There are many astounding buildings in the world, in my time I've seen grand palaces, giant temples and some of the most astounding countryside Solivity has to offer. With that being said, nothing has ever compared to the beauty that is the Academy. The Academy was once an old Lords castle, after his passing the Wolves acquired it and made it our home base, the main body of the castle looks somewhat shabby and run down but despite that on your first visit you are overcome with the feeling of sheer awe. The walls radiate power, even for a new pup such as myself I could sense the amount of Qi flowing in and out of this building. It was once said that the protections laid upon this castle so many years ago made it capable of withstanding a siege until the sun burnt out. I absentmindedly crossed the old battered drawbridge, over a moat that didn't exactly look like water. Still engulfed in utter awe of the castle, when I was halfway through the portcullis, I seemed to hit an invisible wall. I stood there inspecting the wall that was both there and wasn't there when I noticed two men on either side of me, in cloaks as black as night emerging from the shadows of the gatehouse. It was as if they had formed from the shadows, to the side of each of them a shaggy black wolf stood. One of the men, a bit shorter than the others realising there was no threat in this 8-year-old boy approached me and asked me what I was doing here. I was so frightened, I explained in a rush the past 6 months and how Rolan had brought me here to train to be a Wolf. A story that would have taken hours over a good cup of wine took me a matter of minutes to relay to this man, at first, he was a bit shocked by my outburst but then he let out a genuine laugh. He told a third man who had emerged from the shadows a bit farther back, Jarra, to drop the barrier and that he would take me into the Academy to meet with the Alphas. As we walked through the rest of the gatehouse the three remaining men and their wolves seeped back into the shadows and unless a bonfire was lit in the center of the portcullis no one would have been able to see them.
The man escorting me was called Mattea, he was a Black Wolf by the colour of his cloak. His wolf, Freana was a large shaggy wolf with a coat of brown and with specs as green as the forests around us. As we walked through the courtyard, he told me that he was taking me to meet the Academy's Alphas who would see to my admittance. After we crossed the main courtyard, he strolled through the doorway without waiting for me. I rushed to catch up to him and he told me about the building while winding us through a maze of corridors and staircases until we finally made it to a large, heavily embossed door. He knocked once and waited to be granted entrance. A woman's voice called us in to what seemed to be a study, there were two desks which couldn't have been farther apart. Two people sat at these desks, a solidly built man in his later years sat at a desk of dark oak, the desk looked pristine; very much like himself he was too engrossed in his papers to realise we were there. On the other side of the room was a large desk of a silvery wood, I'm still unsure of the type of tree this desk was made from but my best guess is it comes from the depths of the Brightwoods, the woman who sat at this desk was shorter than average but stocky. Her desk unlike her colleague was littered in papers and objects of all sorts. She seemed very flustered and after calling us in, it took her a moment to realise what she had just done. Once she came too, she looked up from her papers and greeted Mattea with a warm, motherly sort of smile. Mattea introduced us and explained to me that this woman was Rea Annath and the man on the other desk is Tom Meranal. They are the elders of the Academy and would be the ones to decide if I can be admitted. Rea stood up from her desk and offered me a seat by her desk. She walked Mattea to the door asking him a few questions about their guard watch at the entrance and closed it behind him as he left. After Mattea left Rea resumed her place behind her desk and gave me a very warm smile. She seemed, in a lot of ways very similar to how my mother had been, caring and happy to meet anyone new. After a few moments of me mistily looking around their study Rea asked me who I was and why I've come to this place. I told her my name and that a man named Rolan and his wolf found me in my village, that I've come to learn to be a Wolf. She tensed up a bit when I mentioned Rolan but to this day, decades later Rea has yet to tell me why. Her composure was back in seconds and after probing me for a few more details like my age and interests she informed me that neither herself nor Tom have the ability to allow me into the Academy. I was clearly disheartened, I'd come all this way to be told I can't be admitted. Looking at my face after this news Rea got back up from behind her desk, my eyes following her I saw her walkover to the large rug by the hearth in the room and nudge it with her foot.
