For the prompt “Reform-New Charter Lycanthropes.”
“What’s up?” Janine asked her friend Lyssa, who was currently in the form of a very lazy green snake with yellow eyes and a flash of red tongue. Lyssa was curled up on the school yard bench, making herself ornamental around the wrought-iron arm.
“Another schism,” her friend replied, in a perfectly clear and understandable human voice. Janine never did get that part of the whole thing.
Janine plopped her bookbag down between them and sat on the back of the wooden bench, perching precariously. Lyssa was unconcerned by her tone, unblinking. Not that Lyssa ever blinked, except in that weird milky way.
“Seriously,” Lyssa entoned. “They decided it after morning prayer. We are now the Honorable Reform-New Charter Lycanthrope School of the North, and the south building is the Venerated Reform-Traditionalist Lycanthrope School of the South.”
Lyssa stared at her, unamused by disbelief.
“We just split off from the Orthodox Lycanthrope Tradition last month,” Janine wailed, glaring at the south building across the green as if she expected it to try to eat her. “Which teachers did we keep?”
“Professor Alastair. Professor Rizon. Professor Shasha. Plus their assistants and most of the ground staff. Um… you’ll be pissed.” Lyssa glanced away, sinuously.
“Why am I going to be more pissed than I already am about this?”
“Professor Mokni is the head of the School of the South.”
“But he’s my advisor – why would – aren’t I in the School of the South, then?”
“I don’t think you want to be in the School of the South,” Lyssa hissed. “They’re talking about mandatory robe wearing. Didn’t you enjoy wearing jeans this month?”
“Sure, but that doesn’t mean – which school are you going to?”
“It isn’t that obvious to me,” Janine retorted.
“Young ladies,” a masculine voice said from behind her. Janine quailed, turning. It was Professor Mokni, looking beautiful and sleek in full formal robes and spectacles, black hair held back by a ribbon. Janine supressed a purr.
“Yes, professor?” She asked, Lyssa falling silent.
“Gossip is inappropriate. Your class schedules will be released to you as usual on Sunday after prayer.”
He softened the admonition with a smile.
“Go hunt. It clarifies thought and strengthens the body.”
Janine nodded, form flowing into that of a great spotted cat. Her tail twitched, catching the scent of him, and catching the scent of him catching the scent of her. They were a rare pair in that they were technically the same species. He was a black panther, and she a simple panther, and he made her want to – she turned, bounding away, and Lyssa slithered after her, leaving the religious questions to their elders.