We started walking. “Did you study combat magic?” I whispered.
“I marginally passed the requirement,” Marjorie said. “I could keep up the minimum required shield or keep up the minimum required offensive spell, but not both at the same time, and one day I barely managed to do both at once before I passed out. That’s the only time I ever passed out from drawing hard on the presence, but it was enough.”
“I can ward both of us,” I said. “How can you do construction?”
“Lots of endurance, not fast pulse, charging up a diagram. I finally gave up that I’d ever open even a small void node,” she said. OK, I thought, that explains why she wasn’t bothered about relaxing her unaging spells. Combat training here apparently doesn’t start with power against resistance, so the path to more power never opened for her.
We reached close to the edge of town and waited. By and by we encountered a large group of people returning from a party in Harmony.
“Guys,” Marjorie told them, “I seem to have picked up some stalkers. Could we walk with you?” They were happy to agree. On arrival home, Marjorie summoned a Proctor, who summoned several lictors, none of whom could provide reassurance as to what had happened. They did issue each of us a combat riband, meaning that there was reason to suppose we might be attacked on campus, so folks should not be surprised if we were carrying serious weapons and wearing armor. Marjorie, alas, had neither.
Theo and I checked and reinforced the townhouse’s wards while Marjorie was staining my paneling. The outcome was fantastic. She did insist that I learn how to do it, and actually stain a bit of wall. OK, that corner will be hidden by my bed, no matter that she assured me that it looked fine.
Mom had insisted that I visit each of the Eating Clubs. I had not been very interested in joining one, but I’d promised to visit. By Twoday and Threeday most of them were paying attention to their front gates and invited me in. The more I learned, the less interested I became in joining one, though for several I much enjoyed meeting their members. ‘Eating Club’ as a name dates to the founding of the Academy, several ice ages ago; they now do much more than feed their members. Clubs all publicized visiting hours and had signup lists. After all, there were hundreds of us new students; they didn’t want to be swamped. I went around very early, before most of my fellow new students had even unpacked. More often than not, the club spotted me at their front gate, reading the spellwork description of the club, and invited me in..
Barrister House, where my brothers had both lived, was very friendly. I stood outside reading. After not long a young woman in the teal robes of a barrister-in-training came up to me.