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Adara at Dorrance Academy
“If you’ re afraid to do it to yourself,” the fellow sitting closest to me said, “there are people who can do it for you. The last University Council determined it was not against student rules.”
“It is, however, a remarkably impressive way to limit your command of the Presence,” Master Courtenay observed. “Command largely stops growing once you age from young adult. It’s a bad idea. For all that a considerable fraction of everyone in earshot, not including me, seems to have done that.”
Finally I connected the links. Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain. Yes, I could adjust my agelessness spell, the spell that holds me at my current physical age as a young adult for as long as I want. Someday I will relax it and age physically into an grown-up. Relaxation does all sorts of bad things to your ability to control the Presence. That’s dangerous during the transition. Once you finish aging, there’s no problem. Thank you, I thought, I prefer to wait. The longer I wait, the stronger my control of the Presence becomes. That’s important if you want to study General Magic. I’m in no hurry. Actually I’m in a lot of hurry, in particular for lectures to start.
“Oh, got it. Thanks, but I’m happy the way I am,” I said. Janice’s eyes bugged out. She shook her head. I could see head shakes propagate very gently down most of the length of the table. “When do the open lectures start? And where?” Those were lectures from visitors, people who talked knowledgeably about something specific. There were glances back-and-forth, followed by silence.
“Proscenium Hall is the old alchemy building,” Master Courtenay said. “Unofficially, it’s where faculty interested in general magic congregate. If you wander the halls a bit, you’ll find where announcements are posted. That’s also where our regular classes are held, a minor detail you cannot tell from the normal class schedule, though the class locations are all in Kwober’s Guide to Dorrance Academy. You new people will all be getting your personal copy in a day or two.”
“Thank you!” I managed. Master Courtenay was clearly worth cultivating, but the rest of these people seem to have their own interests.
I turned to my food and listened carefully. There was a lot of gossip. Finally most people finished eating. I’d been talking, so I was just reaching dessert; cocoa was to follow. “Beach?” Janice asked. “For regulars? Master, you’re always welcome to join us.”
“Thank you,” Courtenay answered, “but I like to stand at a safe distance and watch the waves break. While wearing clothing.”