Where does a story start? When the school first opened its doors? With the proud capping of the first class of graduates? With the germ of an idea in a worried mother’s mind? Everyone has a different opinion, of course, but this story starts with Little Red Riding Hood, venturing into the woods to take some food to her grandma. And it starts with Cinderella, running from the palace as the clock strikes midnight. And it might even start with Dug the dog, dutifully following – SQUIRREL!
These might seem disconnected, but at the dawn of the 20th century a pair of researchers started to put together a pattern of strange incidents. There weren’t many of them by world population standards, but there were enough for enquiring minds to sit up and take notice… people who had, up until this time, been diagnosed erroneously by doctors and psychologists as sufferers of hysteria, schizophrenia, dissociative personality disorder or worse. What else could one conclude after speaking to someone who insisted on the fact that the spirit of the Big Bad Wolf lived in their body with them? Only one thing connected them: these sadly misunderstood people consistently believed that they contained within them the spirits of creatures and people from myths or fairytales.
A few years after its establishment, a small and very quiet branch of the American Central Intelligence Agency started looking into it. The original researchers – but now with badges and dubious easily-deniable authority – began to identify these "literary reincarnations", as they would come to be known, and safely take them out of harm’s way. This was all done under a blanket of secrecy, and so the world at large remains blissfully unaware of the CIA’s subsequent astounding research into the subject.
It was only after the release of Disney’s animated feature film The Sword in the Stone in 1963, however, that the agents were able to say definitively that the literary reincarnations they now encountered were no longer from the myths and stories of old – the spirits had increasingly come from animated films. Nothing was said to anyone at Disney or anywhere else, as they feared upsetting a delicate balance about which they knew very little. A machine powered by what can only be described as magic was developed by some of the older generation of literary reincarnations and presented to the department to ensure that never again would a literary reincarnation be locked up or drugged into oblivion by well-meaning relatives and doctors. No one outside of its creators have any idea how it works, and so it has continued to do its job without interruption for many decades.
Besides calling in the children and their parents when the machine gave the CIA their names to explain what was happening and to perform a few tests on the youngsters, however, they were essentially leaving the reincarnations to fend for themselves. This is where Daniel and Clarissa Remi stepped into the picture. They were worried about their son and heir to their shipping empire, who was presenting with the classic signs – including a tendency to break into dance at any given moment, and occasionally winding up as a penguin in a bowtie. (One of Mary Poppins’s waiter penguins, if anyone is wondering.) The wealthy couple were determined that their son should be given the best care possible while still receiving a top-class education. After gathering together as many specialists as they could, including several literary reincarnations, they set about creating the school that would be Nemare, going as far as purchasing the islands upon which it would rest to ensure secrecy and minimal government interference.
Thus, in 1973, Nemare Academy for Gentlemen and Gentlewomen was born. That old CIA machine is still hard at work, helping the school to locate new reincarnations. In their fourteenth year, the youngsters and their families are visited by Nemare Academy representatives armed with all the answers and a gift for persuasion, making sure that every reincarnation gets a shot at their new beginning...
But what happens next? That was the question students, parents and the administration asked themselves, year after year. The abrupt change from the Academy, where students were free to be their fullest selves while they learned to control their alter egos and abilities, to the outside world, where normality was expected was difficult for some. Small wonder that, less than a decade after opening its doors, the Nemare Teaching College opened its doors on another of the Acinot Islands. In 1997, this school was demolished to make way for something much, much better. Acinot University has facilities that can compete with the best all over the world. They have entered into quiet partnerships with other universities to ensure that not only are their courses top notch, but their graduates will also be accepted into the working world without undue concern. Students can now enter what some might call the real world with their heads held high and their eyebrows fully grown back after that unfortunate lab incident in senior year…