The exhausted Exzy slept all the way home.
Rael got out her timeline. And added 3447 (1332 yp)—Earth finds Purple
“Now if I knew when Earth discovered Granite Peak, I’d have some idea as to whether they had time to train any Purps to infiltrate the Empire before they attacked our colony.”
Back to her downloaded books. Of course Earth only allowed approved books into the Disco library . . . Multiverse Library, officially . . . Right they claim to have discovered “Chelsea Company 15” two years before we did.
So . . . where do I dig to find out how far off that is? Because if true, they had twenty-five years to prep an infiltrator.
She sniffed. “That’s what assistants are for, right?” She sent a com message to Ice and Dog asking them to ask Ajki when the first (in retrospect) indication of the Earthers on Granite Peak actually happened.
The Second Half
Monday 22 Muharram 1317 yp
She strode out to the practice field, where the new Level One class was half an hour early, and had already settled down in the greenhouse to practice holding shields and collecting power. Pretty damn good for my weakest students.
A second level-one class, then a level-two, only three students, which made it easy.
Then home for lunch in an empty house, shower and professional clothes for Advanced Theory and Comet Fall Theory.
Back in her office she looked over her Thursdays afternoon practice sessions.
The top six girls first. Then Arno and Sunny, with Milo, Fun, and Kev. Then add Unko, Osti, Agny, and Eggo from my Juniors very basic.
And then I have the eight Team Trainees at three.
So much for my “limit of five for safety” resolution.
Well . . . I’ll give it a try. May need to make another session, and split the teamers.
Four hours straight of leading six or seven kids in magic practice. She made some comm calls, then spent the lunch hour in the fast room, eating, taking a nap, another snack, then back to see what she could do with six very talented young women.
Ryol glowered at her. “All girl classes tend to be . . . unchallenging.”
“Depends on whether you can form triads.” Rael grinned at the three surprised and three puzzled looks. “Comet Fall Witches combine in groups of three, and like men’s compasses, they can do a lot more together than all of them can do alone. So we’ll be working on both individual techniques, and group for as long as I can teach you anything.
“But right now, spread out and we’ll do a little warm up magic, then we’ll see about teaming up.” Rael had them all shield, one type at a time, then two, then three. And least destructive, a broad push spell.
“Now, I’m going to try some very basic triad exercises with Ryol and Puus first.”
Gior and Voyr looked surprised.
:: Relax, I know you three can do it, so we’ll ease in the new girls one at a time. ::
“The rest of you sit and meditate and listen.”
Rael held out her hands. “Relax your shields. I’m going to collect a tiny bit of energy and pass it to Pussy, who will pass it to Ryol and back to me.” As she spoke she acted, and the tiny packet of power circled around. :: Good, now talk only mentally, and keep passing the power. Let it stretch out as if it were flowing through a hose. Good I’m adding power a bit at a time . . . ::
A spinning ring of glowing power. Rael admired it, then started shunting the power letting it evaporate into the brisk spring air . . . and gone.
:: With practice a triad can hold a lot more, and any of the three can use it. :: She let them go, mentally. “Good job, you two grab some boost and listen in. Gior and Nugget? Let see what you can do.”
She glanced toward the greenhouse. Ice softened his unnoticeable a hair. :: Not that you guys can help with the Girlie stuff, but next up, all the strongest boys. And then the Teamers. ::
Gior and Nugget slotted together easily. Voyr and Cindy were a bit rough.
Rael let them all rest a moment. “Right. Ryol and Puus worked very well together, and Gior and Nugget. So Cindy? Let’s try you with Gior and Nugget. Voyr with Puus and Ryol. One group at a time.”
Damn they were good. Not that she let them pull much power, but she was more than a little apprehensive at just how powerful the youngsters were. “Excellent. All six of you. I . . . hadn’t actually thought it would catch on so quickly. So . . . more boost if you need it, and I’ll see you Thursday.”
She looked over to the watching boys.
Arno and his pal Sunny. Milo, Kev, and Fun. Then the guys from her first junior class. Unko, Osti, Agny, Eggo.
“So? Impressed with the young women? Let’s talk about compasses. This is an area with which, what with being female and all, I am not well acquainted.” Rael looked over her shoulder at Ice and Dog. They both shook their heads. “So I have begged some assistance from XR. Whom I hope will indeed show up in a few minutes. In the meantime, haul some firewood up the hill and we’ll get in some warm-up exercises.”
And startled as Ra’d and Ebsa popped out of nowhere, flanking her.
Ebsa grinned. “Now what was this, that had Ajha going ‘Oh my One! Get up there fast!’ ”
Rael giggled. “Ajha has seen my students in action. Apparently a simple request for help with teaching them compass work was all I needed.”
Ra’d nodded. “If you need help, it must be dire.”
Rael grinned. “Well, much through I hate to admit it, there are a few things men can do that women can’t. And teaching compass co-ordination from the inside is one of them.”
They both laughed, and eyed the boys, happily chopping firewood into splinters from thirty meters away. And stopped laughing.
“Rael . . .” Ra’d kept his eyes on the kids, “Uncontrolled children this powerful, in a full compass could raze the campus.” He ignored the kids looking around and grinning at that. “We will work with them two at a time. Today and Thursday. Friday we will take them to the beach on Embassy and try to not get killed.”
Ebsa nodded. “Should we ask Isakson to come look at them?”
Ra’d looked at Milo, flipping wood chips up in the air and punching them. From forty meters away. “Definitely.” He eyed Ice and Dog, as they sidled up, staring at him.
“Ajki loaned me a couple of goons to help, but this is beyond them.”
“Analysts.” Ice looked over at the hill. “And it’s gone from impressive but we could help to ‘Help!’ in four weeks.”
“Not including the week off for midterms. Holy One!” Dog paled at something happening on the hill.
Rael looked over. “Arno! Put it back where it belongs!”
“Sorry!” A large chunk of the hill settled back into place.
“All right. Stop. Warrior Ra’d ibn Nicholas and Warrior Ebsa Clostuone are going to take you two at a time and show you how a small compass works.” Rael stepped back.
Ebsa looked them over. “Right. All of you go over there. Sit. Lower your mental shields about halfway and watch. Do. Not. Collect. Power. Rael? A physical and energy shield, please?”
Ra’d pointed at Milo and crooked a finger. Eyed them. Arno shook his head, pointed at Agny.
“Okay. You two.”
Rael eyed Ra’d. I didn’t know he even knew Arno, let alone well enough to trust his understanding. Unless, of course, Arno, when he was sixteen . . . One! Not going to ask.
She stepped back, and stood far enough to the side to not obstruct the kids view, and raised an angled physical shield, and a grounded energy field soft enough that the kids could see the energy the circle was already raising, but that she could harden quickly.