FreeHolds Adventure Cycle 2, Part 2a

FreeHolds Adventure Cycle 2, Part 2a

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Part 2) Tipper


Tipper was still having a hard time being in the city. Even on the university’s campus there were just over two thousand students, almost three hundred faculty and a similar number of people who worked to keep the grounds, cleaned the halls and fed the students and staff. Not to mention the numerous people who came and went on various business and of course there was the associated Arcanium with its staff and student body. GreensBridge University had a population of what most freeholds folk would have considered a fair sized town. The grounds were on the southeast corner of the main island of the city of GreensBridge, once off the grounds the press of humanity became overwhelming to Tipper.

She and her companions had arrived a little over three months ago. Classes had been going well and she had figured out how she would gain access to the Arcanium, though it was still a work in progress. Since enrolling Tipper had seen Adwin nearly once an eight-day, she had seen Mokha half as often and typically in Adwin’s company. They both had jobs now. Mokha had found employment as a minstrel in residence, for the winter, with a well to do merchant. Adwin was working at one of the docks, she was unsure which one as he mostly talked about his explorations of the city. They both seemed well enough and it appeared as if the Fingures issue had faded to the background.

After singing the dawn, Tipper usually swung by Long Hall and picked up some breakfast, she was often the first student there. She typically took some bread and cheese with whatever fruit was available and ate on a bench near North Hall where her classes were held. The mornings had become much cooler, the trees on campus had begun to drop their brightly coloured leaves. She was often the only one here until classes started. It gave her solitude and the chance to review notes or read. When it was raining or snowing she sheltered under a nearby gazebo.

The day was bright and warm sunshine meant she did not need the shawl she typically carried, it hung from her elbows as she leaned against the back of the bench. She was rereading the school’s primer on magical disciplines; reviewing terminology and symbol recognition. One of the courses she had enrolled in was Fundamentals of Thaumatology, an introductory course intended for both the gifted and the mundane. The gifted were those who were born with a natural ability to cast magic, as much of her family had been. She lacked the ability herself, but by virtue of the number of gifted she was raised around, she knew most of what she had been learning so far in the class.

She was much more interested in the professor of that class. If all went well, she intended to seduce her way into the Arcanium. Her professor was also a mage and an archivist for the institution. Tipper had made sure to be top of the class, friendly and engaging. She had also found a spot to train near the Arcanium, as well she had started spending time studying in the main library, both were places her professor had seen her. Tipper had recently submitted a paper on the Kaymere Ruins with the supposition that there had been an earth elementalist and enchanter by the name of Kathvor Trudge. It was a controversial point of view by local standards but she had the physical proof of artifacts as well she had found a fair amount of information about the enchanter and his early career in the library and had collected a pretty convincing amount of data regarding his whereabouts previous to the fall of Kaymere. She had primarily based the paper on the information she had found in the books and was hoping to be challenged for her point of view. Thus having to prove her claims through the artifacts. She hoped by that point the professor would be very interested and that she may gain more access.

“You’re Tipper, right?” She recognized the voice.

A young, well dressed man had stopped along the cobbled walkway just the other side of the bench. He smiled, gave the slightest bow, “Allow me to introduce myself.”

“Lord Parli Probancruq. Son of Lord Jander Thaylon Probancruq, Warden of the Western March, brother of Jander Probancruq the renegade mage.” Tipper smiled at him.

He had paused with his mouth open. She had heard the introduction a number of times over the last couple of months, given within hearing to any number of attractive female students in class, at Long Hall and even once in the library. Lord Parli was one of those young men who seemed less academically inclined and was likely spending his first year of study with a focus on how many women he could bed.

He closed his mouth. Tipper shut her book and held eye contact. After a moment he smiled, “It seems I am well known.”

Tipper kept looking at him.

“Well, yes, of course I am. How silly of me.” He broke eye contact and glanced around. One of the custodians was opening the door to North Hall, where most of the first year studies took place. A few students were on the various walkways between buildings, heading to the days first classes.

Tipper pulled her shawl up and gathered her books.

“Might I walk you to class?” He held out his hand as if to carry her books.

“We are both heading there, I don’t see why we would not walk together.”

