Defender Of Our Time | Rumor Has it…

Photo by Adam Bixby on Unsplash

Hello, darlings! Today, we’ll be taking a turn from our normal cheeky gossip and scandalous rumors to discuss an incident that occurred on the first night of this school year. I’m sure you all either witnessed or heard about the altercation between Jude of the Bruton Coven and Caricia de Ardo. At the center of it all is Galiana Franco, sophomore member of the Seraphim Coven–but what exactly happened on that night on the stairs? Well, beloved Citizens, feel free to settle into your favorite seat with your comfort snack and a refreshing beverage, because you know the Gossip king went all out on this one!

Editor’s Note: all views expressed in this post are purely speculative, and any “evidence” provided is coincidental. Arion Floros’ Rumor Has It… series is meant to shed light on rumors and discuss them openly. The Arcane Citizen is not making any claims in favor of or against the individuals mentioned below. All comments were shared with consent.

Let’s go into the roster of those involved: first we have Jude, who is a senior vampire at AOA. He is also the captain of the basketball team, co-captain of the football team, and formerly a frequent attendee of the Undead Support Group meetings held at our school. While he is very intelligent and a wonderful athlete, Jude has been known to be abrasive, sometimes intentionally.

Next is Galiana Franco: a model student, Gal is a member of the horticulture, yoga, and culinary clubs, and an LGBTQIA ally. She’s top of her class, and rumor has it that her chloromancy is unrivaled among the Brazilian witches.

And finally, we have Caricia de Ardo–who, if you have to admit, is most likely the reason you’re reading this article. Cari is a freshman witch and the second heir to the De Ardo Coven; an overachiever who was privileged enough to be paired with Gal in the student guide program. It makes sense, if you think about it–both are exceptional brainiacs with promising futures, so it warms my heart to know that there was an instant connection between the two girls.

Now that we have the details on the involved, its time to lay out the events. Luckily for those of you who missed it, your favorite blogger saw the whole thing. That’s right–for once, I was a witness!

It was about ten minutes to midnight when it happened. Virgil, our esteemed vamp-tographer, and I had followed the crowd out of the breakfast lobby and were heading to the stairs. A bunch of witches had gathered by the foot of the stairs, watching a smaller group ascend. The group in question was made up of Gal, Cari, Axel de Ardo, and Sage Bloodworth. For those who are unaware, Sage is the heir of the Bloodworth Coven, and Axel is the only undead member of the De Ardo Coven, and Cari’s adoptive brother. The four had hit the landing that divided the professors quarters from the rest of the academy just as I had reached the group of witches at the bottom of the stairs–and it was on that landing that the small group of friends came upon Jude and Teagan, a freshman vampire from the Love Coven.

“It was just super weird,” Teagan commented the following night. “Cari was the first student I interacted with when I crossed over, so seeing her again was a relief after talking to Jude. The dude’s kind of an ass, so I was already wondering if I could request a different guide when he saw Axel and started coming down on him.”

“Vampires are just the worst at throwing shade,” added Massimo Quercini, the head of the Quercini Coven and a witness of the altercation. He’s been escorting Gal around campus whenever he can, and I can’t say if he’s being chivalrous or overly cautious. However, I can’t say that he’s wrong about vampires and insults. “I thought I was sitting in on a lecture, or someone was reading aloud their essay. It was just the least exciting part of the whole thing,” he added.

The junior was correct; the exciting part was yet to come.

“When I think back on what happened, it’s almost like it happened to someone else, because I don’t remember it,” said Gal of the incident. “I remember walking up the stairs with Sage next to me, and [Axel] and Cari were behind us. I remember pausing at the landing because [Teagan] recognized Cari and wanted to talk to her. I thought [Cari and Teagan’s] reactions to seeing each other were really cute, so I didn’t see the harm in stopping by to say hi–even if it meant that we had to deal with Jude. He ignored the rest of us and just immediately called out Axel. You know how vamps are–their way of insulting isn’t even all that insulting. They’re all about intentions, not words, which makes interacting with them confusing. Anyway, [Jude and Axel] had their little back and forth, and Jude said something about having a thing for Enchanters–and that’s when I realize [Jude’s] staring right at me. Then [Jude] winked at me, and his eyes flashed red… And that’s the last thing I remember before I woke up. I know I didn’t fall asleep, but I felt like all the energy had left my body. One second I was standing on the landing with my friends, and the next I was being held up by Sage and Axel. My head was killing me–it felt like it had split open, and I actually thought I needed to hold it together so I didn’t bleed out. It seriously felt like I had sustained an injury, and that’s when the panic took over–but my body was too tired to let me freak out. I just didn’t have the energy for panic, or fear, or anger. A-And when I try to remember the in-between, the few seconds after [Jude] winked and before I ‘woke up’, the best I way I can describe it is it felt like I was engulfed in this thick, murky fog. I tried to look away, to turn my body, to say words–nothing. My body was no longer my own, and it felt like every breath was a chore.”

