This story originally posted June 4, 2011.
He came to the school in autumn, once the crops were in. They’d gone back to old habits and old practices in the Academy, as in so much of the world, knowing that the old existed and had survived for so long for a reason.
He was young enough, fifteen - the youngest they accepted students full-time - that this was the only world he remembered, that he had likely never seen a building still standing as large as the Academy, or as many books in one place as the Library. But he didn’t stare like a hick, the way some of them did. He didn’t gape, or gawk. He looked around, calmly, taking it all in. She got the feeling he was looking for escape routes, although he didn’t have the fight-or-flee set to his shoulders, either.
She hadn’t planned on coming down until the rest of the students arrived, probably within the week. She had Under-Deans to handle admissions for a reason. But something about the way he looked around made her descend the stairs from what she thought of, somewhere in the dark recesses of her mind, as her ivory tower.
"Hello," she said, trying not to smirk when he finally deigned to notice her. "I'm Dean Theresa."
His slow smile in return was everything she had been expecting. "Hello. I'm Thomas."