[4.1 Spoilers] BHI Information Packet

Uggggghhhhh.  I hate giving up info for no good reason.  & its due in 4 days

A Literal Cat:
He knows what he’s doing.

Which do we like?  Page one of class options?
Foundations – We got this.  I’d say we’re at least beginner.
Runes, Diagrams, Circles – we’re beginner, easy.

yes & yes.  low interest

Putting that down.
Others, Types & Labels – I think we’re at least beginner.  I’m curious to see how they talk about Others  Maybe we could take that class if it doesn’t conflict with anything more interesting?

Do we want to take all the same class?  Or split them up?

Depends.  This is really hard to plan and I don’t trust Alexander not to fuck us over when giving us the schedule.  I want to be in classes with you two unless there’s a few high priority classes at the same time.
Other option is we can use the stars to mark out stuff for 1on1 classes to cover anything we have to miss.  We could start by picking out the highest priority stuff.

A Literal Cat:
110% interest in everything except history.  0% in history.

if we’re being goofy about it then realms, realms, abyss, ruins, wherever.
yes plz

We’re doing this for a reason, remember?

A Literal Cat:
Expanding our knowledge?

Solving a crime?  The Carmine Beast?

A Literal Cat:
They made it sound like we’d never get that done.
And we’re already doing so well!
We’re ahead of the game.
Let’s kick back.


A Literal Cat:
And go to magic school!  Exciting!  Woo!
Not being at home!  Woo!


we need to cover binding real bad

Yes.  Thank you.  Possible candidate for a big star and 1on1 lessons.

I wish we got more stars
probably important is complex spirits because Edith

A Literal Cat:
Primary spirits because of ol C.B.?  Or is she one of the divine things?

There are a lot of spirit topics that could be important.  The translation thing.  Power.
Binding is a big one.  Those ones are good.  Should we start big and then narrow down?  What about page 2?


A Literal Cat:
Yes yes yes?
I’m interested in all of that.

realms are interesting to me
what’s an Alcazar?

A Literal Cat:
a wooble search says it’s a kind of castle.

The big question is if its useful for what we’re doing.

A Literal Cat:

fairy stuff might be needed if maricica is a suspect

Tools stuff we can mostly skip.

A Literal Cat:
Or, other option!

We can come back to the school another year.  We can do the random crap when we’ve handled the CB situation.

visceral stuff we can skip
some stuff I’m curious about with goblins and realms
abyss seems cool

Yeah.  I like self defense but I’m not sure if thats because I’m expecting things to get messy when we name the culprit and try to bind them or if its cuz I want to learn it.
We can take those classes if theres nothing higher-priority going on at the same time.  Right Verona?  IF theres nothing higher priority.

A Literal Cat:

not sure about anything on pg. 3
greater powers?  we don’t know what the carmine beast was

A Literal Cat:
As an alternative to all that blather…


A Literal Cat:
…We tell Mr. Belanger to put his forms up his bumpipe and we’ll attend and pick the classes when the time comes.
Why give him information on us?  For his convenience?


Ok.  Not the bumpipe part, but ok.

that makes me more anxious about going if we know he’ll be annoyed
but it’s not a bad idea

I love you sometimes, Ronnie.

A Literal Cat:
And now our Wendsday is freed up!

+ our little timing issue gets easier
I might leave now to get there sooner

You still want to do this?  School ends tomorrow.  You’re missing the last day.

A Literal Cat:
And the end-of-school party.

thinking about the party depresses me
a walk to the middle of nowhere to visit the judges sounds nice
I’ll have snow for company

We’ll cover you if you really want to do it.  I’ll say I went to Verona’s house for once, disguise myself as you.  If you really want to do it.

yes I want to

Be safe.  Keep us updated.  Call before & after you do any path stuff.

going to go get ready
logging off

A Literal Cat:
Good wishes!!1!
Safe travel!!!one!1!

< 3

Stickemup has signed out of the conversation

I am so worried about her.

A Literal Cat:
She’s doing what feels right for her.
All the times I’ve slapped my forehead anf elt stupidest were when I didn’t listen to that feeling in my stomach.

The moments I regret were when I went with my gut.  Paul mostly.  Sorta referencing this stuff to my therapist and getting her curious.

