Practical Exercise

Book 1 of Adara’s Tale

I will try to post short excerpts very regularly.

Because Academic Warfare is Deadlier Than the Other Kind

I arrive at Dorrance

My first view of Dorrance Academy was in the early morning.  The rising sun was low above the horizon.  Dawn’s rays painted the grass and trees in gorgeous shades of green-gold. The Academy’s buildings were tinged with burnished bronze and faded copper.   It must have rained last night; you could see sparkling raindrops hanging from spring flowers.  I was still chill from crossing the Purple Sea.  The sun was pleasantly warm against my cloak. Over my back, under my cape, I wore my gnothdiar, my spellcaster sword, one of whose other purposes  is to be extremely sharp.

Academy buildings were an eclectic range of every known style.  That’s every style known to us, the Timeless Ones, the Hidden Masters of such part of existence as we choose to rule.   The One Library was a vast slab of golden granite and glass brick.  Even from here, well up on a rise and a mile away, I could see the shimmer of its wards, spellwork that protected it from fire, flood, and every other imaginable disaster.  The School of Theology building was architecturally unique. It started with limestone columns and slabs, fused at one end to brickwork of rococo ornateness, merged into a mass of silver and glass, finally reaching an open court surrounded by topless columns and four quartz towers, those being the personal and staff offices of the Four Patriarchs when they were in residence, the whole thing all being one building.

I’d waited a decade and a half for this day, a decade and a half in which I knew this was what I wanted to do.  Now I was actually here.  There had been the day, a decade ago, in which I first came into my magic, meaning I could don the agelessness spell that held me unaging as a young adult.  Of course, someday I would finish here, put aside that spell, and age into a grownup, but that was an unclear time in the future, after I’d established myself as a scholar.

I’d arrived on a rise, several hundred feet above the sloping plain on which the Academy waited.  My two shipping trunks hovered behind me. The view was beautiful.  The Academy plain stepped slowly down toward the Pelnir Sea. Beaches were golden yellow.  Several large-scale enchantments meant that the water for a fair distance out from shore was supposed to be pleasantly warm and absolutely clean.  Off in the distance, around the bay from the Academy, the long white block of the New School gleamed in the sunlight.

Two decades ago, my older brothers Heath and Moore had passed through the academy.  Now I, their kid sister Adara, would follow their example. Their hard work here brought honor to our family.  I would have to work even harder to outshine their accomplishments.

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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