8 ♦ Aleria

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Lab Eleven's Vision

Hahn is visiting Seth.

He's asked I take over the quantascript for a bit.

But I'm going to make a note about all these... notes to you. I'll see if, once I pass this document to the next writer—it's busy here in the Wizardhood right now, so we'll have to keep passing this quantascript to different writers—we can focus more on the Melody-Harmony Engine, and less on you.

Surely it must be bothering you, when we address you in the middle of the moment.

While Seth might've intended for this quantascript to join us together, I don't think that's what Lab Eleven was envisioning when they asked her to write this document.


Seven Schools of Magic;
Seven Streets of the Wizardhood

I know Daffodil promised you'd spend time with the head of the Wizardhood; but like Hahn, I'm also an official. Also, he promised he'd add more at a later date. And he's good on his promises.

I'm keeping Hahn's recording settings intact, although my nano floats at an upper right angle, since I'm left-handed.

Just as Hahn oversees First Street, I oversee Seventh Street. So in terms of distance, we could not be further apart; yet if you're concerned about station, rank, know-how—I'd say we're relatively similar on the spectrum of magicians crawling around this place.

Hahn's just a wee higher in clearance than I am.

I don't want his clearance level, either; I'm convinced it's part of why he's inside all day, with his graphene paperwork, his prisms and holograms, where I prefer stepping outside to address the Violet School face-to-face quite, to interact in-the-flesh, as I am doing now.


Choosing Ceremony,
Violet Mages

So I step onto this behemothic tree trunk—it takes a whole staircase to ascend to the purple-LED-studded platform—then scan the audience.

I guess two dozen, maybe thirty people showed; not as much as I'd hoped to see. Yet the world hardly ever delivers what I'm hoping to find. It's okay. I've learned to live with the disappointment of high expectations.

A waft of barbecued fruit and corn, the first signs of celebration, carries up on the wind from students who decided not to attend the Choosing Ceremony, who wanted to get on with the annual festivities early.

Each rise and fall of the breeze, I salivate. Sweet red corn. Honey glaze. Crunchy char. Sometimes I wish, like my sister, I could be among the many, instead of elevated into the select few.

I relax my shoulders and straighten my spine. I've learned how to do this on command; I know how to tell myself to loosen my body, even when there's a maelstrom in my mind. It's a useful skill. It may be the only skill that got me this far.

Atop the stage, I take in the fluorescent, crochet shawls of my fellow Violet Mages, a smear of rainbow paint awash in a sea of men, women, and elochildren. Their expressions are reduced by the distance between us, so I can only read the most basic emotions: happy; upset; bored. The masquerade of neon shoulders and thinned faces, held in the pine-needled, needle-shadowed backdrop of Lone Wood, eases my soul. These are my people.

Emergence No. 7Where stories live. Discover now