The Taru International Academy Campus has an exceptional rating as one of the best Magi campuses in the world. Situated on Yoko Island, students have the opportunity to make the most of the beautiful landscape, with lush beaches and verdant jungle areas to explore, alongside an eclectic mix of modern and traditional Taruan buildings for study. The current headmistress of the academy, Alice Monaghan has been responsible for the further modernisation of the newly named Eddison centre, which allows students to access technology which is otherwise unavailable on the island. This is despite the outcry of traditionalist schools and the Magi Council. The most important buildings on the campus are the Grand Hall, the dormitories for students which are separated by Clans, and the five Blocks which are where most of the classes are held.
Purpose / Function
The purpose of the campus is to promote learning, self-improvement and mindfulness, improve student welfare and comfort, and allow students to integrate and learn from each other. Students have access to most of the campus throughout most of the day, and during their breaks or after the teaching hours are allowed to do as they will. Some students may prefer to make the most of the School Clubs which may take place in one of the many spare rooms on the campus, or wind down in the gardens. Homesick students from Medevék in particular may feel comfort through the Medevék Culture Club which can be found in Block C. Counselling rooms can be found in Block B.
The architecture of TIA campus is proudly a blend of modern and traditional themes, with carefully maintained outdoor space for students to meditate, relax and meet with peers.
The Grand Hall
The Grand Hall "It's time for the opening ceremony." Lo Chen uttered with a grumble as he pulled the rope for mooring. "I don't know why Alice insists on beginning the event at midnight every year..." Marine felt an uneasy twist in his stomach, as the students muttered curious words of excitement. As he pondered about leaving the group to skip the ceremony entirely, Shu Yang's approach startled him into the present. "Not for you, Professor Chen. Headmistress Monaghan has summoned you." Her smile was ladled with a fierce contempt. "I'll be taking the children to the Grand Hall." Marine caught Lo Chen swearing quietly in Taruan. He felt a painful tension in his chest. There would be no slipping away from Shu Yang.The Grand Hall is the largest building on the campus and holds the hall in which students gather for news of their clan's ranking and for meal times. Students may visit the Grand Hall to visit their teachers in their offices for guidance on their work or for the occasional detention. The headmistress lives in the Grand Hall and some of the other teachers also make residence in the building.
The Grand Hall hosts The Opening Ceremony, which is a traditional event soon after the students' Voyage.
As the visual novel continues, the Grand Hall will be a helpful place to find and socialise with characters.
The DormitoriesThe dormitories are separated by the student's clan. When the students first attend Taru International Academy they begin in the Yellow Dragon for a month, where after they apply to join a new clan should they wish to. The Yellow Clan dormitories are situated in a group of interlinked buildings called Mage's Rest, which is a popular meeting spot for students, especially students playing Beanz tournaments, as there are no classrooms nearby. Membership of each clan has a unique bonus, with one such bonus being the living space. Some dormitories are better for students who prefer to focus on their grades with quiet study space and access to a wealth of materials, while other clan dormitories may focus on spaces for the arts with 24/7 access to musical instruments or art materials.
The BlocksKnown as 'The Blocks', these buildings contain the majority of the teaching classrooms on the campus, as well as the place for students to receive counselling, attend clubs or visit a teacher's office. With the exception of Block E, students are welcome to explore the blocks in their own time.
The Eddison CentreThe Eddison Centre is a five floor building made of white peel bricks and glass which contains the library. It holds the Sparrow Wing (uncomfortably nicknamed 'Wang Wing') which is holds the performing arts class led by Master Wang. There is a small café on the ground floor where students may purchase small snacks or sign up to as baristas and waiters for a small income. The campus library is situated on the each floor, with a more traditional room at the very back from floors 2 to 5 which hold a heavier wooden aesthetic inspired mostly by traditional Cantari architecture with some degree of Federaton-style comfort. There is an art gallery situated on the third floor, although calligraphy art can be found on Block D which specialises in containing the magic that calligraphy may contain. The Eddison Centre holds a basement that is known to be a storage facility. It is also a research space for teachers. Students are not allowed. The most recent addition the The Eddison Centre is the Interaction Zone which is the only place where technology is permitted.
