All around her the sounds of celebration and excitement echoed from the stone arches. Alis sat virtually alone in the library, seated at her favorite table. Looking out the nearby window, she could see across the grounds from her desk chair. At this time every year classes took a break at the height of the summer. For two weeks there were bonfires, games, and feasting. This year was no different. Dozens of students lounged in the grass, drank, and played games. Alis never participated in these celebrations. She liked to watch them, though, as she sat in the library thinking about her various studies.

The formless and the dragons still dominated much of her free time. She was fascinated by them. She was plagued by a lurking sort of anxiety after the incident at the University months before. It felt as if the world was taking a deep breath and standing on the edge of a cliff. Too soon would be the plunge, the chaos of the coming storm.

But even before she felt the impending doom of an unknown foe, she had not participated in the festivities much. It had once been a time for leisure reading, maybe some organizing and napping. She did attend dinners, and bonfires on occasion. But fun for her was a new book, not a party. And now she was driven to spend her off hours gathering what information she could in case the shadow creatures returned.

This may, in fact, have been completely crazy. She didn’t know. But the topic was a ripe research area even if none of these things came to pass. There was little scholarship on the Formless. She was determined to fill it out so that in five hundred years, the University would not be caught unawares again. Assuming the doomsday didn't come before then, that is.

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