Astrid Ibn Salazaar raced through the crowded streets avoiding autocarriages and burly men and women plying their wares. Somewhere behind her, she knew that Mr. Chair was yelling that he wasn’t sure if he could pay for her tomorrow. He said that at the end of every shift. It was his way of keeping her hopes from getting too high. She’d been working there for a year now and he did it every day. He was so worried that one day, he wouldn’t be able to pay her for her work.
The funny part is that, she would work there for free.
Every morning, she arrived early and helped him open the book store. She carried the wooden sandwich sign outside and carefully wrote whatever five books Mr. Chair had ordered the previous week. After sweeping the store and arranging whatever books were out of place, she liked to find some quiet corner of the store to sit down and read the new books. Mr. Chair didn’t let her read the ones that had just arrived but, the books left over from the previous shipment were fair game. She read technical manuals and strange texts on experimental mana engines and other things that bordered on alchemy.
Around noon, the students began crowding into the store.
It was around that time that she left. The students were from the University. Young geniuses that were hungry for the next text book. She had to leave because Mr. Chair, an old Deimos man whose horns sometimes scraped the ceiling despite his hunched stance, was concerned that the kind of language the students used would offend her. She’d heard worse language from toddlers back in Oldtown, where she lived. Astrid knew that the reason boiled down to money. Mr. Chair simply couldn’t afford to pay her for a full day. It was no matter, she got to read.
Now, Astrid takes a running leap and manages to grab hold of the trolley to Oldtown and pull herself up. The old men and women riding in the back stared at her as if she were an interloper on their private vehicle. She sat at the back of the trolley and dangled her legs off the edge while she listened to the trolley itself. It was only 15 years old, as old as she was, but had seen service every day since it was first activated. It was old before it’s time. It creaked and shuddered once in a while, imperceptible to everyone else, but Astrid knew. She smiled with her secret knowledge and then smiled wider as she thought back to what was waiting for her in her chest back at the orphanage.
It wouldn’t be long now… She was already accepted.
The Academia Arcana and the Griswulf Polytechnic University were bitter rivals until an invasion lay waste to both schools. Now, they have rebuilt the school in a unique way. They worked together to create a pair of “bridges.” These bridges each connect a dormitory and lower university buildings to a pocket dimension where the Upper University is located. One campus located in Griswulf and another in Uzarel, the lower campuses combined with the upper campus form the new University of Terra.
The University of Terra aims to provide a balanced curriculum for all it’s students. You are among the first few to attend the University. Can you balance friendships, classes, affiliations and still make time to decide your path in life?
The Academia Arcana was the premier place of thaumaturgical learning and research throughout the Empire. It was known far off in the Gris Republic, a technological powerhouse that stood against the Empire. When the two nations went to war, the school stayed out of it. Though many of it’s students would be drafted to fight, the school never bowed to the Emperor’s pressure to militarize the school. It had just enough clout to keep the Emperor from forcing his way. So it was that the school remained above the war.
In the peace that came afterward, a rival school arose. Griswulf, capital of the Gris Republic chartered it’s own university dedicated to the study and application of technological solutions. This school quickly rose to prominence and became the premier place to learn about technology in the world. A friendly (and sometimes not so friendly) rivalry was sparked between the two schools. This would come to a head during the “White Lily Affair”.
The White Lily Fair was a joint endeavor between the two schools to showcase advances in magic and technology and promote peace and cooperation between the nations of Terra. It also celebrated 25 years since the Emperor had been deposed. It isn’t known who started the fire but, by the time all the copied cattle had been herded back into their pen the damage was done. The rivalry had killed the fair before it really even started.
It used to be that in order to enter either University, a student had to demonstrate incredible potential and be invited or have enough money to buy their way in. Things are better now but not as much as many would like. The university still has many scouts watching for “talent” but mostly, it is applied to like any other school. The prospective student includes a transcript of their grades if they had previously attending school and letters of recommendation in their application along with the application fee.
Should the application be accepted, the student will receive a letter stating that they are accepted and that they should report to the campus nearest them in order to sign up for classes. At this point, financial considerations will be taken into account. No student is ever turned down because of lack of funds. Then, it’s just a matter of packing your things and moving into the dormitory. All students must live on campus.