The Monastery and the ShrineThe monastery had been built long before the campus and was abandoned. The Yoko natives did not wish to claim the monastery and preferred to live on the other side of the island. Once the TIA campus was built the monastery was left alone until the headmaster at the time was approached by a non-Taruan teacher who recognised some of the calligraphy and architecture from the monastery and wished to settle into the building. It caused a source of contention, as the learner community were concerned of potential indoctrination. After much negotiation and discussion, the monastery was set as a multi-faith and humanitarian building for all to use for their spiritual needs. Students would be able to access a wide array of resources from other cultures. The shrine was built at the request of teachers and students who were concerned with the spirits. The shrine contains a gate, a bell for ringing and several options for placing paper wishes and messages for the spirits to read. Whether or not the spirits read them is of debate and there is no school class concerned with the nature of the spirits.
The GardensThe gardens have long been a staple part of the development of the campus, thought to be hugely beneficial for the students and the teachers. There are several gardens the students have access too. Most gardens are open 24/7.
by James DeMers
Stone GroveStone Grove holds a collection of tall stones, some aligned in unique patterns, others as such that present a maze. The students are welcome to explore them alongside the nurtured greenery and ponds. Yoko Island holds similar stones across the garden, but the Stone Grove has the largest collection. The garden is said to have existed long before the time of the campus, possibly through a previous village that no longer remains. The native Yoko islands prefer to distance themselves from the stones.
The Water GardenThe Water Garden is a beautiful organised garden divided into themed sections, such as 'garden of ponds' which holds several ponds that encourage wildlife, the 'sakura garden' which holds a small lake with a pinkish tone to the water, and small human-made waterfalls and bridges. It is a popular garden for enjoying the sounds of water. Many of the monk teachers enjoy the water gardens.
Tunnels and Bridges
Aroma TunnelA favourite of many of the students and teachers alike. The aroma tunnel features an assortment of flower flora with soft scents. It is widely used as a romantic spot, for students to ask each other on dates. Many students believe that there was once a girl with ram horns who attended the school many decades ago, who was asked out with their true love. She passed away one year after graduating school, but is said to be lurking around, blessing destined relationships.
Wind TunnelThe wind tunnel is made of twirling paper windmills that create a gentle whistling sound which is said to be the most enjoyable in the season of Jyrékol, which is hot, but not terribly so, with the most pleasant of winds.
Chime TunnelA gentle experience during the day, rather haunting at night. The chime tunnel features various chimes and bells attached on metal arcs that form the frame of the tunnel. Some of the arcs are inscribed by old words from Taruan literature of poetry. Others are inscribed by mischievous students from the past and present. It is said to be best experienced during the season of Shysukol, where the constant rain soothes the sharpness of any of the tones to a peaceful melody.
The Bending BridgeThe bamboo bending bridge was made by one of the past Wuxia Masters to encourage the students to practice their balancing skills, and can be found by the one of the many lakes.
The Glass BridgeOne of the most beautiful bridges on the campus that allows for students to look below their feet at the canopy of trees below. The glass bridge is closed to students during the night, though younger students are often dared to walk across it. Strange creatures and spirits are said to haunt it during the night time.
The Broken BridgeA bridge said to be both a romantic place due to a supposedly tragic event that took place centuries ago. Traditionally used by students who have had disputes with each other as a place to make amends.
The PlazasThere are several plazas around the campus that are excellent spots for students to meet up and to run their club activities. The plazas are named after the buildings that are nearby, such as lavender plaza named after Aroma Tunnel, Water Plaza by the Water Gardens, Grove Plaza by Stone Grove, and Eddison Plaza which is situated by the library which contains the Eddison Centre.
Other landmarksThere are several other notable landmarks situated on the TIA campus, which includes 'Park' which is a wooded area by a lake with open space for picnics. A petting zoo, which is beloved by many students. The Tree which is an open grassland with a single tree and various smaller flora that attracts a wide variety of butterflies. There are also several teacher huts for teachers who prefer their own space and to live alone. Teachers such as Lo Chen may live and spend their time at their own Teacher Hut. Other teachers have very private Teacher Huts so that they can live alone and meditate when they are not working.
