Alluum, a continent on Alksheist that is known for its elite dragon riders. Royalty may rule the nation, but the dragon riders are the ones that are truly admired. Everyone in the country dreams of attending Evercrest Academy, the only place in all of Alksheist that trains dragon riders. The most elite academy in the world, applicants are only accepted once every eleven years, when the previous class is in their last year of studies. Each student must perform to the best of their ability to impress the class heads, go on a Journey, and hopefully make it into one of nine classes available in the academy. Once accepted into a class and paired with a dragon, the dragon riders have a long, successful future ahead of them as the top citizens of Alluum. They have prestige and are extremely skilled in the specialties of their class. Life couldn't be better for the students at Evercrest.
Applying to Evercrest
Being as prestigious as it is, Evercrest is quite a selective institution. Getting into the Academy is the dream of many around the world; the competition is unlike any other. Only around 20% of the applicants are accepted into the academy and even less make it through the rigorous twelve year curriculum.
The process for entering Evercrest begins the first of Einai, the first month of the year, every eleven years. Every weekend for a year, entrance exams are held. In between these times, applicants are welcome to board at the school and train for their exams. In the likely circumstance that all of the people who have shown up for a certain exam time are not processed, they may stay over until the next weekend.
Exams aren't paper and pencil tests, they are a demonstration of the applicant's abilities. Many exams involve magic, displays of melee skills, displays of stealth and some lack physical abilities, instead the applicants showing off their intelligence and oratory. Every exam ends in a speech. Since this process is essential to having your character accepted, there is an entire page dedicated to the correct form of an entrance exam.
Applicants have one chance to make it into the academy in a lifetime. Many people train their entire lives to attempt admittance into the school, and people come from around Alksheist to apply to the school. If they don't pass the exams, they are sent out of the school and forbidden to return. If they do pass the exams, they move on to a Journey, in which an applicant will be tasked with tracking down a dragon (or their andzkin) in the world to come with them to Evercrest. The Journey lasts from when a character is accepted into a class until the end of the calendar year; if they fail to find a dragon or their andzkin during that time, they are denied entry into the school.
Evercrest Academy is a congregation of many different types of people. Non-magics, magics, rich, poor, Zannians, Alluumnians and dragons all gather together on campus to be taught about their future professions. Some may die, some may run away, and others will be very successful, or maybe not successful at all, but no learning could happen without the school's administration.
It is a common myth that the class heads are the ruling bodies of the academy, but this simply is not true. There is a mysterious headmaster that rules over the school, though only the class heads are allowed to visit him, and even then only under the most dire circumstances. This mysterious person has not been seen in over a thousand years, and even many of the current class heads doubt their existence -- if it weren't for the checks signed in illegible handwriting, they might have blown off the headmaster long ago.
The headmaster takes care of the bills around the campus, and occasionally there are posters put up in the dead of night without anyone seeing. Some missions appear on the bulletin board in an equally mysterious fashion. The headmaster's doing? Who knows.
The class heads coordinate activities around campus and most missions. Their job is to ensure their class moves smoothly, with adequate mentor/student pairings and offering assistance to anyone on the campus, in their class or not. Certain classes work with each other more often than others, and some class heads don't get along, but it is their job to keep the school running in a somewhat smooth manner.
Class heads are officially paid by donations given to the school and missions they take on, but many pull from the Evercrest Tax for their personal needs. The Evercrest Tax's money is supposed to be used for the operation of the school and supplies for classes, but some class heads dip into the remainder to buy personal luxuries.
Under class heads are vice heads. Every class has an appointed vice head. Vice heads are similar to vice presidents; they do the work in the class the class head doesn't have time to do or just doesn't want to do, and they are appointed class head when the previous class head dies. In most classes, they are given the same privileges as mentors, they just have a harder job.
Next are mentors, who are the teachers of the academy. Their job is to offer quality education to the student or students they are paired with. Becoming a mentor at Evercrest is an honor, since it requires dedication and hard work in the class. Many mentors have done important things for their class, or have very high mission success rates. Fewer are new graduates from Evercrest, who ranked top in their class. They are paid like the class heads are, from the donations given to the school, and are given free food and dorm (for both them and their dragon).
