The final house of New World Magischola to be founded is Lakay Laveau (la-KĪ/la-VŌ), which was added to the school in 1835 after Chancellor Solomon Gundy invited the House founder, a wizard known publicly as Marie Laveau, to the school. Lakay is the creole word for house, and its use demonstrates Laveau’s heritage.
The crest of Lakay Laveau features the North American alligator, an adaptable predator that haunts the bayous around New Orleans and the swamps and coastal waters of the southeastern portions of the continent. Alligators lie in wait patiently, then move quickly and decisively to seize their prey. The mere suggestion of their presence can cause people to change course and a confrontation with one is ill-advised without intense firepower, teamwork, or a somewhat foolhardy bravado. Laveau house members can be as patient, cunning, and intimidating, but also like the alligator, they are fiercely protective of their own, as their “jaws of death” can become “jaws of love.”
House colors are deep purple and dark gray. Purple is the color of royalty and wealth, the deep colors that emerge from sunset and the color of Marie Laveau’s hypnotic eyes. Gray is the color of twilight, of the in-between spaces of dusk and dawn, a mixture of light and dark that some say is an absence of color, but is a palette for Laveau to work with. In voodoo, the deep purple is recognized for power, psychic abilities, and contact with the spiritual world, a very useful color for seances and necromantic rituals.
The ivy on the crest represents tenacity. There is a dual nature to ivy: it is beautiful and useful, to control erosion for example, or to train and prune into artful shapes. Like Laveau members, ivy is not something to be underestimated or to ignore. What starts as the tentative embrace of a tiny tendril can transform into the clinging claws of a choking vine that is difficult to control. The skulls on the crest are for death, merely another state of reality according to Laveau, and not something to be feared or prevented.
Show me the dark places and there I will dance, Laveau is reported to have said with a smile, and house members do not fear the unknown, unexplored, or what lies beyond. Laveau hand-picked students with exceptional intelligence, skill, creativity, tenacity, and a willingness to take risks. Students sorted into Lakay Laveau have powerful charisma that allows them to get what they want easily. Like the alligator, they often lie in wait, then appear at the opportune time to seize what they want. They are very good at reading people and situations, and can influence others to choose outcomes that are favorable to them. The world is their playground — in the dark and in the light — and they are the masters of their domain.
Laveau herself was a powerful artificier, and house members in particular use this French spelling and pronunciation, both as homage to Laveau and as a philosophical differentiation from those who craft objects based merely on their function and not their artistry. Artificiers believe in both form and function, and that the most powerful objects also have an aesthetic, and that the aesthetic itself adds magical power to the artifact. It’s believed that Laveau did not teach her students her most powerful artifact creation techniques, and many house members strive to discover or reverse engineer her secrets. The house motto is, “With Mind and Skill,” speaking to a combination of theoretical and practical knowledge. As master artificier and artisan, Laveau felt that those two values were the only ones of importance, and held contempt for those who advocated for creating with prudence or restraint.
House members often bristle at lessons that appear to teach material that’s already known or won’t provide any measurable improvement of their skills as wizards. Others sometimes view this attitude as recklessness or arrogance, though usually from a safe distance.
Laveau possessed great magical powers and knowledge of arcane lore, and was both feared for her prowess and revered as a wise wizard with a strong connection to the spiritual world. It is said that she created a potion made from vampire’s blood that keeps her eternally youthful and beautiful. She spoke four languages: English, French, Spanish, and Creole, and was considered the foremost authority on relics, bonded objects, numerology, and controlling the inanimate. She was a very successful businesswoman who commanded considerable wealth in both mundane currency and Leeuwendaalders.
As a potent artificier, she was consulted by mages of all traditions, sometimes for dark or dubious purposes, such as to regain a lost lover, to take a new lover, to eliminate a business partner, or to destroy an enemy. She frequently hexed hairpins, which she would use in the elaborate updos that she was known for among her clientele. Laveau herself had a beautiful cloisonné hair comb that allowed her to see through the eyes of another, living or dead. Her love potions and talismans were legendary as well, and she was often consulted for matters of the heart.
Among Laveau’s interesting theories was that wizards are themselves artifacts, and that artificiers in particular are compelled to continually improve themselves in order to become an evolving self-aware artifact.
J. Gripière’s (1846-1864) family owned a small plantation on the banks of the Mississippi. It was nothing impressive, really, but their grandfather acted as if their family were the Rothschilds of the Deep South. They attended Magnolia Sun, which they entered fully prepared to begin their own reign of terror on the student body. They had a natural knack for the cursebreaker path, and planned to attend New World Magischola with every ambition to become a teacher.
However, in 1864, a dark wizard named Thanatos Akeldama came burning through the South swearing retribution on the Magnolia Sun School. Akeldama was infuriated at Magnolia Sun’s new policy of admitting former African slaves with magical ability as students. As the Dark Wizard bore down upon the school grounds, he raised a necromantic army of revenants comprised of fallen Union soldiers. In order to repel Thanatos Akeldama, School Principal Parthena Cloudbourne evoked a powerful ritual which required the help of seven people to accomplish. Everyone knew that this was a last-ditch effort. When the smoke cleared, the school was safe, but Cloudborne and the others, including Gripière, lay lifeless on the floor. The entire school and its grounds had been forced to shift into a liminal space between timelines, and had entered a dynamic stasis capable of being ontologically in multiple locations while being physically nowhere. This heroic act of desperation became known as the Martyrdom of the Seven, and they’d appear in textbooks for generations to come. And all it cost you was their life. New School Principal Moman Pengembara allowed Gripière to become bound to the New World Magischola, where they are the House Ghost of Lakay Laveau. Sharp-tongued with a penchant for shenanigans, Gripière seeks to squash students’ overdeveloped sense of privilege by knocking them off of their high horse and getting people into trouble. But it’s always with a purpose. Petty pranks and cruel tricks are an excellent pedagogical technique and Gripière has plenty of information and plenty of heart for the alligators they love and torment.