What Gal just described is compulsion; vampires and other members of the undead community have a limited array of magick at their disposal, and the most common and most powerful is the ability to compel. This is a method they use to lure their prey, and it’s currently the only form of magick that Haunters have over Enchanters. Not only is it a violation of Gal’s rights to be treated as Jude’s prey, it’s also an offense punishable by several detentions and the suspension of extracurricular activities, but Gal’s attacker has been able to walk free thus far.

Why has Jude gone unpunished, you may ask? Well, since every undead professor declined to comment on the incident, the best guess I can give is that they believe he received enough punishment in the form of being embarrassingly counter-attacked by a freshman.

This is where Cari stepped in, folks–she saw that her guide and new friend was being targeted by an upperclassman, and she used her own magick to send Jude flying into a nearby wall. Jude’s injury caused his hold on Gal to falter, breaking the compulsion.

“[Cari’s] like a superhero!” shared Gunnar Naismith, junior and head of the Naismith Coven. He was among the witches huddled by the foot of the stairs who had witnessed the scene. “One second, Jude’s all red-eyed and taunting Axel, and the next second–whoosh! The dude was sent across the room, and we all heard his body hit the wall. I for sure thought he was killed a second time.”

“I don’t think any of us would have suspected that it was Cari who had done it if it weren’t for the reactions of her and her friends,” said Camille Young, fellow junior and heir of the Young Coven. “None of them had moved, so I thought it could have been anyone–but then I saw the way Sage, Axel, and that freshman vampire stared at Cari, and instead of trying to deny it or ask who had done it, newbie straight up tried to brush it aside and get them to leave with her. It wasn’t ’til she saw that we had seen the whole thing, and you could tell by the look on her face that she knew she was fucked.”

When asked about the altercation, Cari had this to say:

“I’m not a violent person. I didn’t go through the portal with the intention of hurting anyone or causing any of my classmates harm. I always try to use words to get out of hairy situation, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been able to outwit my fair share of bullies. But when I saw Jude’s eyes turn red, and I saw the hypnotic look on Gal’s face, I knew he had broken a rule and that something had to be done. And when Axel was trying to tell Jude to leave Gal alone, I could tell that he was on the verge of stepping in. Things were quickly escalating from, ‘my new friend is being attacked by an upperclassman,’ to, ‘my brother was about to get in a fight with an upperclassman.’ I couldn’t let that happen–Axel would have gotten in trouble as well if he had been caught, and who knows what Jude would have done with Gal in the time it took us to find a professor. I can think my way out of almost any situation, but I panicked and couldn’t see a way out of this. I had to do something.

“I used my magick on an upperclassman. I saw [Jude] compel my guide, and it made me upset–and when I thought my brother might be in trouble for helping her, something in me just snapped. I envisioned him as far away from Gal as possible, and the next thing I knew I had made it happen. He was on the floor, and Gal’s compulsion had broken, and what looked like the entire school was down at the bottom of the stairs watching us… All I could think of doing was running away.”

That is in fact what Cari did; after Axel encouraged the crowd to disperse, their small group began to leave the scene when Professor Blagojević stopped them. He sent them to the infirmary and urged the rest of us to head to class. No disciplinary actions have been taken against Jude, and I can only imagine the reason behind that: if they punish him for attacking a student, they’ll have to punish Cari for attacking him in turn. Disciplining a freshman on her first night of secondary school could leave a scar on her educational record–and since this is Jude’s last year with us, any blemish on his record could hinder his acceptance to a decent university. Still, whether they punish one or both of them, the lack of any faculty involvement has sent a wave of uncertainty throughout the student body.

“This is supposed to be the best school for our kind,” commented Arabela Luna. You’ll recall that Arabela is a senior and the head of the Luna Coven, and she made waves last year for openly calling out fellow senior and witch head Rosa Zaldivar for her treatment of her romantic partners. “We’re supposed to feel safe when we attend. How can any of us feel safe when students are trying to enforce their will on their classmates and others are going missing?”

Arabela is of course referring to the recent case of disappearances involving hunters–one of the missing is Plato Tyson, a sophomore merlad who attends our academy. You can read about the case here.

“It’s unnerving that [Jude] got off without even a warning,” says Camille. “I guess even AOA can’t protect their female and femme students from falling pray to a douchebag. It’s sad.”

When asked if a defense or explanation could be given for Jude’s actions, the members of the Bruton Coven declined to comment.

While it is a total bummer that Jude’s been allowed to walk free after everything that went down, I’m happy to report that Gal made a miraculously speedy recovery! She was even able to return to her classes by the second period of the day.

“We heal fast in my coven,” she explained. When asked if she had any final thoughts, Gal added, “Cari de Ardo saved me–I don’t know if I should go as far as saying she saved my life, but she certainly helped me out of a hopeless situation. She’s an amazing person, and I’m happy I get to call her my friend.”

Nowadays, you can find Cari practicing broom tricks at third period or joining the yoga club for a stretch. She’s been acing her advanced courses and focusing on her studies, so we have high hopes for this young defender.

I hope you enjoyed this deep dive into the incident of March 22nd! It took more research and reaching out than one would imagine, so I do hope it was to your liking. If so, drop a like and share it with your friends! Heck, a comment down below would earn you… A place in my heart 😉

Until next time, lovelies! Kisses~

Arion Floros

Opinions Blogger

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