The rug, moved. I was shocked, it wasn't a rug at all but an extremely large shaggy black-brown wolf. The wolf was easily larger than Rea and after her nudge it quietly growled and roused itself. Sitting on its haunches the wolf towered over me. Its eyes settled on me, piercing into my soul; I felt as if this wolf after that first glance knew every single thing about me. I opened my mouth to ask Rea what's going on but before I could get out the words another voice spoke, not in the open but in my mind. “Hello young Pup, my name is Aileran, the elder Wolf of the Academy.” He only seemed to be speaking to me in my mind, Rea had already gone back to her desk and was reading through papers. Aileran laid down and invited me to come sit on the floor with him. After I sat down, I had one of the strangest conversations of my life, up to that point anyway. I tried to speak with him only with my mind, but as I would get carried away I would lapse and speak outloud. It got to the point where I threw away all notion of speaking in my mind and just spoke freely, Tom and Rea didn't seem to mind. I asked how he could be speaking to me, Rolan said Wolves could only communicate with their wolf after they were bonded. Aileran let out a bark like a laugh and told me that while that is true if you've lived as long as he has even a wolf can learn new tricks. He told me he was born in the ancient times before the Aeon War, in this time there were certain magics that we could only dream about, his ability to speak in people's minds is a by-product from that time. It then resonated with me, before the Aeon War? That would me him over five thousand years old, I've asked him about this in more depth in recent years but he always just lets out his bark that sounds oddly like a laugh and then tells me exercise and stubbornness has kept him alive and fit all these years.
We spoke for hours, asking about what drew me to want to be a Wolf? I told him when Rolan found me in my small village and told me what I could be, I wanted to learn more and help those who can't help themselves. He looked at me and although I couldn't tell due to a lack of facial expressions, he seemed to respect that answer. He then started on some new questions. What do I know of Drawing? What do I think the Academy stands for? Why do I think the Academy exists? These last two questions I know Aileran asks everyone who wishes to learn, there are no wrong answers to these questions they are his way of determining the backbone of your character. My answers were simple the Academy stands for knowledge alongside protection, Wolves even in my remote village are known to be honourable people who will protect the weak, while many are scared of the Wolves if they're dire enough to go to one for help, the Wolf will always help them. They must be careful in larger towns as the dislike of them grows the closer to country capitals you get to but that won't stop them helping someone in need. The Academy is the beacon that builds hope in those who can't help themselves, without the Academy and the services it provides the world would be a lot worse than it is now.
After those questions we just sat there for a short while, then a question came into my mind. I asked him if I was allowed to ask him a question. He nodded in assent and I asked “If it's okay to ask, what is the Academy to you, Aileran? He cocked his head towards me, and I heard what sounded as a growl building up inside him. I started to back away, when the deepest laugh like bark he could give came out of his mouth. The ancient old wolf barked and rolled over a bit on the floor. He sat back up and said “I have lived a long-time lad, I have seen empires rise and fall, new lands arise the world itself end. You, however, are the first person in my memory to ask me this question!” I settled back down, and a timid smile grew on my face, I asked him how that could be. How am I the first to ask him a question like that? “Boy, when you live as long as I have your opinions aren't opinions anymore, they are fact. I created the Academy, I set its ethos but that was thousands of years ago, my views on the academy have changed just like anyone else's would over a long time; but people see the ethos I set and had carved above our entrance and determine my meaning for it themselves. Look above the hearth and tell me what you see.”
I looked above the roaring fire and carved into the fireplaces stone read ‘We are the constant force that bring man together.’ after I finished reading it Aileran sat back on his haunches, “My kind were seen as the enemy by most of the world in one of the worst time frames in history. Although we did nothing, we still brought the world to war even unconsciously. However, we also brought the world to peace after we left mankind behind, while some of us stayed back we did this to observe. We built the Academy for men to come and learn our ways and to be p0rotectors for the world; we’re the balance the world needs. We bring both light and darkness to a world a world which is slowly falling deeper into disarray.”
After Aileran finished speaking he looked at me, and I felt Rea’s hand rest on my shoulder, I jumped at the sudden touch and stood up looking at her. She smiled down at me and told me to come with her, it’s time for me to meet my new pack. As I stood up and left the room behind Rea, I heard the other man in the room say to the aged wolf, “What do you think about the boy?” after a short pause he spoke out loud but quietly to himself, “One of the strongest of us? I look forward to seeing that day.” No matter what happens to me in my life, I know these words will always stay with me. As I stepped through the door trembling a bit, I had never felt more excited. I had done it; I was going to become a Wolf.