Chapter 1: Mollymauk, lost
He was surprised he had made it this far, Mollymauk had always thought he’d drop out of such a prestigious school. And yet his friends had made sure that was not the case. He had somehow managed to impress the faculty of the Solstyce Academy, where he was one of the few non-human students that had managed to get in. Of course, being a tiefling had brought its complications, some humans had not liked him...but he had managed to worm his way into being sought out by one of the most honored Houses on campus. Mollymauk was at the biggest party of the winter currently, covered in ale and tossed outside after having been humiliated in front of the entire Scourger Society (or Vollstreckers), where the smartest magic practicing students went.
He had been promised a spot there, that he would graduate with honors, he had slept with almost every member, assisted them in practice, worked hard, sucked up to Trent who was the president of the society. And then at his ‘welcoming ceremony’ they had called him horrible names, pushed him down, poured drinks on him, and laughed at him for being so gullible.
“Why would we want a devil-tongued skank in our society?” Molly hissed the words, pushing himself upright on the cobblestone, not nearly drunk enough for this. His hair was disgusting now and he would have to dry-clean his coat. He was freezing too.
The door opened and he heard footsteps approaching, he stood on shaky legs, determined not to let any emotions shine through until he was back in his dorm. Molly turned to look at whoever had approached.
“What?” He asked, brushing some snow and dirt off his knees.
“I got the message, I’m not wanted. I won’t waste your time anymore.” Mollymauk huffed, sniffling some as he wiped a bit of blood from his nose. The human put a finger to his lips, and Mollymauk had half a mind to give him a piece of what the Vollstreakers had given him before the man spoke.
“Quiet. They cannot know I am out here.” Mollymauk narrowed his eyes, distrusting at first, and watched as the man in front of him raised his hands, mumbled words quietly tumbling from his mouth. Before he could ask what in the hell he was doing, Molly’s coat glowed softly, and he felt warm. His eyes snapped down just in time to see the stains of ale and blood disappearing into thin air, leaving his clothes as clean as they had been that morning.
“My...my coat.” Molly whispered, slipping the garment off and inspecting it closely. To his delight he found no stains, everything was in place, including the small tear that had appeared during the havoc.
“There. You must have been freezing, you could have gotten sick walking back home.” His eyes raised to the person in front of him. The man was averaged sized, but a bit underweight it appeared. His hair was ginger and he wore a scruffy beard that made him look a little older than he probably was. But his eyes were piercing, blue like the sky or the moonflowers Mollymauk loved to collect when he found himself in Xhoras, which wasn’t often. Slowly, he approached the other, slipping his coat back on and wrapping it around himself for warmth.
“This is my favorite coat, I always find a reason to wear it on special occasions. You see, it has quite a good number of religious symbols on it. Made it myself...so it means a lot that you cleaned it, thank you.” He raised a finger and wiped the blood on his face with it, tracing a pattern into his palm and whispering some words in Infernal before an orange rose appeared in his hand.
“Here,” Mollymauk whispered, offering it to the other. “It matches your hair.”
Calloused fingers brushed his own as he let go of the flower, his lips forming a small smile as he saw the man’s eyes soften some.
“Danke…” He murmured.
“I was freezing...by the way. So...thank you again, I feel much better. You didn’t have to help.” He turned and shrugged.
“They were right though, you know. They said I was gullible, I should have known...and I think deep down I did all along. But I held onto that one chance that maybe I’d succeed in something. I suppose that was rather childish of me.” He sighed, looking up into the night sky, feeling a little more calm as he gazed at the crescent moon.
“It was not foolish of you at all...they are cruel. Elitist. But they offer what no one else can. A full ride to Cerberus Assembly to train...the hardest grad school to get into. It is that reason why they can do what they do.” Mollymauk nodded solemnly, giving a small sigh. Yes. The Cerberus Assembly, the most prestigious place to train and meet mentors if someone was a magic user. Unfortunately, they did not have any other race but human in their programs. Mollymauk had thought that maybe if he got accepted in there he could change the world, perhaps stop his homeland from more torment. He shook his head, that dream was dead.
Mollymauk turned and pat the other’s shoulder, giving him a toothy grin.
“Well, thank you for keeping me clean and dry, love. I’m not sure if we’ll see each other again but if you are interested, my friends and I have a special place in the campus gardens. One of them works for groundskeeping as his job, he took a place they were going to destroy because nothing would grow and turned it into his own personal alcove where it’s always spring. So um….yeah! Goodnight!” Mollymauk turned to leave, almost slipping on the ice but thanking his tail for helping him catch himself and keep balance.
“Wait…!” He stopped as the human hissed out the word desperately.
“What is your name?”