A Literal Cat:
Was it a her?
Therapist person?

New one.  Told my mom the old one wasn’t getting some of the most basic stuff about what led to Paul and stuff, so we changed.  It’s only once a week now.  She’s cool.  Some Booker feel to her.

A Literal Cat:
Very cool.

Any plans tonight?  I’ll need help with the Avery glamour.  At least for the 1st time.

A Literal Cat:
Gotta talk to mom.
Oh boy.
Will update you after.
Then will come.

Good luck.

A Literal Cat:
Will call.

A Literal Cat has signed out of the conversation

I worry about you too you know.  So much.
Your last message was not sent.  Nobody else is in the conversation.

L♪Ell has signed out of the conversation

40 thoughts on “[4.1 Spoilers] BHI Information Packet

  1. Text

    To Lucy, Avery, and Verona,

    The process you are about to begin requires you to provide us with
    information about your experience level and preferences. It is important that the
    information you provide is accurate, honest, and approved by any apprenticeship
    masters, heads of practitioner households, patrons, and/or you yourselves.

    Classes are irregular in structure. The BHI employs three full-time teachers, as
    well as seven guest teachers who partner with BHI as contracted practitioners or
    as the parents of students past and present. Lessons are split into beginner,
    intermediate, and advanced tiers, and a typical weekday will consist of a morning
    with a beginner and intermediate option, an afternoon with an intermediate and
    advanced option. Classes may take between 1.5 and 3 hours.

    Example Monday:

    Morning, Beginner: Basic Worship, Mrs. Durocher
    Morning, Intermediate: Toolsets, Mr. Sunshine

    Afternoon, Intermediate: Emergent Rituals, Mr. Belanger
    Afternoon, Adv.: Deus Ex Machinae, Mr. Sunshine

    If neither option for a morning or afternoon block appeals, you are free to leave the
    campus, avail yourself of the campus resources and library, or sit in with any guest
    teachers. Guest teachers, when not leading a lecture or partnering with BHI staff
    for a class, may be available for one-on-one appointments, conversation, research
    help, or help in traveling to other realms. It is best to make appointments and
    consult well in advance.

    Students, staff, summons and the guest teachers are bound to keep from inflicting
    meaningful harm, and will endeavor to protect you during practical lessons off-
    -campus, but you will ultimately be responsible for your own safety, especially
    during your free periods, experimentation with any resources or library materials,
    and your trips off campus to visit home, shop, eat, or entertain yourselves.

    Note, please, that at the request of one of our full-time teachers, once a class is
    in progress, we would like you to at least attempt to stay for the full lesson.

    Determining Your Curriculum
    The following questions will help us to suggest a class schedule, while also
    affording us the ability to better schedule our guest lecturers and class projects.
    Beginner practitioners may receive a curriciulum of morning classes followed by
    periods of self-study and projects, with a list of material indicating what to study
    and in what order. Advanced student practitioners may be assigned special
    projects, or be given teaching assignments with the youngest students.

    Please check the following list. Cross out the subjects you have no interest in, and
    note your degree of interest clearly on the following sheet. If you already have
    a foundation of knowledge in a subject, please make your best guess as to the
    degree of your existing experience; beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
    Please also pick no more or less than three subjects that you three have special
    interest in, as we try to ensure one-on-one time with guest lecturers for our
    students in their primary topics of interest.

    Core Subjects:
    –The Foundations of Practice – Pattern, power, principle. Awakening, Others.
    –Runes, Diagrams, Circles – Core workings applicable to most Practices
    –Others, Types & Labels – Classifications, difficulties in labeling, variations.
    –Others, Roles & Relationships – Others in relation to society, us, other Others.
    –Others, Binding – Positive & neutral bindings, hallows, basic principles.
    –Others, Practical Use – Summoning, binding, drawing power, contracts.
    –Realms – Cosmology of Other worlds, travel, origin, typology of power in each.
    –Practitioner History – Creations, pre-Solomon, post-Solomon, Oni accords.
    –Implements – The personal tool, rationale, core ideas, options.
    –Familiars – The Other as life companion. Types of bond, uses, considerations.
    –Demesnes – The place of one’s own, claiming, uses, principles.

