Mardalan went through the rest of the class; Dawn learned that the pink-haired girl’s name was Celeste and the guy who had been arguing with her was Rick. After everyone except Dawn, Mardalan paused to write something down on the list. Dawn hoped it was something inoffensive about each person’s appearance so that she could remember their names—and also that it wouldn’t change later in the semester and confuse Mardalan.
“That’s everything we need for today,” Mardalan finally said. “For Monday’s class, I will supply basic cords, but if you have any string you think you might like to use for your spells, please do bring it. We cannot waste any time.” She stared at them for a moment, the class staring back, before she said, “Class dismissed.”
Dawn let Annie leave first, then followed her. She looked at her watch—they’d been dismissed early, so she had plenty of time to kill before her history class. Maybe she should get a snack or something. It didn’t seem worth walking back to Sayer, especially since she already had her book for history. Or she could just walk around—it was a nice day.
Dawn turned around. Celeste was jogging to catch up with her, waving. Dawn smiled and waved back. “Hi, Celeste.”
“Can I ask you a question?” Celeste said as she caught up.
“Sure, I guess so.” Dawn glanced around. Annie had already vanished; she must have either started walking back to her dorm really quickly, or ducked into one of the other academic buildings.
“How did you get the Sight?”
Dawn grimaced. She knew she’d be getting this question a lot. “It’s not going to help you much, I’m afraid. My aunt was dating a faerie before I was born. He gave her some magic ointment that she rubbed on my skin when I was an infant, since she never had kids of her own. I don’t even know if it’s possible to get more of the ointment, and it doesn’t work unless you’re like a newborn.”
Celeste’s jaw had dropped while Dawn was explaining. “Holy crap. Okay, hearing that makes it kind of okay that I can’t do it. How the heck did your aunt end up dating a faerie?”
Dawn shook her head. “I can only hope she’ll tell me someday. I guess she doesn’t like talking about it, though. I think… I think she’s still in love with him, but he didn’t think they could be together, because human-faerie relationships don’t work out.” She thought of Edie and grimaced. There had been no saving her relationship with Leila; Tom might have been right about human-faerie relationships.
Dawn wasn’t about to tell Celeste any more about Tom, though, including the fact that she’d actually met her aunt’s faerie ex. She wasn’t ready to tell the whole story of her freshman year at Chatoyant College to a girl she’d just met today.
“Oh wow, drama,” Celeste said with a sigh—though she sounded more excited than unhappy. “So there isn’t any way for me to see through faerie glamour, huh?”
“Oh, there are a few ways,” Dawn said. “I bet we’re going to learn about them in the protection classes tomorrow—you know about that, right?”
“Oh, yeah, that makes sense.”
“The other ones I know of are finding a rock with a natural hole in it and holding a four-leaf clover. Touching iron might work, too, but that’s a lot less consistent. Four-leaf clovers have worked well for my friends.” Dawn gestured at the grass. “It’s actually really easy to find them around here.”
Celeste looked down at the grass, hitching her messenger bag up on her shoulder. “So you’ve known about faeries for a while? And so have your friends?”
“So why didn’t you tell anyone?” Celeste looked back up at Dawn, her lower lip between her front teeth. Her eyes were blue and huge.
Dawn took a deep breath. “We told a few people. Some people didn’t believe us. And it was dangerous. The faeries—at least some of them, the ones in the woods, like Mardalan—tried to hurt people who knew about them specifically.”
“That’s why she doesn’t like you?”
“We’ve clashed a lot. She’s tried to hurt people I care about.”
That was Corrie’s voice. Dawn turned in some relief and smiled and waved. Corrie and Edie were both approaching from Sayer.
“Hey, Corrie, Edie,” Celeste said from behind Dawn.
“Hey, Celeste!” Corrie grinned. “Cool hair, I like the pink!”
“You know each other?” Dawn glanced between them.
“Yeah, they’re in Rainbow Alliance. These are the friends you were talking about?”
“These are my best friends. We’re roommates this year.”
“Oh, very cool.”
“Did you two just meet?” Corrie asked.
“Celeste is in my Ritual Magic class.” Dawn lowered her voice. “You’ll never believe who’s teaching it.”
Edie frowned. “Strega isn’t back, is she?”
Dawn shook her head. “It’s Mardalan.”
Edie and Corrie both gasped. “Mardalan?” Corrie said. “She’s actually teaching? She didn’t just… I don’t know, eat your real teacher?”
Celeste giggled. “Is she seriously that scary?”
“Yes,” said Corrie, Edie, and Dawn in unison. The smile fell from Celeste’s face.
“Isn’t Annie in that class with you?” Edie asked. “Is she okay?”
“I have no idea,” Dawn said.
“I’ll look for her after class,” Edie said, looking back over her shoulder. “But I don’t want to be late right now.”
“Yeah, I have class, too,” Dawn said.
“Okay, see you on Monday, Dawn!” Celeste turned and headed back the way Edie and Corrie had come. Was she in Sayer, too? Dawn supposed they’d run into each other, if so. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Celeste made her uncomfortable, but she liked her.
“What do you guys have?” Dawn asked as she turned and fell into step with Corrie and Edie.
“We both have French classes,” Corrie said. “But mine is the most basic, of course. How about you?”
“American History,” Dawn said. “Should be fun.”
“I can’t believe they’re really letting Mardalan teach,” Edie said. “Does she actually know anything?”
Dawn grimaced. “She says she knows knot and potion magic, but not candle magic or spiritualism. So I’m not really sure how this is going to go.”
“But why would she want to teach?” Corrie asked. “Didn’t she want to leave campus? Wasn’t that one of the problems we ran into last semester?”
That was a question Dawn couldn’t answer. She shook her head, and as they entered the humanities building, they went their separate ways.