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19 – In Which Timothée Embodies the Darkness of All Hallow’s Eve

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Author’s Note:

Please be aware Wicked Academia is a new adult fantasy and contains mature themes. It is intended for audiences 18 years and over.

Eerie music drifted from under the ballroom doors. A calamity of low-pitched instruments, a cadence as beautiful as it was unnerving. It was All Hallow’s Eve, and the night of the grand ball had arrived.

Is it almost time? Timothée looked up and down the darkened hallway and shifted from foot to foot. His movements felt unnatural, arms and legs heavy, not used to the weight of his costume. It wasn’t that the armour didn’t fit. Each piece seemed moulded to his form, fitting him perfectly, despite the fact they had looked too big before he put them on.

It was just heavy. He wore a tight black shirt and pants underneath, but the rest of him was all metal and sharp edges. Panels of gravastarium glinted and swallowed any light that touched it. And then there was the cape. It wasn’t black, but the deepest purple, clasped on either shoulder with a pin shaped like a crescent moon and star. When he moved, the cape flowed behind him like a living shadow.

It reminded him of the cape the Dark Prophet had worn.

Buttery light spilled out of the ballroom door as Carmilla ducked into the hallway. She was dressed as Niya, the lightning hunter goddess, a disciple of Xydrious. She wore a close-cut electric blue dress, fashioned with a lightning bolt.

“It’s almost time,” she said.

“Aren’t we a little late?”

“It’s all part of the show.” She wet her thumb and slicked down a piece of his hair.

His much longer hair, thanks to a few talented Evening Stars. Tonight, he wasn’t just wearing his brother’s armour—he was becoming him. And what they couldn’t change with starcraft, they’d done with a different type of magic: makeup. His freckles had all but disappeared under a layer of powder, and dark kohl lined his eyes. He scrunched up his nose. It was sort of itchy.

“Remember, the moment you walk in you’re not Timothée anymore. You are the God of Shadows. Sif is going to dim the lights, Maeve will bring in a little spooky fog, and the rest is up to you.”

“All that attention.” Timothée felt sick just thinking about it.

“You said you wanted to be liked, that you wanted to fit in,” Carmilla said. “This is none of that. This will make them fear how much they want your love.”

“I’m a god that was banished, that was executed by his own mother for what he did. You’re talking about love?”

“Everyone craves darkness, Timothée.” Carmilla ran a hand along the armour. “All Hallow’s Eve is the only night they’ll admit it.”

Three taps sounded on the door.

“That’s the sign. Count to ten then enter.” Carmilla gave him a quick smile, then ducked into the ballroom.

He thought his heart might race out of his chest. How many seconds had it been? He was about to walk in front of the entire school dressed like…dressed like…

He couldn’t do it. Not like this. He couldn’t. Everyone would be looking at him. What would the professors think? And Val…

Ten seconds had to be up. The music from the orchestra stopped. He’d swallowed a star. At the very least, now he could walk into a room dressed up for All Hallow’s Eve.

With heavy gloved hands, he pushed apart the doors into the ballroom. The room was huge, and yet the only sound was his boots down the grand staircase. Starlings stopped in place, turning their gazes to him. This attention was different than he’d ever received before.

Tonight, you are the God of Shadows. That is what Carmilla had told him. His brother wouldn’t have been afraid of entering a room. He would have made every single person in it his. He’d take their love and their fear and their worship and become drunk on the power of it.

And tonight, Timothée would do the same.

Which seemed sort of silly, because in actuality, he only wanted all of that from one person.

Fog cut between his feet, making each step more purposeful. All the wide-eyed gazes, mouths open in awe, trembles of fear, filled him with a confidence he’d never felt before.

He stopped at the bottom of the stairs at the edge of the dancefloor. His long cape, which had flown behind him as he moved, now pooled at his feet. Timothée observed the ballroom.

He’d seen glimpses of the Celestial Academy’s ballroom before, but this was the first time he’d been inside. The room was decorated for All Hallow’s Eve; red, orange, and yellow leaves floated through the air. Woven pinecone and maple leaf boughs hung from the pillars, parts of them shining as if tiny stars were hidden inside. Gilded golden pumpkins were piled in the corners, carved with frightful expression. Everything was a mix of the terror and beauty of autumn. Pale ghosts drifted from the ceilings, while fake skulls and spiders were scattered amongst the tables of towering food.

And even the mask of Noctis couldn’t stop Timothée from wishing to try everything there, from the wild mushrooms and roasted squash with nuts to the towers of dripping chocolate and all the many types of pie.

The dance floor was the most magnificent of all. The ballroom was situated right at the edge of the Isle of Argos, this room built over a cliff itself. The dance floor, made of glass, looked down over Thraina. When the Starlings danced, they did so over the oceans and mountains and the stars of the world.

