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12 October 2019 @ 01:58 pm
_Professor_ part 40  

She sat up suddenly, and enlarged the picture she’d accidentally wound up on.

Madam Haig, her husband, Minister Igly, two children, and the minister’s assigned princess.

. . . Jues.

She enlarged it further. Same eyes, cheek bones, damn that was almost a century ago, chin and jawline. One Damn me. That is Professor Jues. I hadn’t realized she was ever an assigned Princess.

And suddenly I have a whopping great method shoved in my face.

Rael got up and hunted down the paper copy of “The Natural Child” and leafed through the front matter . . . Dedicated to my dear friend, J, without whom this book would never have been organized enough to publish. You know who you are, Love.

“Well . . . most wives hate their husband’s princesses. But there was that time the wife eloped with the princess . . .”

Rael considered the dedication. “But what the hell does that have to do with my two Purps? Just as well I have classes to teach. This is going to take some research. And thought. And reading.”

Help! I don’t want to read the whole dismal thing!

But it’s going to take careful handling. What the hell put Jues on a lifelong vendetta against Action Teamers?

She grabbed lunch, dressed in one of her “Professor suits” and headed for the Grand Lecture Hall. Where the students did not have their minds on magical theory.

“Professor Rael? Were any of Xen Wolfson’s children in that compass?”

“One. With three other students, a fellow from Interior, and three Warriors, including Isakson and Ra’d.”

“Then how did it get out of control!”

Rael sighed. “Apparently that wasn’t uncommon. And henceforth will happen only in a very remote area so they can have all the power explosions it takes to train the kids how to control that much power.”

“That old man called them Warrior Trainees. How many of those are there?”

“Fifteen who have potential. Mind you, one of the requirements for Warriors is experience, so none of these trainees, even if they meet all the other requirements, will be Warriors for another decade.”

Rael kept her professional face on. “As far as Magical Theory is concerned . . . I’ll try and wedge in a bit out how and why group merges work, and are so strong.”

And then in the Comet Fall Theory class, she was fielding even more questions.

“Yes, the Mage Compasses are just like our Compasses. They use more chants and symbolism—blood bindings—than ours but that’s just the frou-frou around the actual thing.”

And “No. Wizards are fiercely solitary. One may occasionally join in a compass, if needed, but they otherwise work alone.”

I wonder how Purps organize. Must be like Comet Fall, they have both the Wizard and Mage genes.

I wonder if two of them, like Ra’d and Ebsa, can merge and do more than I’d expect from a single one, or the two together?

And not count on the two I’ve detected being the only ones on the World, or even in the city.

She pulled her attention back to the class. “However, getting back to the Witches’ ability to tap Gravity for power . . .”

When she got home, she pulled out the baby bars and opened them to a yawning Exzy, who was happy to “help” her make dinner. At least he didn’t eat much of it before she cooked it.

“Maybe meat loaf was a bad idea. But it tastes all right. Right?”

“Wite.” Exzy crammed another handful into his mouth. Red sauce everywhere.

He’ll probably be sick as a dog after eating raw meat. I’m a bad mother. Poor kid, what was I thinking?

But she looked at the happy mess and her heart melted. Nothing a shower won’t fix. And I’ll sleep in his room in case he is sick.

After cleanup, they went for a walk, and then watched the extra-large sunset from the office, and admired the bright stars as the sky darkened.

Then they curled up on the couch with a big book with beautiful watercolor pictures. And the silliest stories imaginable. “Once upon a time, in the Village of Ash . . .”

When Exzy fell asleep, she set the big book aside and picked up her reader. Madam Haig’s third marriage, business-like but shading into affection. Even his appointment to a high office and acquisition of an assigned Princess didn’t disturb that affection. Mainly because she was business-like herself, and had no intentions of having sex with her principle. Who quickly grew into a good friend.

The birth of her two sons, and vowing to never, ever pressure them when they weren’t ready, to love them without limits . . . Nannies fired when they tried to discipline the boys, her Princess buddy backing her up, babysitting, helping her deal with teething, hurting children.

The sweet easy children, the disastrous play dates with rougher, meaner children.

Motherly bias or fact? Look at Arno. Easy going, so few childhood peccadillos. Unlike the fiery Ryol, who made up for it. All right. I can see the mother of two nice boys not like the more boisterous kids. Heh. And blaming it on their strict raising and discipline, rather than personality differences.

Ah, here we go. The next disaster, pushed out of a swing, panic run to the hospital for a broken arm.

And then she sits down and starts writing a book on how to raise children that’s practically guaranteed to be a disaster for most personality types.

