Castrato opened his hand, revealing a pair of scratched and dinged diopters. “Tiberia thinks this was lost down a drain,” he said. “She ain’t so good at knowing what’s lost and what a clever bloke with a piece of wire can get.”

“You mean…?” Claudia began.

“I’ve peeked through them enough to know that ain’t a single glow changed in all the fifteen years since I’ve worn the shackles,” Castrato continued. “Not a one has got brighter, not a one has got duller. Much as it kills me to have a look without their say-so–not that it bothers Tiberia none–I just had to know.”

“Miss Tiberia says that if they don’t dim, they’re kept here forever,” Miss Claudia whispered.

“Think about it, missy,” said Castrato. “I been here all of fifteen years in the shackles, and that oughta mean there’s some girls at least 20, maybe even 30. What’s the oldest girl you seen? 15?”

“No,” Claudia said. “That’s not-”

“You wanna know why no assistants last longer than two years here? You wanna know why no one ever leaves? It’s on account of Tiberia taking ’em below, to the catacombs, and ending ’em.” Castrato let out a strangled sob. “The shackles, they keeps me from doing anything about it. Half the time I can’t even get the assistants alone to tell ’em. The other half, they just up and leave.”

Castrato’s face was streaming with tears now, and the shackles were aglow at his wrists and ankles, the smell of searing flesh welling up in Claudia’s nostrils.

“Please, Miss Withers,” Castrato said. “Do something for ’em. Do right by these girls. Even the nastiest of ’em doesn’t deserve a screaming death in the catacombs at that hag’s claws.”

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Betty’s Cafe
Named after Betty, the wife of Waverly founder W. Hiram Waverly, Betty’s Cafe is a cherished watering hole for Waverly University. It’s famous for its free-range llama burgers, picante guac, and of course the most meat-free veggie burger in the state: The Vegemighty.

Quackenbrush School of Fine Arts
Art teacher Augustus Quintillius Cincinnatus Quackenbrush lends his name to this school. It specializes in painting, sculpture, symphony orchestra, and interpretive dance. Alumna Mary P. Casso began her Llama Period here in 1920, and the famous sculpture “Person Considering A Catalog” was completed and donated in 1950.

Clemens College of Sciences
Marcus Clemens was a clergyman and a fierce opponent of the sciences in all their forms. Upon his death, his opponent in the great Reason-Religion Debate of 1925 donated funds to begin a science school in his name at Waverly. This act of chutzpah has blossomed into a fruitful enterprise, as the school leads the nation in investigations of slightly greasy solar atoms.

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Alpha Omicron Kappa (AOK)
The oldest sorority on campus, Alpha Omicron Kappa was founded when Waverly University was simply the Waverly Schoolhouse. Its long tradition of service dates back to its founder, 6th-grade student Heather Grimaldi, who got a pencil for Dino Spinoni without even being asked.

Beta Sigma Sigma Gamma (BΣΣΓ)
Founded by a Milwaukee brewer in 1902, Beta Sigma Sigma Gamma fraternity has been on probation continuously since 1977, a school record. Pledges are (in)famous for the “Bring it Up For a Vote” tour, where the objective is to leave a liquid scream at each of the four corners of campus. It may or may not be an urban legend.

Sigma Tau Delta Beta (STΔB)
Though no one has ever forgotten the events of 1972, when a goalie-masked man terrorized the house, Sigma Tau Delta Beta sorority has moved beyond its checkered past. Popular activities include seances, midnight graveyard parties, and of course splitting up to cover more ground.

Rho Theta Rho – (PΘP)
Legacies are the name of the game at Rho Theta Rho: it’s impossible to apply for membership without having a father, uncle, grandpa, or gruncle who was a brother. This, understandably, limits membership somewhat, so Rho Theta Rho has an aggressive recruiting policy that verges on stalking.

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Men of the Deep Desert whisper of the legendary Orichalc Mosquito. There is but one, and she is of a normal size, but she can never perish. Perhaps more importantly, her thirst for blood can be but slaked temporarily, and she will quickly hunger once more and return to feed.

They say that, if one is unfortunate enough to meet this creature, she will bedevil you with constant buzzing and constant sucking until you flee the desert or until you perish covered in boils. Then, and only then, will the beast return to its hidden lair full of unfertilized eggs, crafted with the blood of a thousand men, which will never hatch.

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The fallen angel sat there, looking squint-eyed at passersby, with a lit fag clinging to his lips. He glowered from under a newsie cap, and idly fingered an ivory-handed fillet knife with a whiff of the supernatural about it.

He might have been any other tough lounging about the docks save for two things. There were the massive pair of wings half-folded behind him, for one. And there was the fact that he sat a full three feet above the mooring bollard one would have expected to support his weight.

“They like to do that to unnerve people,” said Nïs just before we got into earshot. “Just don’t make eye contact. He’s looking for a chance to prove he’s still got it, even as a mortal.”

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Posh Hall
Named after Waverly University economics professor emeritus J. Herbert Posh, this dormitory houses the honors students as well as members of Beta Sigma Sigma Gamma too young to live off-campus. Posh Hall is well known for furnishing outstanding members of the rowing, tennis, and golf teams.

Annie Hall
Former state senator and alumna Amy Annie Smith, who dropped her last name as a political protest, gives her name to this dormitory. It is notable for being the only dorm at Waverly University that is carbon-neutral. It is also the only Pronoun-Free Zone on campus and the designated No-Kill Shelter for campus cockroaches.

Cox Hall
A former men-only dorm, Cox Hall gets its name from James Cox, through he never attended Waverly. University officials were sure he would win in 1920 and named the hall to curry favor with who they assumed would be the new President.

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“I know that the daemons ever seek to invade and influence our world,” said Claudia.

“Yes, but do you know that all too often that influence takes the form of, shall we say, tainted children?” Miss Tiberia said. “I presume that I need not go into further sordid detail.”

Claudia nodded. “No, Miss Tiberia,” she said.

“Good. Tainted girls are brought to us from all over the countryside, just as tainted boys are sent to our sister school at Illumoor. Our job is to see that the taint is extinguished.”

“You’ll pardon me for saying so,” said Claudia, with a nervous glance upward as her words echoed into the Gothic rafters of the ex-cathedral, “but how do we do that, and how do we know it’s done?”

Miss Tiberia harrumphed a bit. “It is intuitively obvious, is it not, that the daemons are reliant on lies and illusions in their dealings with mortals?”

“Yes, Miss Tiber.”

“Then it ought to be equally obvious that the girls in questions will be protected by the very same.” Miss Tiber reached into a pouch on her chatelaine belt and produced what appeared to be a set of reading spectacles. “But with the diopters, all becomes clear.”

She unclipped them and handed them to Claudia, who donned them. Suddenly, the scene before her was awash in a yellow glow; it took a moment’s adjustment to see that the glow was coming from the girls in their dormitories, perfect silhouettes visible even through walls and fading only with considerable distance.

“They…they are aglow!” Claudia whispered.

“Indeed so,” said Miss Tiberia. “They are aglow, each of them, with a daemonic taint from their ancestors’…intimate…dealings with the unholy. It is our charge, Miss Withers, to diminish this glow through discipline, rigorous virtue, and moral certitude.”

Claudia was still agog from the view before her. “So when a girl is no longer glowing, she will be released from St. Gaius’s?”

Miss Tiberia nodded. “Naturally. But if the glow remains, or strengthens, it is our duty to see that the taint is contained.”

“So the girls remain here?”

“That they do,” said Miss Tiberia. “Forever.”

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