Practical Exercise

December 23, 2021

The mob stood up and headed for the door, ignoring Dairen and I.  Already these folks didn’t seem to be entirely likeable people.  Master Courtenay rose and headed down the table toward us.  Dairen shrank in his chair. Courtenay nodded at me.  “Janice thinks the world runs exactly a certain way.  And since you have the brains not to want to tamper with your personal spells, you may not find her friends to be very friendly to you. As for you, Dairen, if you really have not studied combat magic at all, there actually is a process for transferring to the New School.  You might well be happier there.  You’d need faculty endorsement, which I can probably arrange.”

Dairen tried to square his shoulders.  “Thank you, sir, but my parents said I should study here.”  Something in that remark clicked into my memory.  “They thought, since my House double tithes to the Order of the Axe, that there’d be no issue of my safety.”

“Sigil!” Master Courtenay and I spoke almost in unison.  “You need to wear one. Better that I take care of it now,” he said. 

“Thanks for the advice, Master,” I said.  “Do people here discuss General Magic very often?  I listened to them talk, and heard all sorts of things, but never school-type things.”

“Alas, no,” Courtenay said.  “For all that we are the General Magic table, General Magic is rarely discussed here.  Or anywhere else.  Truthfully, General Magic is mostly studied by lesser heirs of very wealthy houses, heirs who want their papers stamped so they can say they studied successfully at Dorrance. ”

“I’m actually a third heir,” I said.  “But when I’ve heard of people who simply wanted their papers stamped, they didn’t work very hard.  How does that work?” 

Courtenay laughed.  “Subjects have lectures. At the start, the lecturer gives a short summary of the lecture: ‘what you need to know’.  If you know that and no more, you earn a ‘Gentleman’s Pass’.  Yes, Gentleman’s, for all that Dorrance has about as many women as men among the student body. There is then a short recess.  Students staying behind, if any, are interested in the serious material.”

“Some people don’t stay behind?” Dairen asked.

About George Phillies

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