The Academy is a group of four colleges, all located on a shared campus and main tower. The Academy is very selective, so all students are exceptionally talented in some way. Most of the wards end up attending one of the colleges sooner or later. Glimpses of Destiny is the last book featuring the Academy as the main setting. Not all of the characters graduate at the same time, so some scenes will still be set in the Academy. Below is a brief description of each college:
Arcanum - Children with spellcasting abilities train at the mage’s college, Arcanum. As with the other colleges, Arcanum begins training new students at the age of ten. Arcanum is set in the second of the Academy’s two towers. Students graduate after seven years, and are bestowed the title of Mage upon graduation. The emblem of Arcanum is an owl.
Somatica - Children who can wield spiritual magic are sent to train as Healers in Somatica. The Healer’s college is a medical school where students are taught to use spiritual magic as a healing tool. To reinforce their status as peaceful non-combatants, the college is secular and apolitical. However, they are trained in quarterstaff combat as a self-defense skill. Somatica students graduate after seven years. Somatica’s emblem is a snake.
Espies - Espies is the Academy’s scout college, and the most exclusive. Espies applicants are heavily tested, and low performing students are culled after their first year, reassigned to a separate archery regiment. Espies trains students for reconnoissance, diplomacy and espionage. Espies uses a ranking system to rate their students and squads, called troops. The top ranking students are selected to lead younger troops. Espies students are trained for six years, and must complete a one-year compulsory assignment after graduation. Their emblem is a tiger.
Gladia - The Academy’s soldier’s college. High intelligence and early leadership traits are the main requirement for Gladia applicants. The most promising youngsters are selected to learn about military warfare and train them to become leaders and generals. Gladia does not have the specialty status of the magic colleges, nor do they share the prestigious image of Espies, but a Gladia graduate is all but guaranteed to have a highly successful military or political career. Gladia students graduate after six years, and must also complete a year-long assignment. Gladia features a lion as their emblem.
Glimpses of Destiny wraps up the Academy years for most of the characters. The wards begin to use their powers in earnest as they come into their own. But the perils they face are great, and they all soon receive a taste of the dangerous obstacles they must overcome to help save their world.
Terra gathered her scrollcases and carried them over to the chest underneath her window. The polished mahogany lid opened without assistance as she approached. She stared despondently at the floor as she dropped the scrollcases into the chest. She was going to lose Ben. After his defiant trip to Trader’s Pass with Jamu and Princess Jania, Humo will very likely have his farseeing spells permanently fixed on the boy, and it was only a matter of time before he discovered the bond Terra had created between her and Ben. The chest lid closed with a thump.
She could feel the young human’s presence nearby. He was close, only a few levels above her room in Arcanum Tower, so she did not even have to concentrate to feel him. She could not read his thoughts; she was not psychic. But ever since she convinced Ben to let her mark him, she was able to read his emotions as if it were an open journal before her. He was torn, which was unusual for him. Ben was usually stubborn and cold, a possible result of being trained to control his volatile elemental magic at such a very young age. Ben kept his feelings buried deep all the time, and based his choices on logic and facts. But now his feelings vacillated between the ecstasy of newfound love and the disappointment of not having his new love support him on his first mission as an Arcanum Board member.
She suddenly felt a different presence. She took a step back as Humo’s slim human figure materialized in front of her. Humo’s jet black eyes gleamed with hate. He raised his leg and stomped on the chest, smashing it and the scrollcases into splintery shards.
“It’s time we had a talk about Ben,” Humo snarled, kicking the remains of the chest at her. She turned the flying pieces of wood into dust with a flick of her hand.
“It might be better to wait until you calm down a bit, don’t you think?” Terra held her ground. Humo looked ready to kill, but Terra was a dragon just like him. He was not about to intimidate her, Headmaster or not. And as a fellow Earth Dragon, she knew he would not do anything to break the Pact that all dragons roaming this world were required to take. He was not an oathbreaker, unlike Sanguis.
Humo raised his leg once more, bringing his foot down before him with enough force to make the entire tower shudder slightly. He took another forceful step forward, and Terra stepped back before she could stop herself.
“No more waiting!” Humo barked. “We will talk about the boy, right now!”
Terra was surprised at Humo’s outburst, but not as surprised as she was by the gentle knock on her door.
“Hello! Terra, can I come in?”
Terra did not recognize the voice, although it did sound vaguely familiar. She glanced at her door, then at Humo. The Headmaster’s angry expression turned into a confused one. He frowned at the door.
“She is with me! Come back later,” he snapped at the door.
The door latch shifted, and the door opened. Terra kept her gaze on the door. She knew that the look on Humo’s face would send her into a fit of laughter.
