Nov 21, 2019 5:22 AM
S&S&S and Valkyries in Element!verse
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Is any of the historical fiction accessible to an advanced six-year-old?

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Rose pats Hugh on the back.

"It's okay. You'll get up there next time!"

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The screen can sort by reading level! It asks her a couple of questions and then offers up a row of covers. "Catherine, called Birdy;" "Mara, daughter of the Nile;" "Cowgirl in Pigtails;" "Sarah, Plain and Tall;" "Little House in the Big Woods;" "Addy, the American Girl."

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Hugh is less than comforted.

He tries shimmying up the tree trunk vertically. This works about as well as anything else has been.

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Sapphire gets distracted from climbing by a nearby tree stump. She traces the rings with one finger, watching the history of the dead tree.

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Miranda picks the American Girl book!

She is soon distressed about the fact that slavery was ever a thing.

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Rose laughs and tries to follow Hugh.

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Sara leans on the branch she's sitting on so that it bends towards Jocasta.

"Watcha doin?" she says.

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"The rings show you how old it is! And if you look reeeeeeally carefully you can see stuff that happened near the tree a long time ago. It's cool!"

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"Ooooooooooh," says Sara. She leans forward and...falls out of the tree.

"I wish I could fly," she grouses, picking herself up and sitting at the edge of the tree stump. She traces the rings with her fingers and soon is able to see the things Sapphire sees!

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Time flies when you're having fun!

Well, no. Their internal clocks will firmly inform them that it passes at exactly the usual rate. But there's certainly not as much exploring time as they might wish before it's time to go home.

The next day, Aether drops them off at the usual spot and reminds them to go to the classroom for lessons.

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So that is what they do!

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Wolfram, a muscular man with a ridiculous amount of hair, will be their teacher. He introduces himself, shows them the cubbies on the portico where they can keep personal effects and books and such if they care to, and seats himself in one of the scattered chairs.

"Today we're going to learn some basic exercises for sensing and manipulating Time. We'll move on to trickier versions later, but if you get bored by any of them now, let me know, and I'll give you a more advanced version." (He sounds quite sure that the only possible reason anyone would be bored by schoolwork is if it's too easy.)

The first exercise involves bowls full of identical ball bearings. They're to be sorted into empty bowls according to age. "You should all be able to do this," Wolfram says. "I'm looking for speed. Everyone got a bowl? Great. Ready...go."

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This sounds like a competition. Sara is going to win!

"I'm gonna beat you," she sings at her sisters, neither of whom particularly care.

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"Nuh uh! I'm going to beat everyone," Clement announces.

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"I'm trying to concentrate," Hugh complains, sticking a handful of the balls into his mouth. "Yrmph mrpgh hmmff fmp cmmpfemfft!"

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"That's not what you're supposed to do with the balls," says Miranda.

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Sara smiles at Clement and proceeds to go very very fast.

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Hugh spits the balls into his hand, sorts them into two bowls, and then sticks his tongue out at Miranda before cramming another handful in.

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Clement also goes fast! Unfortunately in the process of doing so he knocks over his bowl and has to go scrambling after the balls.

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Wolfram calls a halt once everyone has their balls sorted, and writes their times up on a chalkboard. "Nice speed," he tells Sara. "Miranda, Jocasta, you're sorting accurately but you can go faster than you're doing now. Hugh, you've ... clearly got a method, but it's a crutch, you need to work on phasing it out. Clement, Rose, keep practicing, stay focused on the exercise."

The next exercise involves an inflated leather ball. "The person throwing names a number from one to fifty," Wolfram explains, "and the person who catches it says something that happened to the ball during that year. Didymium brought it for us from the year fifty-five, so don't be surprised when you touch it, it's very old."

Tossing it gently in Sara's direction, Wolfram adds, "Twelve!"

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"Um um um there was a sunny day so the ball got hot!" she says, then tosses to Jocasta, less gently. "Five!"

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Jocasta oofs and has to take a step backwards, but she catches the ball. "...boys tossing it high so a girl can't reach, that's mean," she frowns, and pitches it somewhat off-target in Rose's direction. "Nine!"

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"It got dropped in the middle of a street and a horse stepped on it and it was a rainy day so it got squished in the water but then it got picked up again TEN!" she says, tossing it to Hugh.

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Hugh has no problem catching the ball, but it takes him a minute to come up with something to say. "Someone played ball with it," he settles on, uninventively, and flings it quite hard at Miranda.

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