“Well, of course then.” He offered the crook of his arm.

Tipper came around the bench and headed to North Hall.

Lord Parli did a quick couple of steps to come along side of her and gestured broadly with one hand, “Did you now that my father has given the university a great endowment?”

“No, Lord Parli, I had not heard that.”

“Yes, well, he has given over a considerable amount of gold for the improvement and maintenance of the grounds. More gardens and most of the walkways will be resurfaced. Marble I believe.”

Tipper moved along the hallway and up the first flight of stairs, Parli started to trail as he stepped to the side for one student or the other. Following her up the stairs he asked, “I was wondering if you might like to take a carriage ride tonight, along the -”

Tipper stopped at the top of the stairs and looked down at him, “I am sorry Lord Parli, I would not like to do that. I’m common as dirt and came here to study. Thank you for your interest.”

Parli gaped up at her as she turned away and headed into the class. She was one of the first in class and as usual she chose a seat in the front row to the side of the podium the professor usually stood on.

Over the last couple of months she had noticed that the students here from the well to do families were less interested in academia and more interested in the social aspects of attending the university. Students like Lord Parli tended to take their studies lightly, while those few attending through sponsorship or bursary were generally more dedicated. She had not met any other students yet who had paid for their own enrolment, or none that she knew of.

As the start of class approached the students filled the seats behind her, the din of their conversation slowly grew to a dull roar, punctuated by the occasional outburst of laughter. Tipper did not involve herself with too much of the other student’s business and had not made an effort to befriend any of the other students, though she generally made an effort to be friendly. Most of the people sitting towards the front of the class were typically more serious about their academics, she gave a wave or nod and smiled to those sitting down nearby. Most of the first year classes were well attended, typically with around fifty students. As Fundamentals of Thaumatology was a required course for all other magical studies, it had close to one hundred students.

Melodic bells chimed the start of class. Those who had been standing around gabbing with other students moved to their seats and a few stragglers rushed into class, breathless. The noise of conversation faded as books and slates were set forth. It was not unusual for the professor to run a bit late, the class settled and waited.

Tipper heard the professor coming down the hall, unhurried. She looked over her shoulder to watch. Students shifted in their seats, Lord Parli started introducing himself to the lady beside him. Someone shushed Parli as the professor walked in, a bundle of folders under one arm, ink stains on fingers and across one cheek.

Parli, indignant, “Don’t shush me.”

Professor Vrith stopped, turned to look at Lord Parli, she adjusted her glasses and took a moment to frown at the young lord. Her brow furrowed and lips pursed. Whatever she might have said she kept to herself then proceed down to the podium. She saw Tipper and smiled, then held up the folders she carried.

In a clear, pleasant voice the professor said, “Eleven.” She looked the class over and slapped the stack of folders down on the podium.

“Eleven people did the assignment properly. Twelve of you did not even submit a thing. The rest of you do not seem able to follow basic instructions.”

A few of the students grumbled protests or voices excuses.

Professor Vrith paused to look the class over. The students settled to an abashed silence. After a moment she continued, “As you know, this class is mandatory for the more advanced studies in thaumatology. Those of you with a talent for magic will have to graduate this class if you wish to continue your studies. The Arcanium places high standards on the mages of GreensBridge, this is for your benefit. A foundation in basic arcane knowledge as well as your moral obligation to your society is required. Not optional.”

Then the professor walked around the class, she distributed the eleven folders to the students who had done the assignment correctly, Tipper was the last to receive her report. Professor Vrith asked, “Do you have the artifacts you reference?”

Tipper gave her a warm smile, “I do.”

“Good, before you leave class make an appointment with me. I’d like to see what you have and hear the story of how you acquired them.” She returned to the podium.

The students fell silent again as the professor looked them over. “Anyone who did not receive a folder should quietly gather your belongings and go work on the assignment. I do not want to see you in my lectures until you have it completed. Anyone who needs help may drop by my office early in the mornings before classes start.”

The majority of the students filed out of the room, there was some grumbling from some of them and at least one girl was crying. Professor Vrith waited patiently until the last of them had departed. She smiled at the few remaining people, “Well, shall we get on with things? We will review the first three chapters of the Ellodran Primer.”


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