it, enjoying the locations she saw but never feeling like it was where she belonged.

She didn't feel she belonged here either, but maybe the damn dream wont skip and decide to instead show her all the bits she was missing out on. Hey, everyone lives for some purpose, right?

She was unsure as to what her next course of action should be. She heard stories of some store that appeared and disappeared at will. She thought she might try and hunt it down, maybe strike up a conversation if it proved intelligent. For as long as she could remember (which was, frustratingly, not very long at all) she had always felt compelled to investigate the occult, but she had never bothered to stay in any one place to get especially learned on a particular subject.

During her musings, a bus pulled up. People had started to file out...

edited 17th Mar '11 11:20:17 AM by SOCR

 12 The Malignancy, Thu, 17th Mar '11 11:19:09 AM from the land of sheep and steel mills. Get RP Mod Relationship Status: Gay for Big Boss
Tactical Asspionage Action
Carden also entered the bus, headphones in his ears and playing the common commuter's game of ignoring everyone else. This was not out of a need to retreat from life or any particular kind of intentional anti-socialism; it was just that other people and their little problems, like personal space or trying not to get run into by the giant man with the headphones, simply did not occur to him. Carden (being built like a proverbial brick wall) was the kind of person people moved out of the way of anyway, and when he'd noticed this he'd simply grunted sullenly and gone back to ignoring it.

It was an incurable fact of the world that Carden' outlook on the world was always ever-so-slightly sore headed, as if he had a splinter permanently digging into his rear end, and the list of things that annoyed him current measured in at around five astronomical units. Everyone has some unchangeable aspect of their personality rooted simply in their nature, and Carden just happened to be a bit of a dick.

The man (it hadn't occurred to him he was about the only adult on the bus, and when it did he'd probably dismiss it with a mental "meh") threw his gym bag onto one of the seats and slumped down next to it, obviously preparing to play the other popular commuter's game of "My bag is sitting there, you fool!" to deter the freaks from trying to talk to him. None of them ever had, of course, but he wasn't about to let them start.

edited 17th Mar '11 11:23:05 AM by TheMalignancy

Walking the path of heaven, ruling over all...
"Ack! Geez, what the heck kinda smell's that supposed to be? "Week old dog crap" or something?" The little delinquent let out a few hearty coughs. "Ugh... Why are all the guys here so lame..."

Charlotte made a low growling noise, before returning to punishing the chair.
Not Literally Me
-Rebecca was startled and abruptly turned round. She recognized him- Will Everetts, a classmate. The one who looked like he was about to collapse on the desk form exhaustion at any given moment. She'd talked to him once or twice and he seemed all right. He was probably just worried about her. Was it that obvious she was upset? She hoped not, otherwise everyone in the class would be asking her questions-

"Hi Will. I'm fine, honestly. Just some bad dreams last night."

-It was clear from her voice she wasn't really all right-
"One thing, though- apparently the eldest goat is the bastard child of Muhammad Ali and the Hulk." ~ Exelixi, on The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
 15 Bindlestick, Thu, 17th Mar '11 11:28:22 AM from Mad Hole, country of the Screamers Get RP Mod Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
drowning in a bucket of words
Stephan climbed up the ladder and onto the roof. S Ome lady had hired him to work on her roof. Stephan, not being the type to shun physical labor, had accepted. Hammer in hand, he drove the first nail down. It always felt good to use a hammer. A sort of familiar feeling, really. He took a moment to look at the rest of the neighborhood. He then noticed the boy climbing out the window. "Hey!"
"You have more than enough potential. So tell me what is the one wish that would make your soul gem shine." -Mitt Romney, probably
 16 Colonial1. 1, Thu, 17th Mar '11 11:31:05 AM from The Marvelous River City Get RP Mod
Crazed Lawrencian
—The tiniest of smirks was on Regg's lips as he saw this. Then he spotted King Kong. Never pester the giants, Regg had sworn to himself after the Praying Mantis Affair. Instead, he offered the giant student some almonds wordlessly.—
Proud member of the IAA

What's the point of being grown up if you can't act childish?
Christmas Pikachu.
Gareth walked along on the pavement, large bags where under his eyes, making it look like he'd woken up at 5 o'clock. That was probably because he had woken up at 5 o'clock, dreams had been troubling him lately, he only wished that he'd remember them when he woke up but he never did. Gareth stopped in his tracks as he noticed a roof-worker shouting at a kid climbing through a kitchen window with what appeared to be a bowl of cereal in his hand. Gareth chuckled to himself.