And not teaching them “pre-magic.”

Oh, they’d see “Aunt J” doing her meditations, and run and sit on either side of her, but there was no instruction, and when they got bored, they’d just jump up and run off.

“The way it should be.” Gently easing the children into calmness with no pressure.

Rael looked down at the redhead curled up against her. I remember the kids wanting to do every thing I did, sitting like that, and either getting fidgety or falling asleep. Did Raod drill them? Or just . . . what? They both turned out wonderful. And neither repressed nor wild and uncontrolled. Even Ryol, but then she got a few firm reprimands as needed. And a few swats to her well padded rear, come to that.

I need to spend time with Raod . . . if she’s speaking to me. Find out how she did it.

And now I’m going to have to read that wretched “Natural Child” and see exactly where it goes off the road. And what the heck do I do about it?

She put the reader aside, picked up Exzy and took him upstairs to bed.

Tomorrow I must figure out how to have a nice chat with Jues. She winced. Well, that may take some doing. And it shouldn’t feel too contrived. She’s a princess and she’ll pick up on that.

She crawled into bed and didn’t stir until Exzy woke up and called for her in the early hours. A diaper change, cup of hot cocoa for each of them and they both went back to sleep.

Maybe I can do this motherhood thing after all.

***

But Exzy was back in the bubble for the morning run, and the first four practices.

That had lots of spectators.

Chancellor Ejti, looking grim. Chancellor Adse, disapproving. Chancellor Urfa, with his diplomatic mask over humor, thank the One. And Department Head Eshy.

Well, at least one of the four isn’t in my chain of command, so to speak.

And they stayed and watched all four classes.

Student spectators came and went. Dawdling as they passed, to watch the not very spectacular knocking over of firewood standing on end. Of course being able to do it from three meters away was unusual for the younger students.

Fortunately only a few newsies. Probably hoping for fireworks.

After the last class galloped off to class or lunch, Rael walked over to the cluster of boss-types.

“Good morning.” A generic greeting and a nod to include them all.

Urfa grinned. “That’s a nice bunch of kids, Only about half what you started with?”

“Yes. Most of the freshmen got the basics they need to practice for a year or so. When they’ve matured, they can start learning the higher skills.

A snort from Adse. “That physical push is a higher skill. As is holding two shields at once. At least you’ve only had a single overload injury . . . so far.”

Ejti looked over the slope. “Well, I can’t say I’m sorry to see a lot of the old strength coming back. I’ve wondered where we went wrong, too many Multitude outcrosses? Too many Natives? All the thing our ancestors could do, that the younger generations were incapable of.”

Adse and Eshy looked at him, twin expressions of disbelief.

“There’s no need for Warroirs!” Adse huffed. “We need Magicfactors, truth matchesfor business and law enforcement! The Army can deal with anything out there! Not wild, uncontrolled Warriors from our darkest times!”

Eshy nodded . . . “Well, we need some advanced techniques, for XR. Although big guns work as well there, as well.”

Urfa shook his head. “We’ve been regularly encountering people of power. Comet Fall, Whirlpool, Zingos, and Cyborgs. And on Embassy we’ve met the Purps, the Arbolians, and all the Earth books that have had some genetic engineering, with a few magicians popping up now and then. We need to show a strong face to the Multiverse. Not aggressive or brutal, but no one to fool with. We need diplomacy, we need an army, and we need magic.”

Adse looked from the practice field, still showing scorch marks, and pits, to the Dorm. The upper two floors soot covered, the window glass cracked or missing altogether.

“But the Compass practices will be held elsewhere.” Rael kept her voice firm.

“Why did you bring those people here?” Ejti frowned down on her.

“Because Compass work is all male. I simply am not able to merge properly with men. Quite apart from feeling like I needed stronger, more experienced people to run it.” She glanced at the sooty building. “And apparently three experience Warriors were unable to contain it.”

“But what . . .”

“With no buildings and no people to worry about, apparently that doesn’t matter. Which I wish they’d mentioned before they started.” Rael frowned. “This is an unusually talented group of students. The younger ones are just ‘ordinarily’ strong, so this large of a group of powerful students will be hopefully rare.”

