They hadn’t actually been gone very long. Two ambulances at the curb in front of the dorm.
Paer hustled over, and Rael turned to face the music.
A pair of policemen, the head of the Campus Police and the city’s Chief of Police, turned to loom at her.
“The student who suffered power overload, trying to block the blast will be fine. I take there are more injuries inside?” Rael stepped to where she could see the damaged side of the six level building. It would be the largest of the dorms! “I see she couldn’t get the shield up high enough, strong enough to protect the top two floors.”
“Well, we’ve gotten everyone else’s statements, so let’s add yours to the pile.” The Police Chief waved a younger, uniformed cop forward. “I understand you know the drill.”
“Yes.” Drat. Facing Urfa is going to come next. “I had a large number of highly talented students to train, and called in The Black Horse Guards’ trainer because he’s much more experienced at this.”
The cop snorted. “We met him. Utterly terrifying, and so bloody proud of the kids that almost blew up the campus.”
“Uh . . . broke maybe two dozen windows? They aren’t that dangerous. However all compass practices will henceforth be held off campus and far away from any buildings or people.”
Rael cleared her throat. “The first half of the class had a nice controlled compass. The second group was very strong, collected way too much power and lost control of it. I was on the west side, with a light shield up between the observers and the compass. The previous class—six young women—had stayed to watch. They sat on the north side, just beyond the curb there.
“When the Compass lost control of the power, Isakson shielded the kids, and the energy, in the form of heat and motion . . .”
“Explosion?” The cop prompted.
“Eh, not quite that energetic . . . Anyway I toughened my shield and looked to the girls. One of them, Ryol was up and trying to hold an enormous shield. It almost worked. But she collapsed under the strain. I hauled her to the hospital and returned.” Rael looked around the practice field Burned, pockmarked. “I had no idea . . .”
Arno trotted around the corner of the building. “All right, we’ve checked all the rooms. We didn’t kill anyone, only one serious injury—glass splinters in one eye—Dr. Paer’s dealing with that, said she’d take him to the Comet Fall Hospital to be sure his sight wasn’t affected.”
The cop grunted. “Well, training accident. Minimal injuries, property damage . . . who knows who’s going to pay for it.” He slapped his recorder off and walked away.
Her comm beeped. She glanced at it. “Oops. Ox.”
Arno gulped. “I ought to have known better than to have used the car.”
Rael opened her mouth . . . closed it. “Shut up and let me talk.” She opened the connection. “Ryol is fine. The other injuries are not life threatening, and actually only one hospitalization, just to make sure the eye injuries heal well.”
A deep sigh from the comm. “Isakson called. I did not like the cavalier way he shrugged off Ryol fainting and you teleporting her out of there.”
“I sort of panicked. She got what Dr. Heath called brain scorch from collecting too much power. Three days bed rest in a dark room. I’ll pick her up Sunday . . .”
“Raod and the grandparents will pick her up Sunday. And Dr. Heath? You took her to Embassy? And where is Xen?”
“Off to play with Cyborgs, last time anyone’s seen him. Which was a month ago.”
Another sigh. “Life was so simple before Endi Dewulfe. And it’s two decades too late to tell you to be careful of falling for someone who is . . . rearranging the entire Multiverse.”
Rael couldn’t get up a giggle. “Oh, he just nudges it every once in a while, when it really needs it. Otherwise it pretty much arranges itself.”
“Nudge? More like a swift kick. Well, I’m sending one of the other Warriors to pay for fixing the damage out of the Warriors Fund. One help me. I didn’t realize there was such a thing. Please don’t do that again.”
“I’ll try.” Rael stared at the comm. Looked around and spotted Ra’d.
He looked around as she walked up. “How’s Ryol?”
“Three days bed rest in a dark room. Power scorched her brain.” Rael crossed her arms. “Does this sort of thing happen often?”
“Yes, but we usually don’t do it anywhere near a building or people. I apologize for bringing Isakson in. He . . .”
“Is like me and prone to throwing caution to the winds?”
“Oh, you don’t throw caution to the winds. You just do it anyway.”
“And Ox said something about the damage being paid for by the Warrior’s Fund? What the One hell is that?”
“Oh, we always sort of self-insured for the damage we cause. Made us less unpopular. I wonder if Isakson started up a new fund or if the old was still in existence?”
Rael thought about nearly a thousand years of interest . . . “Right. Warriors with an insurance policy. Uh oh.”
Ra’d looked around and spotted Urfa. “Oops.”
Urfa looked around the practice field. “I see we had a battle here.”
“Sorry, Boss. I think I just destroyed the reputation of the Magic Section.”
“No . . . Changed it, yet again? No doubt about that.” He eyed the dorm. “Isakson said Ryol got her shield extended a huge amount, powered by the heat of the explosion, and over-did rather badly.”
“Yes. She’ll be fine. Back in class Monday.”
“Good.” He looked over his shoulder. “Looks like everyone but the newsies is leaving. Why don’t we all walk over and talk to them about the powerful students the School is about to unleash upon the Multiverse.”
On the Beach
Saturday 27 Muharram 1417 yp
The magic school Xen had built for the early sessions with his twenty-seven half-Oner children was empty most of the time. Occasionally used by visiting students. And this weekend, Rael’s top seventeen college students. Along with Isakson, Dog and Ice.
Q and two other local witches grabbed Rael and the girls, and a batch of the local teenage girls and hauled them off to the hotsprings.
Rael cast an anxious look toward the boys. Isakson made shooing motions. She shooed.
Puus, Nugget, and Cindy were thorough boggled by Sunday afternoon. They’d tried, and done moderately well, all the witch exercises. Triad exercises. Had even bathed naked in the hotsprings.
Back at the school, the boys had been beaming.
“Man! We melted a lot of sand before we figured out how to limit the power we gathered.” Arno flopped down in a chair. “But I think we’ve got it now.”
Rael eyed him.
“I know! No compasses without Isakson or Ra’d there. Which they said probably means not till sometime next year.”
Kev sighed. “I did a couple of minor compasses. I know they all say I will be strong . . . but it sure would be nice if it was now while the training is going on.”