Mashed potatoes, gravy fresh green beans . . . Heh, all the stuff I looked at and said “Oh no, I’m almost out of food. I swear I’ll take a cooking class . . .
So they compared bosses, got Rael to admit that the family strain while she was missing had been strong enough to convince her she couldn’t work for her brother-in-law.
“We just can’t have a Presidential Director operating under family stress on top of everything that comes with the job.” She glanced at Exzy, who was happily eating his dead chicken. “And then there was this other project I kept putting off. So when Urfa called, I jumped for it.”
Ice and Dog headed home, and Rael offered Ra’d and Ebsa the barely furnished bedrooms. They grinned and pulled out familiar rods.
“Brought your own, eh?” Rael glanced back at the office door. “So what did you think of my Goons?”
“Dog has a very strong inner personal shield, and a lot of practice with compasses, which he was trying to not be obvious about.” Ra’d flashed his teeth. “I suspect Ajki is investigating you.”
“He might have started out that way, but I threw a party a month ago. Sent the trash in for DNA analysis. We’ve got to Purps somewhere on campus.” That had them sitting up and paying attention. “I don’t know if it has anything to do with the piss poor magical training around here, but I need to find out who and how. And what they are doing.
“And no, Ice and Dog weren’t at the party. But just a few of their responses are . . . off.” She giggled. “Can’t rule out their being scared of me and/or trying to make a good impression.”
They swapped grins.
“That I can believe. They were very wary around us, at first.” Ra’d eyed her. “Then relaxed. Do you have any reason to think that Internal has been infiltrated?”
“It has been, for years now. Drives Ajki crazy, trying to trap or trick his problem. I wondered if assigning those two here wasn’t a ploy to see if the leaks stopped when they were away.” She grinned. “So I’ve got my eyes on them. While I use them to help with the kids and try to find the Purps.”
“Purps feel different.” Ra’d was frowning. “I’ve met a lot of them on Embassy, same with the Fallen. There’s no feeling of connection with the One. And yes, that’s true here on the home world as well. I’ve escorted diplomats back and forth.”
“Drat. I was hoping they were close enough to not feel off. Because all my suspects feel like Oners.” Rael glanced at the kitchen. “And they know I’m checking DNA, but they had no reluctance to eat here. And they feel like Oners.”
“So does Xen, and they can get potions in the Comet Fall Hospital, now.”
“True, but my suspects were here long before that. Well, if it was easy, I’d be bored, right?”
Ebsa and Ra’d were impressed by her first and second level students.
“Better than average, and I see what you mean about suppressed magic. Ra’d, Paer, and I got a bit of that in Techniques.”
Ra’d snorted. “We’d spent most of the summer interning with Ajha, so we knew it all. Ebsa, clever boy, showed only extreme control, rather than the full power of what we could do, and Paer and I followed suit. At first I thought it was funny . . . then I realized it was saving us a lot of grief.”
Ebsa shrugged. “Those Magic School Professors were praising the students who couldn’t hardly do anything, while screeching cautions at the stronger ones. So I demonstrated control, without showing very much power. I warned Arno and Ryol about that, and told them to pass it along to everyone else.”
Ra’d nodded. “I didn’t really think about it, then, but the other students never really improved anything but control. And that’s what you’re fighting here.”
“Yep. And that’s why my strongest students are so dangerous. But I’ll introduce the control exercises next week. They need them.”
She spotted them in the Comet Fall Magic Theory class, sitting with Ice and Dog.
At least Ra’d doesn’t look amused, so I must not be messing the Witch methods too badly.
“The simple charms shape the magic. Once they can feel that shape they no longer need the words. They speak of combining the charms into spells, but by the time they are doing that, they are aren’t using the words.”
More charts of wiggly lines. “Take, for instance, the sleep spell. It’s a rolling combination of the charm that projects alpha brain waves, the first stage of light sleep, followed with projected theta waves, and finally the deep sleep Delta waves.
“Witch training starts with learning the three separate charms, and then rolling them into the sequence that imposes rapid descent into deep sleep on another person’s brain.” Rael brought up the three silly chants. “Yeah, baby songs. It works. And it’s a useful tool for breaking down spells.”
She pointed at a raised hand . . . “No, the sleep spell, however constructed, does not induce the REM state; however, the victim of the spell may progress naturally into that state before they wake up.”
Next picture. “They have a system of writing out spells on paper showing the linkage of the Charms and the progression, the synchronization of the charms, but usually, in teaching, project illusions that put it all in three dimensions.”
She stood between the two big rooms and projected the sleep spell in front of each. “Study it for a moment, right to left, but do not gather power. I have no desire to have to deal with a couple of hundred snoozing students.”
That got snickers. “I’ll be going into the written method in detail, next week. In the meantime, I’ve been told that I’m much too easy on you lot. So there will be a research paper the introduction of which will be a synopsis of the three main types of Comet Fall Magic, then pick one and give me details. You conclusion will involve why and in what ways you think that one is better and worse than the others.
“Due in three weeks, then we’re going to start on the Gods, old and new.”
And then, dammit all, she popped Exzy out of his bubble and played with him.
Thursday morning, Isakson joined the crowd of observers for the level one and two classes.
After lunch, the girls eyed him warily, but worked at shields and attack spells, then formed up triads first with her, and then by themselves, coordinating holes with light and sleep spells.
Isakson nodded, thoughtfully. “With a little more seasoning, probably in XR, the Presidential Directorate is going to want them. Although perhaps the three Dimensionals will be better utilized in XR.”
Dimensionals. I’m going to have to add a category to my list of Comet Fall Types.
Then Isakson straightened and stepped out to study the guys walking up. “Ah. Now this is a very welcome sight.”
Rael dismissed the girls, but they didn’t go far. :: Get shields up, in case things get wild. ::