    –Spirits, Ambient – The spirits everywhere, relationship to all practice, Law.
    –Spirits, Organized – Spirits as working extensions of a broader system.
    –Spirits, Complex – Amalgym, mixed, composite spirits, intentional and not.
    –Shinto Theology & Spirits – History of shamanism, theological roots.
    –Variable States, Translation – How & why of a spirit’s shifting state, nature.
    –Hallows and Vessels – Spirits in containers, tools, shrines, and self.
    –Anima and Animus – Passive and active superspirits, dichotomies.
    –Spirits across Practices – Shamanism and its applicability to major practices.
    –Primary Spirits – Greater spirits, spirit leadership, spirits in other roles.
    –The Spirit World – The realm of spirits, dangers, practicalities, benefits.

    Other Immaterial Practices
    –Immaterial Fundamentals – Basics on dealing with the formless & insubstantial.
    –Emotion, Spirit, Psyche – Root origins, causes, and end results for immaterials
    –Spirit, Incarnation, Elemental – Fundamental distinctions in Others as concepts
    –Self & Soul – The essential immaterial aspects of us, what a Soul is.
    –Elementals – Immaterial-driven material manifestations. Binding & use
    –Echoes – Ghosts as recurring and common psychic images, imprints of events
    –Incarnations – Immaterial concepts rooted in broader human experience.
    –Possession – Others that seek vessels. Identification, measures, typology.
    –Immaterial Realms – Visting Ruins, Storm, creating an Alcazar for diagnosis.

    Deals and Contracts
    –Practical Language – Language and practice, rule-of-law wording in practice.
    –Practical Rhetoric – Presentation, drama, context, phrasing; effect on practice.
    –Translation and Old Others – Communication with Others from older contexts.
    –Deal-Making Others, General – Petitioners, challengers, and cunning Others.
    –The Faerie – Courts, Glamour, contracts, day trips to seven courts.
    –Deal-Making Others, Superior – Djinn, Envoys, and other major deals.

    Magic Tools
    –Magic Items, Basics – Basic principles, care, power, pattern, contraindications.
    –Ownership, Wanting, Coup & Claim – Contested ownership, inheritance, loss.
    –Creation of, Enchantment – Creation of magic items through Practice.
    –Creation of, Incidental – Items that appear ‘in the wild’, by mundane accident.
    –Creation of, Saturation – Items powered by association with realms, Others.
    –Living Items – Items that are Other, sapient. Binding & using, considerations.
    –‘Cursed’ Items – Dangerous magic items, cleaning of, identification of.
    –Classification of, Appraisal – Valuing, categorizing, and divining use of items.
    –Essential Items – Items & implements tied to Self, heroes, with key relationships.
    –Grails – Great treasures, powerful items tied into the greater scheme of things.

    Visceral Practices
    –Material Fundamentals – Basics on Others and practices dealing in the physical.
    –Once Human – Peri-, periodic, and post-human Others, practices, diseases.
    –Dark Locales – Twisted and Othered locations on Earth, urban and rural.
    –Goblins – Goblin summoning, practice, tools, binding, and extermination.
    –The Warrens – Goblin realm, day trips, non-Goblin denizens of the Warrens.
    –Scourging – Horrors, Scratchings, Bogeymen, and related dark practices.
    –Self Defense – Offensive practices, dealing with hostile Others, practitioners.
    –Alchemy – Creating Visceral Others and Things through Material practice.

    Special Topics – These are available only to those who have
    completed at least a season at the BHI and obtained permission of all relevant
    guardians. Ones marked with asterisks are specifically one-on-one with full-time
    teachers. Subheadings may have various teachers.

    Sight and Seeing
    –The Sight – Viewing Other things in a variety of contexts. Dangers & tools.
    –Research – Augmented research of subjects using Practice.
    –Far-Seeing* – Remote viewing, astral projection, dream-Seeing.
    –Retrospectives* – Viewing past events through specialized Sight.
    –Prognostication* – Viewing future events through the Sight. Analysis.

    Advanced Hardware
    –Toolsets – Specialized tools as they relate to pattern and power management.
    –Astrology – Stonehenge and other large-scale apparatuses for rituals.
    –Emergent Rituals – ‘Accidental’ astrology, rituals, urban legends.
    –Artificial Realms* – Technomancy- and ritually created spaces.

