Might this be a hint at the return of system reviews? Stay tuned!

Locus Aphrodite

Chancel of Desire, Discord, Fear, Retribution, and Youth

High school is a dangerous place. It seems like tragedies and lost lives are becoming more and more frequent. Sign of the times, maybe, but also cover for the hundred deaths necessary to create a Chancel.

Across the world, schools are missing hallways, rooms, and exterior spaces. The connections are still there, though they’re hard to find. But if you take a wrong turn on the way to class, you may find your way into Locus Aphrodite.

Most visitors don’t pay much attention to its sheer sprawling size: a high school a big as a city. If you’re just in a rush to get to and from your class, you might never notice the endless corridors. After all, there are no improbably long stretches. Instead, the halls bend and twist, hundreds of missing wings spliced together. Everywhere there are nooks and corners. During the day, they’re perfect places for hormonal teens to hide for a romantic interlude. At night, they’re shadowy hazards where any kind of monster could dwell…

There are fields and quads and all the other kinds of outdoor areas you’d expect a school to feature. But if you really look around, you’ll realize they’re all courtyards: no matter how big the playing field, if you walk a little ways past it in any direction, you’ll hit another section of school building. If you could fly high enough, you’d realize that the “sky” is essentially a fancifully-painted auditorium ceiling; the “sun” is just a row of stadium lights, turning on and off in sequence throughout the “day.” Nobody knows what you’d find if you could punch through; maybe just more school.

Most of the daytime inhabitants are unwitting visitors. If you take a wrong turn looking for an unknown classroom at any high school on Earth, you might just find your way into the Chancel. Maybe it’s an honest mistake from a freshman or transfer student, or maybe the school’s class scheduling system hasn’t quite forgotten the now-missing rooms. Thousands of these visitors bustle in and out of the Chancel every period; they take their class and then find their way back to the real world. Maybe they see a window and briefly wonder why it was a cloudy morning out the window of their last period, but now it’s a clear afternoon. Maybe they notice that all the teachers in this hall look so young they must be just out of teaching school themselves. Maybe they stop to note that their mono-ethnic school gets weirdly diverse during this one period. But they will usually live out the semester and then never find their way here again… as long as they don’t get detention.

The Vice Principals roam the halls at all times, looking for troublemakers. There aren’t nearly enough of them for the thousands upon thousands of students cramming the halls between periods, and you might not even notice them since none of the authority figures here appear much older than the students themselves. But they have little tolerance for horseplay, and can appear with a frightening alacrity behind troublemakers. Sometimes, it seems like trophy cases and other golden adornments are left out precisely to tempt clowns to become vandals and call down the swift retribution of the enforcers. They’ll hand you a detention slip, and this room you won’t have any trouble finding.

Detention is the path to full citizenship in the Chancel. Over a mind-numbing few hours staring at the walls of the library or empty classroom, your recollections of life in the real world become fuzzy. Over the next few days, there may be some confusion as you vaguely remember that you were attending other classes, sometimes left the school grounds, and, most likely, weren’t at a boarding school. But you quickly start to make all new relationships with your culturally diverse schoolmates (it really is weird that they all speak your language, you might consider once or twice before it becomes just part of the background). Some of them will become terrifying bullies, but there seems to be a string of torrid high school romances for everyone (not that all coed boarding schools aren’t supposed to be like that). After a few years, you’ll probably forget that you were meant to grow up and get a job some day, or that it’s weird at all that “Freshman” is just something that can happen to Seniors who fall from the top of the social pecking order.

Of the potentially hundreds of thousands of students that pass through the Chancel every day, perhaps ten-thousand make up the true citizenry. More are, of course, added every day, mysteriously finding a bed in a bunkroom that they don’t precisely recall but which clearly has their name on the tag and desk and chest full of their favorite things. The numbers would certainly swell, except for the attrition rate. During the day, students safely walk the halls, but, at night, it’s unsafe to venture far from your room. Some students sleepwalk, or on a dare travel into the darkened corridors (on the opposite side of the school from where the Eastern visitors are having their morning classes). In the dark, there are terrible, fearsome things that no two students ever describe the same way twice. Those that even return to describe them are the lucky ones; few return to their beds at all, and their possessions will be quietly claimed by new students a few days later (who will insist they’re prized belongings brought from home).

But if you can resist the urge to explore the darker reaches of the school and find a group of friends that will protect you from the abuses of your peers, citizenship can be an exciting time. Eternal youth in a school boiling over with teen romance is clearly something that many adults in the real world would sell their souls to obtain.

Some say that the teachers and staff already have.

Properties of Locus Aphrodite

  • Don’t trust anyone over thirty;
  • Rulebreakers are punished;
  • It’s dangerous to walk the halls at night;
  • Apparent age is simple hierarchy;
  • Kids will be (and remain) kids;
  • Of course it’s dreamlike or nightmarish: it’s high school

Many entrances and exits; Auctoritas varies based on maturity (0 for kids and teens, 1 for young adults, 2 for adults, 3 for middle aged, 4 for old, 5 for ancient)

Advertisements