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Interlude: The Dormitories

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September 8, 2014 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Each student in the Edally Academy is housed in a dormitory room with other members of their House and their year. In the time of Tairiekie and her friends, those dormitories are the Nine Towers.

The Nine Towers of the Academy surround the central courtyard where once, a thousand years ago and more, the original tower of the original Academy stood. In earlier years, these towers held the entirety of the House for each subject matter, but as the school expanded, the classrooms moved out to exterior buildings, and the towers were remade into dormitory-only buildings.

They stand six stories tall, some of the tallest buildings in the area or, indeed, in all of Ileltedez. Their roofs are a common style for Calenyen architecture: hemispherical domes pierced at the center by a chimney. They taper a bit from the bottom to the top, just enough to give the impression that they are leaning away from each other, avoiding looking each other in the eye.

The Houses can be like that, sometimes, so the impression is, if not apt, at least a reasonable metaphor.

The sixth-year students get the best rooms, at the bottom of each tower; there’s always less of them than there are of first-year students, so they bunk two to a larger room around a lush lounge. In contrast, on the top floor, the first-year students live three to a room in smaller rooms.

The room that Tairiekie shares with her roommates Gaikvya and Iesovyenyie, for instance, has three beds in bunk fashion, each designed to fold up out of the way during the day. It has one smallish window – recently inlaid with stained glass, in a pattern of three interlocking gears over the House colors of grey, orange and red – three fold-down desks, and three very comfortable folding chairs. Hooks on the wall and trunks stacked to one side serve as wardrobes.

The common room is centered on their floor’s fireplace, and is the most frequent gathering place for the students in their year. It has several large chairs, as well as enough floor cushions to comfortably sit the entire floor’s population, a collection of lap desks is provided, stashed in a box when not in use.

The House colors are repeated in motifs throughout the tower – on the lounge upholstery, in the bedding, on the tile murals that line the spiral staircases – but, in the fashion of the Calenyena, those are not by far the only colors in the Tower. Every surface that can be is covered in some way with shades across the rainbow.

The overall effect is cozy and bright, like living in the middle of a kaleidoscope. Despite the dim sunlight making its way in, the rooms generally seem well-lit and comfortable, especially for the Cālenyena, who are not accustomed to much personal space or privacy.


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