    Greater Powers
    –Worship – Prayer, tapping into the well of divinity, serving divine forces.
    –Labeling Greatness – Identifying gods, primevals, angels, great spirits, et al.
    –Capricious Power* – Management of the uncontrollable and unpredictable.
    –Overflow and Excess* – When measures to contain greater powers fail.
    –Heartless Practices* – Breaching the bounds of mortality and humanity.
    –Hollow Others* – Vestiges, hollows, stains, and other remnants of excess power.
    –Others in Excess* – Others of unrestrained power; god-cursed, wishful, oroboros.
    –Counter-Diabolism* – Mitigating harm, best practices for self-preservation.

    Please also include your current education level, recent grades in Math and in
    English, any past religious education, and any special needs, medical or otherwise.

    You can submit your preferences by email or by mail. Final selections are due by
    the 28th of June. Tuition will be waived, and goodwill will be extended if the
    circumstances of the waiving goes without remark to the other students. A single
    room has been set aside for the three of you to share, should you wish to stay
    overnight on any or all nights this summer.

    Given the time of year, please allow up to 24 hours response time if you have any
    questions. Yours, Alexander Belanger (& signed)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm – I get why they want to refuse to give him information, but honestly this seems like a very reasonable request for someone attending a school, and I suspect denying it will be bad for them both because it will annoy the teachers and possibly via karma.

    And as a nice contrast to Pact, Diabolism is only available in counter-form and only for advanced practitioners. Turns out it’s real dangerous!

    Liked by 6 people

  3. L♪Ell:
    I worry about you too you know. So much.

    So cute.

    A Literal Cat:
    …We tell Mr. Belanger to put his forms up his bumpipe and we’ll attend and pick the classes when the time comes.
    Why give him information on us? For his convenience?

    And…. I can’t help but think this is a perfectly reasonable and logical plan… and that Balanger won’t even be annoyed about it (He likes playing the game, understands people shaking the bug box)…. but at the same time, knowing what the students know is like… a basic safety consideration.

    Hmmm… I still think Ronnie might be correct here… BUT… if something goes wrong at the school Balanger will be able to point to their non-cooperation as the cause of the problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wiktionary lists three different plurals, depending on whether it’s several gods from a single machine, a single god from several machines, or several gods from several machines.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s right! I was reading it as “God From Machines” since the current form is what would happen if you just looked up the plural of “machina” independently of the rest of the phrase and swapped it in.


  4. For all that Pactverse is existentially horrifying, man do I wish to attend this school. It sounds so /fun!/

    My only issue with Verona’s plan is the one-on-one appointments. Alexander may go and say that since they didn’t mark any, they couldn’t schedule any classes with the teachers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maybe, maybe not. Rushing to solve the Carmine Beast could throw a wrench in it. Alexander is allowed to meddle in Kennet once the murder is solved, after all, and Kennet’s Others suggested that they might execute him before that. Either one of those could make things pretty awkward for the Trio, assuming they even survive past that point.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Damn, do they even realize how lucky they are to get access to so much information on so many subjects for free ? I’m pretty sure most practitioners would kill for a week of classes at BHI (or even for a few books from an old family of practitioners, wink wink). I mean, sure, Avery almost died as a price but I feel like even Verona doesn’t realize how insanely valuable this opportunity is, and how uselessly risky her plan is. What’s the worst thing that could happen if Belanger knows how much the trio knows ? It’s not like he won’t eventually find out, since, you know, he’s going to teach them what they don’t know. On the other hand, not cooperating on such a small issue before school even begins sets a dangerous tone for the rest of the summer. I don’t think the girls can afford to refuse reasonable requests and make demands as things stand.

    Liked by 5 people

    • They could probably truthfully say that they didn’t think that their patrons would approve of giving them that information, though.

      It is important that the information you provide is accurate, honest, and approved by any apprenticeship masters, heads of practitioner households, patrons, and/or you yourselves.”

      Considering how hostile the Kennet Others were towards the Belangers, I don’t think they’d approve giving that information over freely (though maybe the girls should have asked them first).

