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matapam
18 June 2019 @ 09:34 am

***

“. . . and just send it back to me if they accept.”

“Thanks, Puwd.”

The woman looked down. “I’m so sorry I didn’t add you to the memo list.”

“Eh, no problem, I got there. My youngsters are herding me around and making sure I know what I need to know.” Rael looked at the forms on her comp. “I’ll catch them between classes.”

Good grief, even the secretary’s lacking self-confidence! Dammit, I need to sneak into a few of the Magic School’s classes! What the One Hell are they doing?

Rael headed down to the lecture rooms, caught Lenny before his first class. He grinned and thumb-printed the forms. “Money! I can eat and pay the rent!”

She slipped into Joke’s lecture room next door and collected another grin and acceptance.

Rael grinned back. “You two may be cursing me after today’s quiz.”

Then she dressed out for Martial Arts. Grabbed some firewood and took the five seniors outside.

And one at a time showed them how to flow their physical shields down to their left arms . . . hands . . . outward in a thin sheet and slice the sticks.

Half an hour, and they all had a good meter’s reach.

Then she walked the length of the building and set down the last log. Walked back, turned and sliced the log into chips. “By the end of the semester every single one of you will be able to slice at least ten meters. Last week was a real eye opener. Practical Magic is very poorly taught, here. You are the strongest of the One, and I’m going to make you use it.”

She leaned and eyed them. “Do not get into any fights. Do not use that slice on a person . . . until you’re out in the field and facing someone who you can legally kill. Got it? You kill someone here over your wounded ego, it’s murder, same as if you’d used a knife.”

And thank the One, they’re all thinking about that!

“Your range is going to increase, unexpectedly. So don’t show off. Practice the power gathering and dispersions. See you next Monday.”

***

Half an hour and they’re damned good. What’s wrong with this school?

She watched them in the Dojo . . . They look pretty happy, not inclined to do anything stupid. Hell, they look a whole lot more centered and calm. What the One hell?

The One? No, but what about the Collective Subconscious? Do five billion Multitude not want Oners trained in magic?

Rael shook her head. No, if that were the case, the One would never have regained much power, after the clans dispersed and married into the Multitude. Not that we, mostly, got back to the strength of the Warriors. But this is . . . just bad training?

Something tweaked a memory, and she spent her lunch hour in her office reading one of the three childcare books she’d bought.

“Yeah. This is the one . . .”

In the past excessive regimentation in early childhood, with constant frustration of failure as children memorized ‘spells’ they couldn’t perform, stifled children’s natural growth into power. Then as they matured and felt the touch of the one, their expectations of failure subconsciously suppressed the expression of power . . .

“Son of a camel . . . this cannot possibly have started with a stupid child rearing craze . . .” She looked around as the door behind her opened.

Xen grinned. “I see you noticed the electricians everywhere. How about a sandwich?”

“Deal!”

He dropped one on her desk. Dropped a kiss on her head. “I’ve got to watch these guys, they keep trying to put the fancy lights in the wrong place.”

She looked after him, then back to the book. “So . . . when did this ‘Natural Child’ nonsense start, eh?”

Not that everyone isn’t still failing to give children any early training . . . I remember when Arno and Ryol were little, they’d sit with me and “meditate.” Not that I was there much, but . . .

She dug into the history of the movement . . . the best selling blockbuster childrearing book “The Natural Child” by Madam Haig Withione Paris was published in 1350 . . . posthumously, as the author died shortly after signing the contract. The royalties went to a charitable trust fund devoted to pushing Madam Haig’s childhood education theories.

“Well, damn. So kids suddenly feel the power, with no prep . . . I wonder if the first generation of ‘natural’ children coincide with the laws about kids having to live in Oner enclaves, and attend Oner schools?”

Isolated from the rest of the world. And the world seeing them as something apart, different?

Rael munched and contemplated the situation. Surely a fad that messed up kids that badly would have died out after the first generation, right? Of course, all three of the books I read took it for granted that children would get no magical prep before they felt the touch of the One.

So sixty-six years . . . Oners tend to procreate late, so even if the fad dropped on, like, eight-year-olds, and the kids I’m teaching, half are eighteen ish . . . well, these kids are only second or third generation “natural” kids.

Huh. Tell the parents “Your kids will turn out better if you get lazy and don’t drill them” and a whole lot of them liked the idea. And the kids raised strictly wished their parents weren’t so old fashioned and mean and swore they’d do better . . .

So, all right, the colleges got poorly trained students who didn’t expect much of themselves? Well, no, the parents thought they were helping the kids be stronger. So they failed their own expectations?

So . . . what the One Hell is the School of Magic teaching these poorly prepared students, anyway?