Before Ruby could dress and shower she was called down into the headmaster's office. Annoyed that she hadn't been able to settle into her new dorm or meet her new roomate she begrudgingly made her way over.
Like all the other rooms in the school the ceiling was vaulted. Though the walls were mostly bare, a few plaques and academic achievements gave the room an air of sophistication.
A tall black leather chair was facing away from her. Behind it she could smell cherry cigar smoke.
"Um Headmaster Ras?"
The chair swung around revealing a boy around her age. The first thing Ruby took in was his eyes; as green as emeralds. The next was his smug grin as he took another drag on the cigar.
Ruby waved smoke out of her face. "Gross."
His eyes narrowed skeptically as he studied her. "Nice dress."
"Who are you?"
Before the boy could answer the door swung open. "Maximus Emry. Resident trouble maker who will most likely be spending the majority of the term in my office until he realizes that he is not the epicenter of the universe or that smoke kills," Headmaster Ras announced triumphantly as he plucked the cigar from the boy's mouth. The grin fell from Maximus's face.
" Out Emry!" This time the Headmaster's voice was cold and deliberate. Maximus scuttled to his feet and on his way out the door he dropped a balled up piece of paper on Ruby's lap. Rude, she thought.
"Ah Miss Dawson, sorry about that little display of juvenile behavior. Now back to you."
Ruby felt a knot tighten in her throat. She nodded solemnly.
"As you may know I sometimes frequent the local village and breweries. I find its essential in maintaining our school's secrecy. If any rumors were to start I could stop them in their tracks."
It was no secret Headmaster Ras liked to drink.
Ruby nodded obediently. "I understand sir."
"As we've done for years we've allowed lycans to stretch their inner beasts in the surrounding forests, providing they followed our rules and no humans were ever harmed."
Again she nodded.
"However last weekend a few of the hunter's at the local tavern passed around this." He sorted through the paper's on his desk until he found a Polaroid. He held it up for Ruby to observe. It was her panther form bedded down on a patch of moss.
" H-how'd they-"
-"Trailcam," Ras interrupted. "I feel we have been too lenient with our lycan students. Effective immediately the Lycan's are not to leave the premises in animal form.
Ruby's eyes widened in surprise and she leaned closer to the headmaster.
"Control yourself. Your eyes are yellow and I'm not sure I could continue this conversation with an angry leapord."
Ruby stole a moment to control her emotions. If she couldn't run and hunt then she was trapped.
"As you may have noticed we have built a new addition this year. It has been specifically built for the lycan students so that they each may have their own living quarters-"
Ruby bolted out of her chair. "Separate walls and facilities doesn't make up for the fact that you're taking our forests away!"
"Temporarily," his voice sounded louder than her's but much calmer. Ruby sank back into her seat upon his commanding look.
"It's only until we get a hold on the situation. Meditation classes will also be a part of your weekly regime. I'm speaking to each lycan individually, you are not alone in this." He reached in one of his desk drawers. " Here are the keys and map to your new dorm. Enjoy," he said with a smile.
Ruby clutched at the ball of paper in her lap digging her nails into it mercilessly. She got out of her seat and stalked out of the office to find her new dorm room. She glanced at the map in her hand and balled that up as well. She could find her own way. She shoved the pieces of paper into her pocket. She did long division in her head to distract the beast that threatened to take over.
After a couple minutes of wandering up the wrong staircases Ruby reached for the crumpled up map. Only when she unfolded the piece of paper she had realized she grabbed the wrong one. A barely legible message was scrawled on the piece of paper:
Society of Lycan's Meeting
To be held at dusk in the Birchland forest.
Tell no one.