Sunday, March 22, 2015

In Younger Days

"You killed him," I asked.
Dragoneyes turned his attention from his horse to me. "Yes." He didn't seem incredibly troubled by this.
"You killed him in cold blood."
"I don't see why you are complaining. He was attacking your sister. I wasn't about to start negotiating with him."
"But, still. Killing someone in a cold. Killing a person like that..."
"Grow up," Dran interjected. "Dragoneyes did exactly the right thing. He didn't kill a person. He killed some twisted creation of Koteph's. And, in doing so, he probably saved Cassinder's life."
"Besides, we were going to kill him eventually anyways," Dragoneyes said. "It's not like we are going to fight a war against Koteph without killing anyone."
I didn't really have a good response to that. We rode on in silence.
I contemplated the killing we would have to do. Did I have that capacity? To destroy someone who threatened me? Or to destroy someone who was helpless against me, but still an agent of the other side? I was no warrior. I never killed anyone. I had never gotten into a serious fight. Well, I had gotten into one serious fight...

The University doesn't have bars. Sorcerers are supposed to be too good for that sort of thing. Instead, the University had philosophical taverns, where learned people of all ages could discuss a wide variety of topics. And drink alcoholic beverages.
I was at such an establishment. Dragoneyes was with me. Of course, he was called Bashra then.
We were both upper-level students. In fact, I had just taken my examinations to graduate. Which was why we were out drinking.
"Look at you Amniel. Soon to be a full-fledged sorcerer."
"Assuming I passed."
"In Garion's Grimoire, how many spells are there for fire-proofing."
"Nine. Ten if you count the one to summon moisture."
"You passed." Bashra looked behind us.
"Four people took the exam. Only two can pass."
"Yeah. You and Koteph."
"How could you possibly know how Koteph did on an exam? You haven't spoken to him in about a year."
"Because he is getting drunk and laughing, while Crasys and Nershal are over there trying not to cry."
"You claim to be very good at reading people. I don't think you really are."
"Of course I am. Tell you what. I'll go over there and ask Crasys how he did. Whoever was wrong will buy the next round."
Yes. This was a stupid idea. Bashra was foolish to think he could get away with asking someone how badly they had done on the test they had studied for for years. But, in his defense, he was drunk.
"You're on."
In my defense, I was drunk as well.
We made our way over to Crasys. "So," Bashra asked. "How did your little exam go? Are you about to be a sorcerer?"
Crasys didn't respond with words. He responded with a sneer that said go-away-you-miserable-peasant.
"I see. Well, better luck next time."
Bashra turned around to leave.
"You think you're so special, don't you?"
"I think I'm pretty great, yes."
"You think that just because you spend time around the great sorcerers of the age, you too might amount to something. But I've seen the way you grub money, holding on to every penny. I see your low-born nature, and your serfdom taints every word you speak. You claim to be a princeling, but we all know what you really are."
"Yes. And everyone tolerates my lowly origins because I am more talented than a dozen of you spoiled brats put together."
"Perhaps you would like to put that to the test, you miserable wretch."
"I know the True Name of Fire. I could kill you."
"Oh, yes. The prodigy. Spent so much time raking coals you became a mage."
Nershal joined in the conversation. "And you should see how he lords it over us. He slept all through Master Girgis' lectures on charms, and got away with it because he could speak a word and make something fireproof, or lift it in the air on a tongue of flame."
"I have half a mind to life you in the air on a tongue of flame."
"I would like to see you try."
Koteph joined in the conversation. That was a surprise. None of the four of us spoke much with him. Nobody spoke much with him. He was a bit of a loner. Probably because he was a murderous monster with a deep hatred for his fellow man. "It would be foolish to tempt Bashra. Mages are dangerous men."
"Oh, says the other child-mage. Maybe he will make some rocks fly around."
I have to say I don't remember much of what happened after that. But I do know that the bar burned down, and Bashra, Koteph and I were suspended from the University, pending expulsion.

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