Practical Exercise continued

“This morning?” I asked. She nodded. My father said that gossip is the only form of communication that can travel through space in negative time.  Here I was seeing it.  “This fellow from Violet House? Harold Fourbridge? Tall, black hair, loud voice, already into his beer, shoulder patch that looks like a very stylized flower, light-weight sword with a not-very-good sharpness spell, and two friends who stopped him?”

“You heard about it already!” Adrian nodded enthusiastically. “That’s wonderful!  It’s really good to know that we have new students who plug themselves into the gossip network that quickly. That’s an important aspect of being a successful governor, after all, cultivating sources.  Are you sure you aren’t interested in Governance? As was written by Arminius Minimus in his thirty-six volume Shorter Essay on Proper Governance, the cultivation of…”

At some point in the next few paragraphs, Adrian lapsed from Common Speech into the Elder Tongue without slowing down or losing track of his phrasing.  His command of Elder was truly impressive.

“Adrian, love,” Rebecca said, “I think you just missed the point. The young lady facing the Fourbridge idiot was you, Adara, wasn’t it?”

“My father warned me about freshman hazing attacks being covered by the unlimited self-defense rule,” I said. “He also taught me the legal definition of riot.  That applied if all three of them attacked me, which they did not .  If you hear their names mentioned, the two guys who grabbed him were obviously embarrassed. Also, I did not have an enchanted sword, it was a gnothdiar, and I had considerably more than two spells at hand, not to mention the ward the character walked into.”

Gnothdiar?  You could have killed him,” Rebecca said.  “And his friends if you weren’t careful.”

“He deserved it,” Adrian said. “That fellow has been a permanent nuisance as long as he’s been here.  He keeps using his family — his mother is a High Justiciar of the Great Judicial Court — to get away with things. We finally set our house wards to treat him as a hostile barbarian. After his first experience with the new wards, he hasn’t been back.”

“Is he actually competent?” I asked. “When he’s sober, I mean.” After all, I thought, some people do keep grudges.

“He’s a serious combat duelist,” Adrian said. “Off campus, of course.  He has, divine beings protect us, several duelling kills, any number of kills of unmen near his family estates, and had to pay weregild for on-campus events.”

About George Phillies

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