 
 
 
cnmckenney on October 12th, 2019 07:39 pm (UTC)
Just NO
Please tell me that Rael did NOT just say “This is an unusually talented group of students. The younger ones are just ‘ordinarily’ strong, so this large of a group of powerful students will be hopefully rare.”
Doesn't she know that Murphy is always listening and watching? Is there a surer method of ensuring that the school will be inundated for the next 50 years with Mage/Warrior level magic users? That they will have to put a direct gate from campus to the practice beach? Companies from all over the Multi-Verse will be opening offices around the campus just to be able to pitch the overflow?
The Empire is going to start treating Rael like Disco treats Xen. OK, you started this broohaha now go AWAY and let us clean up the mess. We'll let you know when we wish to see you again.
Zan Lynxzlynx on October 12th, 2019 09:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Just NO
With Embassy open and that Wine running around, and One World princesses who want children, the Empire is only going to get more powerful magicians in future generations. Plus they'll be getting many more Priest genes in the mixture.
(Anonymous) on October 13th, 2019 12:33 am (UTC)
RE: Re: Just NO
Yes. When the strongest did not breed, it would have limited the number of very strong Oners.
mbarkermbarker on October 13th, 2019 10:41 am (UTC)
Odd thought... have we seen any evidence of magic occurring at any level below the person? E.g., could sperm teleport... to find a good home, so to speak?
matapampamuphoff on October 13th, 2019 03:27 pm (UTC)
Fortunately, no. Birding is bad enough. And could really enliven the Game on One.
Robert AllabandRobert Allaband on October 13th, 2019 12:18 pm (UTC)
After rereading Books 4 and 14...
I ran across a couple interesting things while re-reading Explorers and Empire of the One.

1. In Explorers Lon confronts Howie the Councilman that is sleeping with his wife. Howie just so happens to sit on the committee that deals with Intelligence and confirms to Lon that Earth has had no spies make it successfully on the One World. This takes place roughly around 7 years (IIRC) after Granite Peak. If Howie was telling the truth that eliminates Earth as the culprit in weakening the Ones magical training.

2. In Empire of the One when Rael goes to Ohme the Priest to see if "Endi" was sent by the One, Ohme tells how anyone that steps on the One World they can detect and how they think he came there like any other Colonial. Except when he started hanging around a lot of high Oners they finally noticed three things: A) Just how strong he really was, B) He could block them which led to C) He was like something the Hive Mind hadn't seen in a long time. Well we can pretty much figure out they think he is a Warrior or Warrior material, however it was the response of the Hive Mind that is interesting: They were going to send out Dancers to find the High Oner in the Colonies that was teaching such advanced magic. We know what they use Dancer's for and so with that context you can see the Hive Mind does not want Warriors and you can see the reason why: They are a threat to the One because they can block the One out. This reaction is around 50 years after Granite Peak (Izzo is in his 60's in Empire and he tells his reaction as a boy to the loss of the Colony) and after the fiasco's on Comet Fall.

This brings us now to what was shown here. You have one of the Admins that dates back to that time shouting out how they don't need Warriors which is strange since the whole raids by the Heleos wasn't that long ago. You also have Jues who at minimum was really close to that family and helped raise those two boys. What are the odds that one or both of those boys died as either teamers themselves or as an accident from them which would explain her reaction. At the same time the Hive Mind doesn't want very strong Magicians running around so you can see how the Hive Mind could use that woman and her friend Princess to push the magical training in a direction that makes it hard for someone to become magically strong enough to be a threat to them. Which explains why 50 years later they would want to send out their assassins to kill someone who possibly trained up a new Warrior. Rael made an assumption that it had to come from the outside and basically fell into an old trap of falling in love with a hypothesis you make. Also in typical Rael fashion she has stumbled into the middle of multiple things going on such as the the spies Kat trained which I don't believe killed the Professor, I think that was a Cyborg infiltrator.
matapampamuphoff on October 13th, 2019 03:23 pm (UTC)
Re: After rereading Books 4 and 14...
Really _good_ continuity is nearly impossible in a series this long, however I do have the first problem--why didn't the UE gov know about the first infiltration--in hand, when the Purps back story comes out.

The One might be perfectly happy to have Warriors--under their control, not someone on a colony training them. Had they found such a person, he'd been brought back to Makkah and examined.

The Natural Child fad? What would a bunch of Eunuchs and High Withione women know or care about raising children? There may at some time been philosophical differences about diluting the genes of the Prophets with excess raising of Halfer's children with power into the actual ranks of the Oners, or revealing numbers so there were fewer barren marriages, or only taking the mid-rank Priest candidates, or . . .

"Don't raise your kids like this" probably didn't occur to them.
(Anonymous) on October 13th, 2019 09:09 pm (UTC)
Is Jues gay? Was she in love with Haig?
matapampamuphoff on October 13th, 2019 09:54 pm (UTC)
At this point, hard to say.