Practical Exercise

“Thank you,” I managed.  There is a point where you are dead on your feet and forcing yourself to stand straight.  I was there.  I sheathed my gnothdiar. “Are there more questions?” I asked the lictors.

“No,” Master Monserrate decreed. “There are not.”

I had remembered to drop the treldiar into my cape.  Triskittenion capes come with large pockets; they had just paid for themselves.   A treldiar is worth a modest fortune. Several lictors levitated Fourbridge and marched off with him.  Another lictor helped me to the Infirmary, which put solid healing spells on all my burns, bathed me to remove the ashes,  eliminated the smell from my hair – I now have very short curls – and confirmed I had no other serious damage.  My clothing was in ruins; the infirmary lent me an outdoor robe over which I draped my cape.  I staggered home, escorted by a lictor, bade him good afternoon, dropped into bed, and slept through the next day’s breakfast.

General Magic Afterwards

Late the next morning I visited the infirmarians again.  They confirmed that their spellwork – helped by my spells in mid-battle – was repairing the damage, and gave me a list of things I should not do for a few days.  Going into combat again was high on the list. 

I had awakened in time for lunch at the General Magic table.  Between the duel, the healing spells, and missing dinner and breakfast I was close to starving. I was happy to eat rather than to talk.

I sat quietly at one end of the table, watched as people arrived, and waited to hear what they said.  I’d told them two days ago I had my practical exam; someone might have wondered how well I’d done. They might even have shown up, though that was optimistic.  I knew word had gotten around; I had an invitation for dinner in two days at Violent House and a thank-you note from Violet House. 

The General Magic table was busy with people gossipping.  No one said anything to me. Finally Serene Master Courtenay tapped his drinking glass with his spoon.  Student gossip faded to silence.  “Adara,” he said.  “Yesterday you had your martial magic Practical. You faced first a combat golem, which you destroyed, and then a combat sorcerer with a record of dueling kills. You should have expected neither of those opponents, let alone that they were trying to kill you, not test you. If none other applaud you, I shall. For you survived and won, when you might well have died instead.” He clapped twice.

About George Phillies

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