Practical exercise

Parkhurst Refectory

Parkhurst Refectory was closest to my Townhouse.  It was also the quietest.  Boisterous lowerclassmen were encouraged to eat elsewhere.  “Encouraged’ could apparently become a bit vigorous.  By tradition, in Parkhurst Refectory one ate with chopsticks, unless you were a visiting parent, the cuisine matching the eating utensils.  Things chopped in bits too large or too small are impractical.  The unman staff was recruited from the far southwest, where the sky is often spangled with moons.  There was, however, a paper and fontmaker’s table, at which I could sit quietly and listen.

Dinner on tray, I headed for the empty end of the table.  I’d have to listen carefully, but I might learn something.  I had just set down my tray when a fellow part way up the table looked up, pointed emphatically at me, and gestured at the empty seat to his left.  I nodded politely, worked around the table, and sat next to him.  “Demetry,” he said, introducing himself, “Demetry Parleunman.  And you were the young lady at the diagrams lecture three days ago, weren’t you?”

“Adara,” I answered. “Adara Triskittenion.  That was me, yes.” I paused for a moment to hang cloak and gnothdiar on a neighboring coat rack. 

“Adara?” the fellow across the table asked.  “I’m Rob.  Rob Fortescu. Wasn’t that you with the golem yesterday?”

“Yes,” I answered bashfully.  “But how did you know?” He pulled from behind his seat a copy of the National Intelligencer, the capitol’s daily newspaper.  There I was on the front page, facing off against the combat golem.  The image caught my face clearly.  That had to be a real recorded image; I could remember when I’d tried that weave of spells.  I glanced at the report.  They had my name right. Then they got into the legal issues. I should have realized; there was going to be a full formal trial, Dorrance Academy having made financial claims against House Fourbridge. I handed him back his newspaper.  I had to write my family again.  I hadn’t thought of that, but it was now obvious.  “Oh, my,” I managed.

“Now, Rob,” Demetry interrupted, “I invited her over here to discuss diagram magic, not the indignity of personal combat.”

“Be nice,” Rob said.  “This was combat unto death, not to mention…was that really a Death-Pride Honor duel?”  I nodded.  By this point half the table was looking in my direction.  I’d wanted a quiet dinner, a chance to learn things, but that was not what I was getting.

About George Phillies

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