As Andrew walked up the steps to the Old Arts building, he heard a familiar female voice call his name. He turned, a smile already forming on his face to see Silke walking across the campus. Her long blonde hair hung free around her shoulders, and she was wearing capri pants, sandals, and a dark red cami. All Andrew had ever seen her wearing before was either her Rotkäppchen garb, a long cloak, high boots, leggings, and a sleeved surcoat, or clothing more suited to a medieval peasant than a university student. The contrast was striking, and it took his breath away. He'd always thought of her as beautiful, but the fact that she belonged to another world made for a convenient distance, which in Andrew's mind excused him from pursuing any sort of relationship with her.
Seeing her in modern clothing in the middle of the campus with the sun shining on that golden hair though...
"You look poleaxed!" she laughed, running up to him and catching him in a short but firm embrace.
Andrew recovered, and smiled back. "I'm sorry Silke, it just took me a moment...I hardly recognized you looking like this!"
"I thought I'd try to blend in with the locals," she said, her smile radiant. She shook her head. "It's really good to see you Andrew."
"You too," he replied quickly. "I thought you were out on patrol - more Big Bad Wolves and such."
"I was," Silke said. "But I'm going to be the guardian of the Tree when Grandmother passes away...and while that isn't likely to be any time soon, the courses at the Symposium are just as useful to the Rotkäppchen. I asked to be the one to represent us here."
"Seemed a good way to get to see you," she replied, smiling again, and tucking her hair behind her left ear, exposing a huge white scar that ran from her temple to her ear. Andrew noticed the lobe was missing and averted his gaze.
"No need to be embarassed for me," she told him. "I know it's there."
"You didn't mention it in any of your letters," he said, shrugging. "It looks like it was really bad."
"That's because it happened just last week," she said. "It just looks old because Granny already healed it."
Andrew goggled. He'd seen the results of Granny's healing, as well as Lara's. It never left a scar.
"I know," Silke said, frowning slightly. "You should have seen it before the healing. Half my scalp was caved in and most of the skin..." She demonstrated the area of damage by drawing a finger across her face to her chin, "was hanging off in a huge flap." She made a face, her eyes wide with mock horror. "Not a pretty sight. But you can hardly see the scar when my hair is down." She shook her head, letting the hair fall forward again. "See?"
"I like it," Andrew said. "The hairdo I mean...not that I don't like the scar..." He stopped talking and sighed. "So...I assume you're heading inside for the orientation?" Andrew extended his arm, crooked formally, elbow out.
"Yes," Silke said, taking his arm.
They walked up the steps, just behind a giant praying mantis who held the door open for them. Andrew raised an eyebrow and glanced around the campus to see if anyone was noticing the massive insect.
"I have a spell of illusion on me," the mantis said congenially. "To those not attending the symposium I appear an overweight latino man with greying hair, dressed all in tweed."
"Be careful," Andrew said. "Someone will ask you what you're teaching."
The mantis laughed and waved them through the door.