Graduate students are the last in the pecking order of the Evercrest administration. They are students in their last year at Evercrest, and are allowed mentor duties if their performance has been adequate and if they wish to become a mentor. Some students on their Journeys may be assigned a graduate student instead of a mentor. Graduate students are unpaid for their work, but live at Evercrest for free.
Evercrest's campus stretches across around three square miles of land, but most of it is unused. Nestled a cozy 10,048 feet above sea level on Floyd Peak, Evercrest can't even be seen from the ground. It's above the clouds, although, from campus, on a clear day, a farsighted dragon can see the shimmer of Xidwin in the distance. A bluish haze covers the ground below and a glacier rests on the Evercrest Mountains, supplying water to the school and the dwarves who call the mountains home. Because of a magical field, Evercrest still receives the same weather and temperatures of the valley, so it's a relatively controlled climate and a little easier on the lungs due to the concentration of oxygen that mimics the pressure at the mountain valley.
The school's founding was the beginning of the Dragon Era, so some of the buildings are completely different than others. Most buildings are from an old ruin that was situated on Floyd Peak. The ruins were from the Stone Era and rather intact for buildings that old, so the founders made a few changes to the buildings already there. Originally, there were only four towers, a wall, and a large complex inside of the cave that the main two towers are in front of and the others inside. This cave has many tunnels extending for miles into the mountains and actually leading to the dwarf kingdom's Alluum capitol.
To get into the cave, you must first pass through the towering main gates and pass through the training yard and, finally, the courtyard. The courtyard is usually where wardens show off their gardening skills and also is encased by a single-story limestone building that acts as a sort of inner wall to the cave. This building is where the school-wide cafeteria is, along with a few places for vendors to set up once or twice a year. It has narrow windows and no doors, simply openings leading to different parts of the training yard or into the interior of the wall surrounding the academy.
Inside the cave, the floors are mosaics of dragons and unicorns, generally fighting. The odd tiger or lion may be thrown in, but the main mosaics usually entail the struggle between dragons and unicorns. Also, most hallways and rooms are lit by candles, magic, or torches to conserve electrical costs that usually go to heating and cooling the academy. The first thing you can walk into the the school's general library, which is the second-largest library on campus. It's decorated elaborately in gold and gems, the bookshelves being around forty feet tall and carved from Copun's trees. Books of every type can be found in the library, but students aren't allowed to check out books. They may, however, keep them in a special bin in the library. Anyone who is found with a book outside the library is sentenced to punishment by their class head.
Walking to the left, you will find many odd rooms, most decorated as simple sitting rooms or even computer labs to search the Internets of major cities. One room is full of telephones with lines to every major city in Alksheist and another is a volcanic pool. Some rooms are just covered in gemstones and different ores with strange light fixtures. It eventually dead-ends into a small garden room.
To the right are the sitting rooms for exams and a little farther down the hall is the actual exam room. Just beyond (and connected to) the exam room is the nursery and hatchery where eggs are kept safe and allowed to hatch if the offspring is to be a wild dragon. Continuing down the hall, you can reach Hangman's Point through a large door on the left along with more random and strange rooms before reaching a large brass door that allows students to head into the dwarven kingdom.
Outside the walls of the academy is a large building known as the Gymnasium that is only utilized when entrance exams are going on. This building holds temporary lodging, a large training area, and a library. Outside are gardens and a magical forest maintained by the wardens. In the forest are unrestored ruins for students and dragons to explore should they wish. More unrestored ruins and other nooks and crannies can be found on the Evercrest grounds and students are encouraged to explore around to become more knowledgeable of the grounds around the school.
- Alchemists' Tower - home of the alchemists
- Crusader Tower - home of the crusaders
- Divines' Tower - home of the divines
- Gold Tower - home to the couriers
- Hangman's Point - home for the erasers
- The Intow - home of the intermediaries
- Silver Tower - home of the sorcerers
- The Treehouse - home of the wardens
- Vanguard Tower - home to the vanguards
- The Great Library