Mollymauk turned, blood red eyes travelling from the man’s boots up to his head. He was rather cute...shy and obviously incredibly anxious...but cute. It was nice to know that not every Vollstreaker was a complete and utter asshole. This one seemed good...this one had helped him after he had endured some horrible things. It was such a small gesture, but Mollymauk lived off his instincts, and they told him to step closer to the man. So he did. Leave every place better than he had found it...that was his motto. He could leave this House with the prospect of a new friend perhaps.
He strutted back and grinned wide, bowing at the waist dramatically.
“Mollymauk Tealeaf, a ridiculous name for a ridiculous man. But most just call me Molly.” He winked, straightening up and holding out his hand for the other to shake.
“...There are many awful men and women in that building...but you sir, you are not one of them. I won’t forget what you did for me tonight, and if I could; I’d make a House of my own that would make theirs look like utter shit.” He smirked.
“Now, what’s your name, love?” Molly purred, leaning closer, tail flicking back and forth. Oh this boy was adorable. He couldn’t let him walk back into the lion’s den! It would be a crime. This sweet natured human had come out and helped him, risking his own safety to do so, and Mollymauk didn’t want to leave him behind. A warm hand grasped his own, giving a little squeeze.
“Caleb...call me Caleb. Caleb Widogast.” He introduced, Molly smiling.
“Mister Caleb~ Hello there.” Caleb seemed to flush some at his attention, and he brought his hand away from his own.
“I...am sorry for what happened in there. I only wish I could have stopped them in the first place.” Caleb whispered, looking away from him in what looked to be shame. Mollymauk chuckled, shaking his head.
“I don’t blame you for not stepping in. Don’t worry, you’re not the one I hate. It’s them.” He assured. Caleb looked up at him, standing a little bit shorter than him but not much.
“It was a pleasure to meet you, Mollymauk. I hate to leave you so quickly, but if they find out I am gone they will know I helped you. Be careful on the way home, ja?” Caleb clutched the rose to his chest, and Mollymauk smiled softly.
“May the Moonweaver grant you safety in these next few days, Mister Caleb. I would hate for you to get in trouble because of me~” He purred. With that, Caleb disappeared back inside the house, and Mollymauk stood for a moment, the silence of the night surrounding him once more, the only noise being the dull roar of the party inside.
He then turned with a flourish and left. He found himself wandering towards Fjord’s apartment that he had off-campus. Fjord was not happy to see what had happened to Mollymauk, fussing over him and helping him get cleaned up and insisting that he stayed the night with him and Jester. He spent the whole night talking to them about the cute Vollstreaker boy who had helped him, who was the one good soul in that house, who had fire blessed hair and sad eyes.
“You literally got the shit beat out of you, and yer thinking about some pretty boy?” Fjord deadpanned, sitting on the bed with Jester curled into his side, wrapped in a blanket.
“I think it’s romantic~!” Jester sighed, looking up at Fjord. The half-orc Warlock rolled his eyes, leaning back against the headboard.
“I don’t know. He cleaned your clothes...and that feat makes him a savior? I mean...maybe if he had walked you home, cleaned up the wounds on your face but….he didn’t.” Fjord wasn’t convinced and kept giving Mollymauk his infamous ‘I’m not impressed’ facial expression.
“I told you that he couldn’t! He had to sneak out to help me because if the other Vollstreckers saw him helping a tiefling they would have hurt him...he was doing what he could. Don’t judge too soon, darling.” He hummed, laying down and nestling his head onto Jester’s lap. Her fingers thread through his purple curls, and the blanket she was curled up in was soon draped over his chest.
“Well...my intuition has never led me astray, and-”
“Fjord! You are interrupting.” He pouted, making Fjord huff.
“ANYWAYS. My intuition has never led me astray, and I think Caleb Widogast is a good man. Troubled, most definitely...but a sweet soul. And to prove it to you...I invited him to have lunch with us tomorrow.” He smiled, Fjord stiffening and snapping his gaze down at him.
“I’m sorry WHAT!?” Fjord shouted, making Jester roll her eyes while Mollymauk cackled.
“I invited him to lunch as thanks!”
“I heard what ya said! But why!? You’re lettin’ a VOLLSTRECKER, a fuckin’ SCOURGER into our sacred garden?” He accused. Jester leaned up and grabbed his face, kissing him firmly for a good ten seconds before pulling away.
“I had to shut you up, you were panicking and that isn’t good for your sleeping habits, especially with Ukutowa...uko…-”
“Uk’utoa.” Fjord corrected.
“Yeah, him! Anyways, Molly’s right. Caleb didn’t have to help him, but he did! If Molly wasn’t absolutely sure he wouldn’t invite him. He’s been with the Vollstreckers for months but he never bought any of them back. So I trust him!” She said seriously, throwing an arm over Molly’s shoulders.
“Thank you, love.” Molly purred, snuggling closer. Fjord, seeing he was outnumbered, just sighed and relaxed.