      Liked by 3 people

    • Well, Belanger promised that

      goodwill will be extended if the circumstances of the waiving goes without remark to the other students

      so the girls can probably afford to be a little bit rude, without inviting any serious revenge. Still, refusing information at this point feels more like a pointless empty gesture than a sensible strategy. Alex Belanger is a very powerful augur, and he’s going to be teaching the girls. They’ll most likely be living at the Institute. Whatever vulnerabilities they’d expose by freely telling him what they know, he’s going to find them anyway. Also, he’s pledged to keep his nose out of Kennet until the Carmine Beast situation is sorted, so whatever he learns, he can’t really act on it anyway.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I hope we see more group-chat segments in the future; it’s a distinctly modern-feeling way to show conversations, and while I guess there’s nothing in them which you can’t communicate through conventional chapters, the variety is nice.

    Also, class fliers are neat.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The group-chats leave out all of the body language and facial expressions that clue you in to emotional states. You sometimes get a bit of that back, from the way the text is laid out – long well-considered paragraphs vs a bunch of short lines posted as fast as the user can type. But you lose a lot of that emotional nuance.

      It also gives you fun characterization bits, from the user names. Not that “A literal cat” is really new info on how Verona feels, but it’s reinforcing that character trait.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Reading the fliers makes me wish that we had an entier story focused on a magical school. It all sounds so cool.

    At the very least I’d like wildbow’s take on Hogwarts.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Also, I’m sort of wondering if labeling herself as “A literal cat” will help or hurt Verona, magically. I know that the spirits see her as being associated with cats due to her mask, and she’s used glamour to turn herself into one, but would calling yourself “A literal cat” when you’re currently in a human form count as a lie?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Depends on the context, I’d say. For example if it asks for a nickname then “A literal cat” would probably be fine since it’s not your actual name and doesn’t actually have to be true to not be lying.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It doesn’t seem like names or handles are bound by the same rules concerning truth: Munch made up sanitized names for his crew to accommodate his oaths; Zed apparently changed his name without consequence; there’s a good chance Ray’s last name isn’t actually “Sunshine”, or at the very least he added “Rad” to the front.

      I can see how it might get murkier if the handle can also be interpreted as a statement of fact, as opposed to only being coherent as an identifier (the latter being the case for most human names– even “Ray Sunshine”, despite being composed of English words with their own independent meanings, isn’t a statement and so has no inherent veracity). And it’s interesting that goblin names, despite being built from English words, fall just short of being descriptive (“Toadswallower” might imply he literally swallows toads, but “Toadswallow” evokes that imagery without the implication).

      It’s also possible they had these handles before they awakened, so the spirits might just recognize them as alternate names they were already known by (Ronnie chose the cat mask before she awakened and seems to have an affinity for cats, so it’s reasonable she might have chosen that handle years ago).

      It could even depend on how the chat client presents the prompt to input your handle: “what would you like people to call you?” would give the awakened a much bigger pool of truthful answers than “what is your name?” And after that, it shouldn’t matter if the client treats your response as a name or alias with potentially false descriptive implications — all you did was answer a question truthfully.


  9. “abyss seems cool”
    True, but I can’t say I’m not worried about her interest.

    So much stuff they should learn, but probably won’t. Verona in particular. Should probably diversify their learning where they can. I don’t think being rude here gains them much, if he wants to mess with them about it, he will either way, if they want to make the most of their time here should act in good faith to get what they really want.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I would have killed to see something like this for Harry Potter. Thank u wildbow for doing what multiple years worth of books wouldn’t.


  11. The reason I don’t post a comment on every chapter is because I don’t know if that’s against web serial etiquette or not. But I needed to say that your world building is so incredible. All of your stories are in my top 10. Worm got me through such a dark time, and Twig is my favorite story ever. Pact was my favorite world, and this is so freaking awesome.

    I never thought three 13 year old protagonists would captivate me in my 20s.

    A LITERAL CAT. Thank you so much for your works, and I hope it’s something you greatly enjoy, and that your life has even just a fraction of the happiness you’ve given me.


  12. Re-reading and realizing now that Ronnie used the 3x repetition trick on the word “Orrrr…” to claim the conversation and get everyone to go along with her plan.

    Liked by 1 person

Reply - No Pact spoilers!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s