The class erupted into giggles and applause that turned into mean laughter. Upon bursting, the stink-bomb rained confetti and pink flower petals on the prank’s culprit—Leonard de Lux, Junior.
She was about 18 years of age, an Academy freshman. She had the tawny complexion of a mulatto Creole and was tall and lithe, with a doe-like face that was delicate but also rather sour and intense. Her hair had carelessly grown out into thin matted strands that reached down her back, and her eyes were an eerily light grayish green.
Danny Bruno was adept at playing both sides of the fence—and even places above and below it. Few dared cross him, but every once in a while, perhaps for entertainment purposes, Danny would form a misbegotten alliance with a character who had grown one too many testicles. Then he would crush the smart ass good when he or she tried to pull a fast one.
Aurelio Zosimo, although having height, was of a wispy and slightly slouching stature. In early middle-age, he appeared much younger than he was, even for an Inner Plane’s person. He was given to wearing worn corduroy pants, half-tucked plaid shirts, and woolen vests. His delicately masculine face was somewhat swarthy, flecked with sparse colonies of upper lip and chin hairs. His generous but uncertain smile involved the slight curling up of the left side of his mouth.
Leonard’s father repeated that Sofia La Maga was a fake. He said that the heroic tales about her were hoaxes. He stressed that she was the bastard spawn of a wayward woman who had died under suspicious circumstances. He reminded Leonard and his friends that this one Sofia La Maga also had been kicked out of the H. Trismegistus Mystical Arts Academy School of Graduate Studies in her junior year of college. She was a trouble-maker who almost took the school down because of her political extremism. A terrorist, Leonard’s father insisted. Furthermore, rather than applying herself to unusual scholarship in the Terra Mysticus as was claimed about her, she had been running some sort of silly “New Age” cult among the Commons in the Outer Plane for the past 15 years . . .
It was just as Leonard’s father had insisted. Professor La Maga was nothing but a bedraggled kitchen witch.
She didn’t seem at all like the stories told about her. In fact, she roamed through the secondary school’s second-floor corridor as if she were roller-skating with three left feet and had the mental disposition of a hedgehog.
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Leo de Lux had peculiar eyes. Now, it was very common for sorcerers, magi, shamans, sadhus, yogis, and others like that to have a lot of personality in the eye. In fact, it was the power in the eye. The more character in the eye, the more a person knew he or she was dealing with impressive magical talent. . . .
Leo de Lux Sortiar had eyes that were like the palest, iciest, and most remarkably prismatic blue gem. They had turned that way from a deeper blue during his youth when he had survived a dark act of magical warfare. His critics, those who feared or who had been attacked by him, and even some of his admirers referred to him as Leukoculi—“White-Eyed.” In certain magical traditions, pale eyes like those of de Lux were unlucky. They were a sign of wickedness . . . of being an absorber . . . a sapper . . . a vampire.
Besides the strikingly pale eyes, de Lux had severe but attractive features. His closely cropped hair was dark auburn. He had a smooth, fair, unblemished complexion; strong, intense brow; a perfect nose; and thin expressive lips that moved along with his fierce eyes to pout, wince, sneer, and tediously sigh.
The man looked bored or exasperated most of the time. He saved his smile for either indulgently bawdy or awe-inspiring moments. He was not easily impressed, but he was easily annoyed.
Sorcerers and Magi
“You’re going to the other side, La Maga, but not so fast,” Medea announced. The sorceress produced a small, red bird that she abruptly smashed with the head of her staff. A crushing pain seized Sofia’s chest. She collapsed while Medea struggled against Mirelle to pull the lion-topped staff away from Sofia.
The elephant began to plod in place while the flora within the courtyard grew denser and more enveloping. The creature reared its trunk and let out a squeak.
“So, once there was an elephant,” she stuttered again, with her usual goofy bravado. “And it went to go soak in a lake when a humongous crocodile—not an alligator, Leonard, a crocodile—caught the elephant’s leg in its jaws.”