FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 2 Part 2b

FreeHolds Adventure, Cycle 2 Part 2b

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Tipper’s meeting with the professor had gone well. The remaining artifacts she had kept from Kaymere did not really amount to much, or so she had thought. Bowl, fork, spoon, a half dozen needles and a small belt knife had all been fairly mundane, other than the fact they had been made with essential metal and would likely still be of use for many generations. Of particular note, had been a large ring she had taken to loop some of her belongings together and a small hinged box she had been using to keep her sewing kit in. Both these were made of the same magically created metal as the other artifacts, but, according to Professor Vrith, they were also enchanted.

When Tipper had asked her what sort of enchantments they had, Vrith had laughed and said it would take some time to figure that out. As an archivist for the Arcanium one of her main jobs was to analyze such artifacts and determine if any of the enchantments were dangerous. Tipper also learned that it was illegal to be in possession of unregistered magical artifacts in GreensBridge. She had readily agreed that she would be happy to turn over both the enchanted artifacts until such time as they could be seen to. Professor Vrith had even promised to make the two artifacts a priority and return them to Tipper as soon as she was able.

Academically, the artifacts were useful in verifying her basic theory that the enchanter had in fact been at Kaymere, as both the box and the ring were marked by the mage. Professor Vrith had suggested however, that the other items were likely the work of apprentices given their mundane nature.

She had then inquired as to Tipper’s interest in Kaymere and also what other interesting things she had encountered in her travels. Tipper had been happy to take the one on one time with her and told her a bit about some of the places she had travelled to. As to her real motivation for being in GreensBridge, she kept that to herself. It was really a family issue, something that would be solved by the Darners.

Tipper learned that Professor Vrith had a keen interest in the Eldra, or ellodran, as they were more properly called and had in fact done extensive research on the ancient race. By local standards she was considered the foremost expert on the subject, including the half-human servants of the ellodran, or Rovers. Tipper was very interested in this subject and though she feigned a less intent interest than was the case she still made a few casual inquiries, thus able to get an extensive reading list, including the three papers the professor had written over the last decade.

Interestingly, she had deduced by inference, that Professor Vrith was somewhere between thirty and forty, though she did not look to be much older than twenty. So, some artifact or mage, possibly herself, was keeping Vrith’s appearance younger than her actual age. Tipper supposed it was possible she may also be of the Eldra blood, but given the lack of any such claims by the professor she would not assume that was the case.

After the meeting Tipper had attended classes and later in the day taken some time to train in the yard by the Arcanium. Though the yard was marked as being one of the university’s communal training areas it was primarily used by the Arcanium’s militant order, the Warders. These people were mages who used magic and force of arms to protect GreensBridge from the unlawful use of magic and to enforce the city’s laws regarding magical devices within the city. She had seen a few of them training periodically over the last couple of months. Tipper had to admit that they were disciplined and well trained. That afternoon she was able to watch a small cadre of senior Warders training with a much larger group of younger members.

One of the older Warders, who had introduced himself to Tipper a couple of eight-days ago, Argis Greenman, was overseeing the training. While Tipper had become interested in the training of the Warders, it seemed as though Argis had also taken note of Tipper’s regular use of the yard and her own training regime. More than once that afternoon Tipper had noticed him surreptitiously keeping an eye on her. At one point he became aware of her noticing him and had smiled and given a nod, though he returned to overseeing his students. The exchange had left her wondering what the local laws were regarding the half-blooded, though in actuality she was likely less than an eighth ellodran. She would look into it, the next time she was at the library.

Today, being the forth day, Tipper had no classes, typically she studied and trained on her two off days. Sometimes she would meet up with Adwin, typically once an eight-day. The two of them had agreed to meet early at Friendly Brothers Bakery, though, Adwin had sent a message saying he would instead meet with her at Dohpoora Courtyard. He had been excited about a story-teller and the city’s heart-tree. Then another message came and he suggested that they had best wait until the end of the eight-day before meeting up. There had been no explanation and unlike his other notes that last one had been hastily scrawled in a messy hand, barely recognizable as Adwin’s writing.

Adwin had sent a fair number of messages since they had arrived in GreensBridge, he seemed fascinated that he could hire a runner to deliver a message anywhere in the city. He was even more amazed that hundreds, if not thousands of people were employed as scribes and message runners. He had once spent one of their visits trying to figure out how much paper, velum, parchment and other such materials were used in a given day. How it was produced and where the materials came from for its production. After a few hours his curiosity fizzled out as he started taking ink, quills and stylists into consideration. By the next visit he had learned that there was a thriving market in used and recycled paper and cheep ink was commonly available throughout the city.

Tipper was a bit relieved not to have to go traipsing through the city today. Although she was curious about the heart-tree her two companions had claimed to have seen, she was not comfortable in the crowded streets. The problem with crowds was you could never keep an eye on all possible threats, funnelling those numbers of people through narrow streets only made it worse for her. Thankfully she had little reason to leave the university campus.

She decided to take her course materials to the library, in addition to getting some extra study time she was going to get a jump on the next paper for the Fundamentals of Thaumatology class. She was hoping to find enough written proof to link the disappearance of the Rovers with the Queen’s Bane. It was something that her family took for granted, but no one locally had seemed to connect the two, despite the fact that contact with the Rovers ended within a decade of the Bane. While the Queen of Maldorn had been intent on destroying the drake threat, the spell she had unleashed from the Book of Hod had attacked all magical things, not just the dragons. She suspected such a paper would attract her professor’s curiosity and lead to more candour between them.

Though she intended to go through with her seduction of the woman and gain access to the Arcanium, she was actually becoming fond of her. She was starting to wonder if a more open approach might not work as well or better. Her professor certainly seemed to have a keen interest in all things Eldra, she seemed more inclined to academics rather than the loftier goals of the Arcanium. Tipper was also sure that the woman had an interest or at least curiosity about her that would only be amplified should Tipper reveal the truth. Or, the truth about the Darner family being descendants of the half-blooded, the Rovers. The other family truths would have to wait. Some secrets were best kept within the family.

The campus was fairly quiet, a light wind from the north had brought heavy clouds and snow flurries, most of the students tended to huddle inside to avoid what they deemed to be bad weather. A few students moved along slushy walkways and Tipper noticed a few of the Warders at the training yard. She did not find the weather unpleasant and certainly she never would have considered such conditions as bad. Given the fact she had been raised in the wilderness such an outlook made sense. Most of her fellow students had been raised within the city, typically living in very sheltered conditions. Although she found many of her fellow students to be soft and timid, she was acutely aware that none of them seemed to freeze up or be overwhelmed by large crowds of people.

What makes someone soft or enduring depended on how and where they were raised and the conditions they became familiar with.


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