A new generation of Heroes
Part II: Arrival
Going to Ravenhold was a pain.
Eight hours by bus on rainy roads to reach Maine and another hour on the ferry to reach Priest Island itself, which held the school. Not helped by my fibromyalgia deciding to rear it’s ugly head and ruin my day; making my whole body ache and my head foggy, unable to focus on anything to distract myself.
A girl with short curly red hair sat down beside me but didn’t say a word, focusing all her attention on her laptop, which suited me. I popped a few pills from my bag before trying to catch some sleep without much success. I eventually drifted off by sheer exhaustion and woke up a few hours later when my bench mate accidentally hit me with her bag. The bus had come to a stop. All I could see were the woods on one side and a massive brick wall topped with spikes on the other. The people on the bus slowly left their seat and I joined them, getting out and walking along the road for a minute before coming in front of wrought iron gates.
As we assembled in front of the school, the gates opened and a tall man in costume came toward us; dressed in armored black tight, a feather-like cape draped around his shoulder and his face concealed by a cowl and bird-like mask. Raven II stood before us; member of the Legion and one of the few powerless heroes who stood at the same level as legends like the Orions and Centurion. As he walked closer, I noticed that there was a tiny Latina teenage girl by his side. Unlike him she was in civilian clothing; a hoodie, ripped jeans and her short hair peeking from the sides of her baseball cap.
“Students,” He spoke, his voice naturally booming. “Let me welcome you to Ravenhold academy. I know you’ve come from far and wide to be here and the journey’s been long and tiring so I won’t hold you for long.
Each of you have been selected by the Legion; because we think that you’re worthy, that you have the heart to be a hero, because you want to make the world a better place or because you needed a second chance to become better. Whatever the reason, Ravenhold welcomes you as its first year class of two thousand sixteen. Over the next four years we’ll make heroes out of you, it’ll be hard, it’ll be dangerous, but I know you will persevere. And for those who truly shine; both in deed and character there will be a place for you in the Legion.”
A half dozen other men came forward and one of them handed a tablet to the Raven.
“When I call your name, you will go to your assigned guide.”
The Raven began listing off names from a list and those called joined their respective groups. After a while, I ended up with twelve others; seven girls including the one who’d been by the Raven’s side, three boys, a mutated parahuman and an Itharii; those tiny amphibian aliens who’d arrive on earth twelve years prior. They distributed name tags and we put them on.
“Please follow your guides, they will show you around.”
Our guide showed us the basis of the academy ground; there was the schoolhouse, the cafeteria, the gym and training center and the administration building which composed the heart of the school. When he was done, he lead us to a large brick house with two floors on the western end of the school grounds. As he arrived by the door he distributed temporary passes to all of us, reminding us to get our real one done in the administration by the week’s end or we’d be locked out. The guide quickly went over the rules; we had to stay at the dorm during the week, the cafeteria only served lunch, dinner was on us, we were responsible for cleaning and grounds keeping of our house, roommate assignment were waiting for us inside. He reminded us that our introductory class was at nine tomorrow before leaving us by ourselves.
We entered the house in turn. Most of the first floor consisted of an open plan kitchen and living room combination. I couldn’t help but notice that a spa had been installed. A staircase at the back lead to both a second floor and a basement while a door lead to what I presumed was a backyard. On both sides of the room were doors to other rooms, marked with a number and having a keycard reader.
It wasn’t long until someone noticed that the kitchen counter held a stack of still warm pizza, the type marked on the side. After eight plus hours of travel we didn’t hesitate to dig in, leaving the room assignment for later. Pizzas were one of the few foods that I liked; combining two of my favorite things; mild cheese and tomatoes; add some hot sauce and it was perfect.
Once I was done stuffing myself, I walked over the middle of the room where the bulletin board hung on a wall. It held a sheet with dorm assignments. I searched through it and found myself in room five along with someone named Rowan.
“Hey, which one of you is Rowan?” I asked.
“I am.” The mutated parahuman said in a low and rough voice as they came forward, walking on all four. I took a good look at them; they were large, tall and muscular, their skin pitch black, small horns erupted from their forehead and a long thick mane of hair fell down on their back. A slim tail ending in a triangle hook completed their look. It took me a second to notice they were wearing any clothes at all; their dark shorts blended right in with their skin.
“I’m Allison.” I said with a smile, extending a hand. “Nice to meet you, looks like we’ll be roommates for a while. Just so you know, I go by they pronoun.”
“So do I.” They answered, making me think this was part of the reason we’d been roomed together.
I grabbed my bags and went to find our room; one of the four rooms on the second floor, opposite some kind second living room and a balcony overlooking the kitchen, and opened the door with my keycard, Rowan coming in right after me. The inside of our room wasn’t anything spectacular; hardwood floors, plain white walls, a pair of captain beds with dark blue linens each with a bedside table, two large closets at the back of the room and two computer desks with chairs. Rowan took the bed on the left and I defaulted to the other, removing my stuff from my bags and setting them wherever felt right. Rowan seemed confused as to why I frantically ordered and reordered things to be as symmetrical as possible but they didn’t pass a comment.
After opening the drawer to my bedside table I found a tablet waiting for me. I opened it and it displayed a registration screen. I quickly filled it and it connected to the school’s network; displaying my student info including class schedules, map of the site, a guide to the nearby town of Havenport and bus schedules; weekends had free trips to New York for all students. I closed the tablet and set it back where it belonged before going back to the main room. Around the same time, a few others had emerged from their room.
“Anyone wanna watch a movie and maybe get to know each other?” One of the guys said, his tag identified him as ‘Mace’ without a last name which struck me as odd. He was definitely Asian and from his shirt opening I could see the beginning of rather impressive musculature.
“That sounds fun. Wait, has anyone seen Ahti? They’re the Itharii.” Someone asked; a heavy set Asian girl with long black hair in a ponytail. Her name tag said ‘Annabelle’.
“Fell asleep the moment it touched the bed.” Another girl said with a shrug, she was a thin redhead with a sickly white complexion called Jaime. The use of ‘it’ made my jaw clench and fist ball up; I’d been called such by bigots.
But before I could do anything, Rowan spoke up.
“Don’t call Ahti an ‘it’.”
“Fine.” She said with a shrug. “Whatever.” With that, Jaime fucked off, going out the door and into the night.
I had a feeling Jaime was going to be a pain to work with…