Winds of Change

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Ander leaned his head on his hand. While his current class load absorbed much of his time, he stayed up at nights later than he ought, engaged in further readings and exploration of all types of research that the Academy Library provided. He was already prepared for the next three chapters’ lessons for this class and so merely sat dutifully in class, participating as required.

So when Marrill interrupted Mage Adept Tadget’s lecture suddenly, it was with interest that Ander sat up.

“Excuse me, Adept Tadget, but may I ask… there are rumors, Adept, of – of war. Of the Dominion and the Rebellion rousing their forces and moving forward.”

Mage Adept Tadget’s eyes narrowed and his brow furrowed, but since the one of the many precepts of the School of Kyor was to consider all possibilities and take nothing for granted, the instructor could hardly chastise a student for the basic fundamental of inquiry.

“Young sir, I would caution you to reflect upon the reliability upon which rumors are founded and their very nature.” He looked about the classroom at curious students whose eyes were fixed upon him and then rolled his eyes and took a deep breath, shaking his head slightly with dislike at what he was about to do next.

Ander sat forward, as did many of his peers. Very rarely did any of his instructors deliver information beyond the scope of their coursework, so this was of particular note.

Mage Adept Tadget looked down his nose at them from over his spectacles. Seeing the heightened interest level of his class, he put down his lecture parchments with reluctance. “That said, I realize that, like all of the townspeople, you, too, have been in the MarketPlace. Naturally, you are more adept at observation than are other Academy students.”

He looked as if he were struggling with some inner turmoil. Finally, he said, “Yes, there are Dominion and Resistance forces gathering. It is not known how many troops or where. Now I remind you that it is imperative that you recall your foundation as a sorcerer and as potential mages even: objectivity.”

Walking about the front of the classroom, Mage Adept Tadget eyed them each. He continued. “I must press upon you that objectivity is absolute.”

“But, Adept,” Devrick said, “mages have intervened in wars in the past. And nearly every Dominion ruler employs one.”

“Devrick, we have had only battles in the past up until current times, not wars. Battles. No mage, aye, likely not even a sorcerer has employed their arts in battle. It is as we have taught you: you are to remain neutral. Your arts are to be used for the good of your employer should you have one, and never, I repeat, never, to harm another human being. Certainly you recall your Ethics of Kyor classes, yes? Evandian.” Mage Adept recognized yet another student’s question. Ander was fascinated for his part. No instructor had broached the subject of the Resistance, or the Dominion, and certainly not war. These were all things students whispered about in their dorms and Common Rooms, during passing, in the Dining Hall, in the streets and pubs in the Market Place….

“But what of the troops? What of Terruth City, and of the Academy should they march through here?” asked Evandian.

Mage Adept Tadget was growing frustrated. “I do know that Terruth City has stood for over 2,000 Eras, and even though war has broken out within it, it has survived. And certainly you should all know this from your Early Eras History classes.” He fixed a stern eye on the class and drew in breath, ready, Ander was sure, to change the subject from such mundane nonsense.

“But, Mage Adept, if there will be war, will not sorcerers and mages be called upon for their services, as in wars past? Classes have even been taught here at the Academy eras ago, and there are books in the Library, on Magecraft in War. That would indicate a lack of neutrality on our part,” pointed out Berrelton.

Tadget rejoined Berrelton with a begrudging, “Yes. There have been times in eras long past when those exercising poor judgment exploited kyor and manipulated and applied its use in warcraft. However, as a Land, we have learned from such errors, our Dominions have grasped the necessity of kyoric neutrality when we maintain command of any such responsibility or rulership. Such can be noted as in treatises and Dominion authority leadership pledges, accords and covenants. All of which also, are things I expect you to have previously studied in your Landwide Political Studies classes….?” Tadget trailed off on a disapproving note.

“Mage Adept, if I may?”

All eyes turned to the side of the classroom. From Pendymynon, Keldar very rarely spoke, but he was well-liked and respected. When he did speak, he made intelligent observations and raised points of profound depth. It seemed to Ander that he was a first cousin of Kenian’s, though how he had made his way to Pendymynon, Ander wasn’t sure. Keldar was one of the few who was without doubt Mage Adept potential. Ander thought perhaps Berrelton and Randal were, and possibly even Savick, but the others would probably only reach High Sorcerer.

Mage Adept Tadget let out his breath and nodded at Keldar, indicating his permission to speak.

“Is it true that there is a rogue mage out there?”

All eyes in the class swung forward to Mage Adept Tadget’s. Ander was intrigued. He had not heard of this at all, and normally Rick was an excellent source of information.

The Mage Adept studied Keldar for a moment and drew in a breath before he answered. He placed his hands on his hips and said sternly, “Now, I know there are some of us who have access to more…” he cocked his head slightly as he emphasized, “privileged information….” Here he flicked a narrowed glance at Keldar and then at Ander himself. Ander felt his mouth open slightly and sat up straighter on the bench. Did Tadget know of the Prophecy? It was plausible. He wondered if any of his instructors had been party to his role in the Prophecy.

“But we must again separate fancy and rumor from fact. The idea of a rogue mage operating purely on his own is simply nonsense.”

“Have any of these rumors been accounted for, Mage Adept?” Keldar pressed in a manner most unsuited to him.

Tadget studied him briefly before answering. “No. No such rumors have been confirmed.” He picked up his lecture parchments with finality. “And now, having wasted far too much time on that which cannot be proven, we will return to that which can. Return your attention to your classwork, Contemporary Studies of Magecraft.”

Ander managed a surreptitious glance about at his Cyclemates. They looked far too absorbed to be interested in their coursework. Stealing a covert glance at Keldar, he wondered about this information about a rogue mage and knew he needed to report it to Rick and Dar and the others. Surely this was necessary to the Prophecy. A rogue mage…. He had heard of no such thing thus far… and he wondered if Gabriella had. His eyes suddenly narrowed as he chewed his lip in thought. Tadget had only denied that rumors had not been affirmed, not the existence of the rogue mage himself….

Yes, he must speak to the others immediately.

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