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Every school has its initiations, rituals and ceremonies in which the students take a part in, either with or without the approval of the faculty and staff. In their fifth years, students at the Mesa Academy run a darkened labyrinth beneath their school, facing their own dreams and nightmares on a ritual quest that spans the course of the year’s longest night. Rumours likewise tell of RPI witches taking to the sky when the moon is full, separated from the night’s cool embrace by their own skin and laughter. Allegiance Academy alumni sometimes speak amongst themselves of a secret society that walks outside the halls of the island-bound fortress. The Walkers of the Drowned Road are said to escape the walls of the school in secret to commune with ancient spirits that haunt the ocean’s floor, seeking out their secrets and hidden names. 

At the Laveau Academy there is another ritual that all students are invited, but not required, to participate in. The Laveau Academy, by long tradition, does not simply teach its children magic. Its eponymous founder believed that a certain poise and social maneuverability were vital for the successful witch or wizard. As one of her earliest lessons at the school, Marie exemplified this fact by walking across gator infested waters supported only by a narrow rope and her own confidence. Barefoot, she navigated the treacherous path and then invited her students to do the same, explaining halfway across that balance was as vital to magic as it was to avoiding the hungry maws below. None of them died during the test, but a few did suffer some small injuries…those who passed became her favored few, and many went on to become teachers in their own right.

The test remains a tradition at the school. Every year the Headmistress takes third year students into the swamp and performs the walk, stopping halfway across to explain its significance. As stated, students are not required to take the test, but those brave enough to at least make the effort are rewarded for their gumption. Those who complete it often gain the special attention of the Headmistress and her faculty, as well as acclaim amongst their fellow students. In the modern era, real gators aren’t used to test the student’s poise, but as a rule they aren’t told that until after. Transfigured logs and the school’s own resident weregator, Groundskeeper Lefort, take their place, adding a seeming peril to the murky waters of the bayou.  
(Tightwire over the water. Performance “InSitu” at the Parc Camifolia (Chemillé, FR) Cie Mesdemoiselle.)


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