Yoko island itself has a special defence mechanism which makes it near impossible for anyone outside of the campus or the Yoko natives to find. There is a partial southern wall and three old towers by the southern coast that were built long before the campus itself at an unknown date. Master of Defence Nekhii uses one of the towers for defence purposes, while another tower is used for research. The third tower is not to be entered under any circumstances.
The campus was founded in 550 AL to meet the needs of Taruan students who would otherwise need to practice their magic in secret. The school administration at the time realised its unique position to offer placements for magi students around the world with no local school of their own an opportunity to study. The school benefited from a small, yet steadily growing community of international students who could share their own perspectives of magic which in turn helped to develop the academic side of magical research. During this time, the campus held two main blocks of buildings, now renamed as Block D, and Block E which retain their traditional Taruan style. The historical age of the teacher's block, Block E, may lead to many of the students believing that the basement below the building is haunted and full of old traps just incase the island was to be invaded. Though throughout the history of Yoko Island, it has not been threatened by the many wars that the main country of Taru has suffered. At the beginning, there was only one dormitory the students could use, which is now being used exclusively by the Black Tortoise clan. There was also once a traditional library with scrolls that was unfortunately burned down by a series of fire-related accidents. It was rebuilt to echo its previous design (with added fire-resident) materials. Many decades later, the library was expanded to include a more modern feel with a room that allowed students to use technology. Much of the old-style of the library remains at the back of the building. As popularity of the school grew, so did Taru, which lead to further blocks being built and four separate student dormitories. Teachers with high levels of building magic were highly favoured during the construction projects. The academy has been able to accept all international students from 628 AL, after negotiations with Cantari. In 630 AL, the first year in the visual novel begins!
No one but staff and students are allowed to enter the TIA Campus, on the exception of one Yoko local who is allowed to organise Beanz tournaments for the students. Not even prestigious members of the Magi Council have been allowed to visit. The Headmistress often makes a point of ceremoniously burning their letter of complaint each year during one of the staff meetings at the start of the term.
An impression of the Grand Hall.
Joining a clan
In the visual novel, you can choose to remain in Yellow Dragon or apply to join an alternative clan. You may even try to persuade others to join your preferred clan. Each clan has their own unique way of accepting members. Be wary, it may not be smooth sailing to get the clan you want. Patrons can find out which clans are canon for characters to join, and which characters can be persuaded to join your preferred clan.
Each clan holds many benefits; Location, bonuses to stats and grades, more opportunities to socialise with certain characters, etc. Some clans hold their own private events, and you may find interesting story and lore in each of them.
Each clan represents traditional Taruan lore. The hope is that by housing the students in the clans, the students' ambitions are appropriately supported. The clan system also encourages balance and harmony between them. While there is some competition and rivalry between clans, their primary purpose is to bring students a better understanding of the nature of each other, and that there are diverse ways of being that doesn't have to necessarily cause conflict.
Azure Dragon by David
Student lifeWhile students do their best to attend all their classes, sometimes there will be an inevitable sick day. Other more rebellious students may skip classes for other reasons...
It isn't easy for first years to remember where each class is held. Luckily, they receive a handy map in their first week which will glow around the correct location for their next class. Newer students still may use the excuse of getting lost for a while, but eventually, teachers may become less understanding.
Performing arts class helps students to learn to combine their magical and wuxia abilities with dance, song and drama.
In the visual novel, the gardens will present opportunities for improving friendship and getting to understand other characters further. Characters may find it easier to rest if they visit the gardens which will improve their energy stat. They may also stumble upon intrigue between other characters...!
"A garden is a great teacher, don't you think? It teaches us to wait, to listen, to breathe. It settles down our ego without making us an outcast. In fact, it reminds us we're quite integral to the world."Shui Ling
"Always be cautious about places with myths about spirits. Often these tales hide worse things to find."
Exploring the various plazas and gardens may give you an opportunity to find new cards for your Beanz collection. In the game, you may collect these cards. It is my hope to give these cards away as gifts for Patrons in a later date, and later to sell as playable sets.
Players are free to discover and engage with as much or as little of the lore as they would like. Is your character interested in investigating the history of the academy, or are they more interested in finding ways to improve their Destruction magic, or compete at the Swimming Club?
Those who seek answers about the ruins that can be found on Yoko Island, and the question of the ghost lurking by the shores at night, may well find out more than they anticipated...