A whisper that almost sounded like a chant drifted from their lips.


God of Shadows.

The Greywick boy.

Timothée found his sisters’ faces in the crowd, a strange mix of pride and uncertainty. The professors ranged from amusement (Barracus) to outright fear (Setviren). And Lady Kassandra gave a strange, lingering look as she left the ballroom, knuckles white around her staff.

There was one person Timothée hadn’t seen, the one he had been searching for. Then he saw a glimpse of lilac, almost hidden by the shadow of a large pillar. Valentine’s gaze was not the awe or desire or even fear that played on the faces of the other students—it was that unreadable expression. Then a flash of sadness—no, disinterest—as Val turned away from him.

Timothée stepped forward, drawn to follow. But Carmilla grabbed his arm.

“So,” she said, her voice loud enough to carry. “Does the God of Shadows dance?”

“Yes,” he said. And it was true because they had been practicing. Every night after class, he and Carmilla had pushed his and Val’s beds to the side and danced across the tiny dorm room.

Carmilla had explained his illusion of fear and awe would shatter if he flailed on the dance floor like a fish gasping its final breath. So, they’d danced, while Val had made fun of his footwork and slouching, and just called him a disaster the whole time.

Timothée hadn’t told Val what his costume was going to be, and well, Val hadn’t asked. But now he was wondering if he should have. He supposed a small part of him had hoped Val would be, he didn’t know, impressed? But he’d looked about as disinterested in this as everything else Timothée did.

Everyone else was impressed though, Timothée thought. What’s his problem?

“Timothée,” Carmilla hissed under her breath, “lead me to the dance floor.”

He blinked and took Carmilla’s arm. As if on their que, the orchestra started a waltz, and the other couples made their way back to the dance floor.

Stars and sea whirled underneath them, and his stomach flipped. He forced himself to look up into Carmilla’s bright green gaze.

“So,” she said lowly as they started their steps, “how do you feel having everyone’s eyes on you?”

“Honestly?” Timothée said. “Queasy.”

“You’ll get used to it.”

They swung around the ballroom, and he felt himself fall into the practiced movements. He wasn’t a great dancer by any means, but this was enough. The song closed and as he dipped Carmilla low, she tilted her head back, short red hair skimming the glass floor.

He pulled her up and as she fell against him, whispered: “This room is enraptured with you, my little Dark Star.”

A crowd of awed faces watched him. He was sure he was blushing, not that anyone could tell under all the powder.

“You could ask them to kneel and they would,” Carmilla said. “So, what is it you want from them?”

He searched the crowd until he found him, back to the dance floor, standing at the drink station. It was done up like a mad alchemist’s experiment: twisting tubes and bubbling coloured potions, ready to inebriate and enchant. Was Val even wearing a costume? His lilac hair fell loose, and he wore a light low-cut shirt and tight dark pants and high shiny boots. And he wasn’t even looking at the dance floor. Maybe Val hadn’t even seen him come in…

Carmilla gave Timothée a knowing look. “Trust me when I tell you there are some things that are too dangerous, even for All Hallow’s Eve.”


Carmilla addressed the crowd with a flourish. “Now, who wants to dance with a god?”


As it turned out, a lot of people wanted the chance to dance with a god. And he was pretty sure it wasn’t the god Timothée Greywick, who glowed on moonless nights and only survived the Dark Prophet by sheer luck. It was the god he was pretending to be.

Timothée swirled around the dancefloor with everyone from first to fourth-years and even one of the cooks who said she needed to get her scare in for the night.

And not a single person called him by his name.


God of Shadows.

King of Vampires.

For someone who was banished, everyone certainly knew a lot about his notorious dead brother.

And now, so did Timothée. Every day after class, he’d gone back to the Dark Star tower, devouring the tales of Noctis: his conquests and struggles, his desire to create, and his ever-present friction with his mother. Their mother. Noctis may not have been good, but Timothée had grasped an essence of him between the lines of legends. A god with the magic to destroy, who tried to use it to create, whose creations had been hated and hunted.

Being hated…that Timothée could understand.

A waltz slowed to a stop and Timothée stepped away from his latest dance partner, a handsome second-year Morning Star student. He had deep black hair pushed back from his forehead with a pair of fawn ears.

“Hopefully I’ll see you later,” he whispered in Timothée’s ear. “This dance was fun, but I know how to make a heart beat in ways a waltz never could.”

Timothée’s stomach flipped over itself. That wasn’t the first offer like that he’d gotten tonight. He watched the Morning Star boy walk off. A crowd still hovered at the edge of the glass dancefloor, waiting. For him.