"C'mon, didn't this guy check correctly? I could do a better job than him any day..." He was thinking about the thief, he decided to watch the spectacle unfold.
 18 Sullen Frog, Thu, 17th Mar '11 11:41:35 AM from Voormithadreth Get RP Mod Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Whisperer in Darkness
Will's brow creased in concern at Rebecca's words; he wasn't entirely sure if she was being honest with him, or if she was simply telling him that to make him leave her alone. It was one of the major drawbacks of his insolar nature; he didn't know anyone well enough to tell when they were telling the truth.

Still, this talk of bad dreams was intriguing. Was Rebecca experiencing something similar, and if so, why was that the case?

He dismissed that thought almost immediately. Get real, Will; it's just a coincidence. People have nightmares all the time, so there's no reason for you to think that there's some sort of connection between you.

"Well, if you're sure, " he said hesitantly. For a moment, he said nothing more; then he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pencil a small notepad. "Here, if you're having trouble sleeping, I know a pharmacy that can prescribe you something to help with that."

He scribbled an address onto the first clean sheet that he found, then tore it out and held it out to Rebecca.
Not Literally Me
-Rebecca looked at the address and put it into her pocket. She looked up at Will and tried to force a smile-

"Thanks. It was just last night. I imagine it'll go away soon. But thanks anyway."
"One thing, though- apparently the eldest goat is the bastard child of Muhammad Ali and the Hulk." ~ Exelixi, on The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
 20 Sullen Frog, Thu, 17th Mar '11 11:58:19 AM from Voormithadreth Get RP Mod Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
Whisperer in Darkness
Will nodded in acknowledgement, a smile of his own flitting across his lips for the briefest of seconds. "You're welcome."

Then the bus came to a halt, pulling up and opening its doors before Genesis Springs College. The young man glanced up in surprise—had the trip really gone by that fast?—and rose from his seat, pausing to sling his bag over his shoulder.

"Well, see you later, " he said, making his way towards the vehicle's exit. "I hope you're feeling better soon."

And it was true, to his surprise; he really did hope that Rebecca would be back to her normal, cheerful self. She might think of him as just an acquaintance, and her cheer may have been forced, but it was still nice to make friendly contact with another human being once in a while, no matter how artificial that friendliness may have been.
 21 Colonial1. 1, Thu, 17th Mar '11 12:09:32 PM from The Marvelous River City Get RP Mod
Crazed Lawrencian
—No response. Oh well.

Regg scurried out with the rest of them, passing the young woman at the stop... And here the pressure within his pack shifted, releasing a larger cloud of "Newspice". Ohhh Hell...
Proud member of the IAA

What's the point of being grown up if you can't act childish?
 22 Oni-Lord, Thu, 17th Mar '11 12:13:45 PM from Somewhere Get RP Mod Relationship Status: Forming Voltron
Dynamite with a Laser Beam
Jamie hopped out of her seat when the bus finally pulled up to the College and she nearly ran out of it. Despite being tired, she was still pumped full of energy and ready to move rather then sit in one place.
Not Literally Me
-Rebecca glanced around, hoping one of her friends would have got here before her. They hadn't. Instead, something she saw made her blood run cold.-

-She was certain she'd seen something in the window. A wooden mask, it's features hideously distorted and marked all over with tribal symbols. As soon as she spotted it, it's owner turned and disappeared from view-

-She felt like she couldn't breathe. She simply stood transfixed, breathing heavily, a look of raw fear on her face-
"One thing, though- apparently the eldest goat is the bastard child of Muhammad Ali and the Hulk." ~ Exelixi, on The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
 24 Chabal 2, Thu, 17th Mar '11 12:42:25 PM from Plains of Tolosa Get RP Mod
Fear me
-Leo leaves the bus and heads for his class.-

 25 The Malignancy, Thu, 17th Mar '11 12:46:39 PM from the land of sheep and steel mills. Get RP Mod Relationship Status: Gay for Big Boss
Tactical Asspionage Action
Carden slung his gym bag over his shoulder and solemnly plodded off of the bus when they reached the college. True to his form as the sort of person who'd wear cargo shorts all year round if it was possible, the man was shod a reasonably large pair hiking boots to better facilitate this bad-tempered movement. Not that he went hiking, he just liked having reasonably indestructibly footwear.

Carden paused briefly to pull out a leaf which had inexplicably become caught in his beard, and carried on towards the building. He had no idea how that kept happening, but it was doing nothing to improve his mood.

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