Practical Exercise

“But you just moved in, Adara.  You didn’t hire an unman porter?” Marjorie asked.  “To do housework, I mean?  That’s why they’re there, after all.”

I shrugged.  “Maurice said they’ve all been hired.  And the place was a real mess. I just stood there casting cleaning spell after cleaning spell, but it still took forever.  Without spellwork, cleaning would have been hopeless.  I’m not really done yet, either.  After forty years of minimal cleaning, things needed work.”

“You’re lucky to have had a household spells manual with you,” Gail remarked. “All those spells you’ve never used.”

“Used them all the time at home,” I answered.  “That was how we kept the Hall clean.  Except the kitchen.  Mom insisted I do the floor by hand, just to show it was possible.”

“You don’t have unmen servants in your Hall?” Theo asked.

“House Triskittenion has unmen trading partners.”  I took another bite of goat and smiled happily – it had been Theo’s contribution, after all.  “Really good shishkebab. We adjoin, shallow-gate, on a lot of tropical hardwoods, so we have a neighboring unman town that specializes in fine furniture. They also do carpentry support whenever we rebuild the Hall.  We have partners and fine craftsmen as guests, on occasion; my House does not allow hired servants.” Theo looked puzzled by something I’d said. 

“So will you be dumping Leng’s old desk for something more elegant?” Gail asked.  “We once took a course together, so I got to see it.  It was a nice desk.”

“It’s a really nice desk,” I said. “Or will become one after even more cleaning.  My House’s fine desks cost a fortune, a fortune I don’t have, so I’ll keep the desk I have.”  I wasn’t going to stress that Dad and Mom were not impressed with my planned course of study, so I’d put together much of the money to pay for it. Heir-Third gets a modest allowance, but not enough to cover tuition and living here, not without scrimping and saving for years.  I had worked hard for that money, in between semesters at Barlow Academy.   Masters for typefonts are tedious to form, no matter how much unmen trading partners will pay for them.

“Do you do this all the time?” I asked.

“Use of the grills is in the lease, weekends only,” Tad explained.  “In-week you’re expected to eat in a refectory.”

“You mentioned swimming,” I said.  “Are there running fields? A gym?” 

About George Phillies

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