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Oct 31, 2020 3:48 PM
Abras Ashkevron at the start of the book 3 timeline (A Song for Two Voices)
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He has to shut his eyes for a moment and push away the too-vivid memories of cuddling Tylendel on that sofa. Surely it's full of at least as many memories for Savil as it is for him, he thinks, and she can bear it.

Eventually he remembers the question he came here to ask. "Hi. Do you know where I should go tomorrow, for lessons? Or who to see about setting those up?"

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"Hmm. I think that'll take longer than a day to get settled, honestly. But why don't we sit down and talk about it tomorrow morning? And, I'd wanted to talk through with you what's on the standard Heraldic graduation tests, because I think you're prepared to pass all of them with flying colours." 

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"Yeah, Yfandes mentioned that. If you think I should take them soon I will, and knowing as much as I'm allowed to beforehand would be nice."

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Savil lightly smacks his shoulder. "I'd tell you not to be nervous but it won't work. Didn't work on me either. Anyway - care to join me for supper, or would you rather have some time to yourself tonight? I know it's been a while since you really had any privacy." 

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"I think I'd prefer distraction to privacy tonight, if you're up for company."

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"I'd be delighted to have you." She reaches out, rests a hand on his shoulder. "It's...not easy, for me either. Being back. I didn't expect it to hit me this hard." 

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He is so not qualified to be comforting here, but who is? "You cared about him a lot." It's such a meaningless, pointless thing to say, but it's at least true.

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"Oh, ke'chara." She pulls him into a one-armed hug. "It's not - I'm sorry to make you comfort me. But I appreciate it. And I'm so, so glad you're here. Anyway, I'm not feeling up to the dining hall tonight, so why don't we call for some supper and talk about other things?"

She steers him over to the little dining table, visibly casting about for a change of topic. "Did you see the new Healers' wing when we passed it? I heard they got fourteen new trainees this year, isn't that incredible..." 

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Topic changes are great. New Healers will be good in the long run even if it's a lot of training work now, he wonders how Shavri's doing, etc.

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"I hear Shavri's a brilliant student. Already trying her hand at original Healing research, and she's only been there a year." Savil smirks. "You'd get along, I think. Maybe you ought to invite her for tea sometime, Mardic says she loves to talk about her studies and can go all day." 

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"I should, yeah. Healing research sounds interesting."

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Savil agrees! She doesn't know all that much about it, but can talk about what she's heard, and then move on to other magical theory, until supper has arrived and been eaten and it's a reasonable time to retire to bed, with Savil's assurances that Abras can head back over whenever he's awake in the morning so they can breakfast together and talk about test content. 

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He says goodnight and heads back to his own room. His bed is admittedly more comfortable than many of the places they've camped on the road, and quieter, but the quiet is actually disconcerting. He remembers slowly getting used to sharing a bed with Tylendel, learning to expect to wake up in his arms, and falls asleep in the heart of Haven feeling more alone than he did on the road.

It takes him long enough that he sleeps a bit later than usual, so he knocks on Savil's door figuring she's already awake.

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:Come in, ke'chara. Door's unlocked: Savil is curled up in her overstuffed armchair, sipping tea, a book open on her lap that she isn't looking at. 

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Abras comes in, takes another chair. "Good morning. So, um, is now a good time to talk about the graduation tests?" He's more nervous now than he will be when the tests are actually happening, and he knows this, and yet he cannot stop.

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"Of course, if you're up for that! So, roughly, the tests will be split into a demonstration of magic and other Gifts, and questions about law and governance. For the former, they'll ask you to..."

Savil lists out a repertoire of spells, both defensive and offensive. All of them are, by the standards of Starwind and k'Treva Vale, extremely basic. A dozen types of shield, all of which Abras covered in his first three months. Defensive wards. Control of fire and lightning, some trap-spells. Some basic magical techniques for building and maintenance, like the one for making a paved road-surface out of dirt and gravel. 

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Abras feels a burst of appreciation for Starwind. "It sounds like Starwind did a really thorough job of going over everything I'm going to need, which isn't surprising. I hope I get to do some of the building and maintenance stuff for real at some point." There wasn't much call for it in K'Treva, but being able to walk down a road he had made with his own magic would be good.

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"Oh, I'm certain you will." 

Savil runs through the other curriculum next, quizzing him on various aspects of Heraldic responsibilities, both on the road and in Haven, and then presenting him with an especially gnarly example of a legal dispute over livestock grazing that a Herald on circuit might run into, and asks what he would do. 

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Abras describes the additional information he would gather, and what he would do if that information turned out each of a couple different ways, and what the likely failure modes are and what he would do to try to avoid them. 

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Savil's face doesn't give away much, but at the end she smiles brightly. "That's an excellent answer. Abras, think that you're extremely prepared for these tests. No surprise, really, you're a diligent student." 

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"Thanks. I just hope it holds up in the real world."

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"The real world is harder. But I think you'll manage just fine. Anyway, should I pass on to Lancir to schedule you for the tests?" 

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Gulp. "Yeah, go ahead."

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"I've asked Kellan to relay it." She reaches out to hug him again. "Abras, I'm really proud of you. Anyway, care to accompany me on a ride this morning? I'm trying to take advantage of having some free time before they load me up with duties again." 

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"Sure, I haven't been loaded up with anything yet either." Though at some point he does want to go to the library, and find Shavri, and practice Farseeing with a map because right now it takes him ages, but he has all afternoon to start any of those.

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