Practical Exercise

“Hello,” she said, “I’m AsterAnne.  Were you interested in Barrister House?”

“Hi,” I answered.  “I’m Adara.  I’m looking.  My brothers Heath and Moore were here for their upper cycle.”

“Heath?” she asked. 

“Heath.  I’m Adara Triskittenion, Moore was here some decades ago,” I answered. “But my interest is General Magic, for which there don’t seem to be any houses.”

“Heath! Yes, I’ve heard The Triskittenion mentioned.  Very favorably.  He’s now a member of the Third Temple.  And his brother.  I really should give you a tour, if you would like,” she said.

“Sure.  So long as you understand why I’m looking,” I answered.  “I’m interested in General Magic, but there doesn’t seem to be a General Magic house.

“There is a General Magic not-house,” she said.  “Run by that Winterhold woman and her friends, and their friends.  Enthusiasts for tampering with agelessness spells.” She wrinkled her nose.

“Not my taste,” I answered.  “Not my taste at all.” 

My house tour was her rehearsal for their student recruitment scheme.  First year students would pass through, but most would not get to live in the house for a year or two, until their choice of field of study had solidified.  The Barrister House dining room was elegant.  Their Law Library was large, taking up a wing of the House on three stories.  I did spot something I didn’t know about.  “What are these all-different ‘Annals of the Law’ volumes?” I asked.  “The book binding is rather light.”

“Those are journals,” AsterAnne explained.  “You’re working on a monograph, find a new way to say something, so you write it up as a short article.”  I must have looked surprised, so she went on to explain.  “Much magic is in books.  People studying magic, such of them as there are, also have magazines on magic.”  I hadn’t seen those in the library.  “You need to go above the third floor,” AsterAnne added.   I now felt really dumb.  I hadn’t realized that there was a fourth floor.  Its entrances had to be hidden.

I was a bit reluctant to visit Violet House, but they were very polite.  I’d saved their House from embarrassment.  Violent House was actually fun.  They’d had run-ins with Harold Fourbridge. The fellow who asked me which spells I’d had behind my back was a bit startled when I told him.  Then one of their members, Kimberly Lane – the Lanes are neighbors of ours – decided to introduce me to their lunch group.  “This is Adara Triskittenion, whose solo hunt brought home the heads of three…night terrors.” I summoned an image of my bedroom, the skulls on the walls.  There were loud cheers.

About George Phillies

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