A young female head appeared from behind the door. “Humo, is that you? I couldn’t tell from behind this thick old door.”
Humo growled in anger. Terra smiled in relief at the white haired, white-eyed girl. “You have no idea how good it is to see you, Poli.”
“Oh, I can imagine,” Poli said with a grin, her eyes fixed on Humo. “I felt Humo’s little tantrum out in the hall, and so did everyone else, I am sure.”
“Stranger things have happened in this tower,” Humo grumbled. He gave Terra a scathing look. “You cannot avoid this conversation, Terra. You will tell me everything you know about Ben.”
“Please, do not end your little talk on my account,” Poli said. “I would love to hear about Galen’s handsome brother.”
Terra shook her head. The one thing that could worsen Humo’s dark state than he was already was to say Galen’s name out loud.
“You two bats can go and rot in hell!” Humo gave the remains of Terra’s chest one last kick before phasing away.
“I do not remember Humo being such a grouch,” Poli said.
“He’s had a bad week,” Terra replied with a grin.
Poli laughed. Terra could not help but laugh along with her. Humo would not dare lose his temper around Poli. Much like her human appearance, Poli’s true form was that of a young, attractive dragon. However, despite looking barely older than Terra’s brother Silx, who was by far the youngest of all the Draca here in this world, Poli was the oldest female, and the strongest. Only Caeles, Gravesco, and Obitus were mightier than Poli, and Gravesco was dead. Poli’s visit had saved Terra from Humo’s wrath, at least for tonight.
“I noticed the Surian ship docked at the bay,” Poli said once they both regained their composure. “The Syntreans are celebrating. And Humo is upset. What in the world is going on here?”
“Wonderful things. The Princess pulled off a feat that you only hear in fables. She snuck off to Trader’s Pass with her boyfriend’s help and convinced the Masseans to agree to Syntrea’s demands. She defused a volatile situation that surely would have led to war had nothing been done.” Terra smiled proudly. “Ben was with her. They just returned this morning.”
Poli nodded, looking impressed. “Is your room warded?”
“It always is,” Terra answered.
“Good. So I hear Ben is part of the Arcanum Board now. Is that why he accompanied the Princess?”
“That was one reason, yes. He is becoming quite fond of her.”
“That is a good thing, because if he plans to continue with Baden’s plans, he will need her support.”
Terra nodded in agreement.
“So are you worried about Humo retaliating against the Princess?” Poli asked.
“I am. I am worried about all of them.” Terra waved at Poli to sit. “Rohen and Galen are also targets for Humo’s wrath. They are powerful, and they are growing up, but they are still students. Humo might be too worried about keeping the Academy under his control to keep himself from harming the wards outright, but they are still very much at his mercy. And I can only do so much to protect them.”
Poli watched Terra pace about with a tiny smile on her pretty human face. “I have not seen all that goes on, but if recent events are any type of indicator, I feel you have reached the point where you only need to step back and allow events to run their course. I believe the children have all reached the point where they can take care of themselves. And if they are all friends, then so much the better, for they will also take care of each other.”
“I don’t know, Poli.” Terra leaned against her desk to stop her pacing. “We cannot afford to take a chance and allow them to fend for themselves. We will not be able to stop the Debellos from destroying this world without the wards.”
“I did not mean to suggest we abandon them,” Poli said. “And remember, you are not alone. Animis is nearby, and Semino does check on his ward from time to time. All you need to do is call for help, and they will be there.”
“Things are not that simple, Poli.”
“Nothing in this world is simple. I understand how you feel. Will it make you feel better if I told you that I will help you and keep watch on the wards that are here at the Academy?”
Terra stared at Poli as she pondered the meaning behind the white dragon’s question. Poli’s human figure was not nearly as voluptuous as Terra’s, yet her youthful form seemed just as alluring. Unfortunately, her white eyes, the only feature dragons were unable to manipulate into different forms and colors, were just too obvious to allow her to appear completely human. Celestial Dragons rarely ventured out among humans because of this. They preferred to appear to men and women as spirits or angels. So why would Poli offer to help Terra here at the Academy? It did not take the Earth Dragon long to figure out why.
“You’ve found your ward, haven’t you?”
Poli’s huge smile answered Terra’s question.
“Have you marked him?” Terra asked.
“No, I am in no rush. Aboria does not worry me. I just need to watch him closely.”
“Well, don’t keep me waiting. Tell me who he is!”
Poli shook her head in amusement. “My dear Terra. Why so impatient? Come sit with me, and we can share some tea and talk about my future ward. How about some tea? Winter has just begun, but it feels like it is going to be a cold one this year.”