Chapter 19: Well Supplied

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Tuvos, Day 8 of Melia, Eclipse of Thyxia, Year 602

"The use of thulite, either ground and mixed into a potion or worn on the person, can promote self-love and boost confidence. Except for me. None of this trench fodder ever works for me." —From the private journals of Farax Lucean, Master Alchemist at Craestor University from 600 to 604

* * *

Evin rolled over onto her side and peered out the window of her second story room.

It was getting late, and the Red Dove was quiet on weekdays, she was learning.

The newness of her quarters was beginning to fade somewhat and her bed linens were beginning to smell like her—whatever that meant, she thought, snorting to herself. A cart was making its leisurely way down the street on the cobbles below, emanating a muffled clacking noise that barely reached her.

She sighed and fell back against her pillow. Then she turned to look over at the bureau, where rested the packet of papers she'd received during her visit to Craestor University.

After she and Tadyath had returned earlier that day, she'd been exhausted. Still, she'd managed to open the sheaf of documents and peer through them out of sheer curiosity. She'd then quickly abandoned this endeavour—half of the terms were utterly foreign to her!

The others had been helpful, telling her she had time to study, and that the university officials surely didn't expect her to know everything on the aptitude test.

But Evin was concerned.

She gave a stretch and rose, grateful for quiet and afternoon naps. Divines, but that was a strange idea back home in Liminey—tradesmen never took naps in the middle of the day!

It was just another illustration of how quickly her life was changing. She could feel it, could watch it morph and shape itself into something new almost before her eyes.

Slipping stockinged feet from the bed lithely down onto the hardwood floor, Evin approached the bureau and picked up the stack of parchment. Chancellor Colin had told her and her temporary guardian Tadyath that she had three days to complete the aptitude test, after which a runner would be by to pick it up from the inn. Then the board would evaluate Evin's answers and determine if she was ready—worthy, really—to attend school at Craestor.

The front of the sheaf read Aptitude Test No. 7 in a scrawling, hasty hand. Making up copies for potential students must take forever, Evin thought. She wondered, not for the first time, about all of the hours and work that went into running a university. She'd only seen a few random students and a couple of teachers scattered throughout the grounds during her brief visit.

And then there was the chancellor, Grandmaster Combatant Colin Slager. Because she'd happened to tour the school on a quiet day, she almost thought of Slager and the university as one and the same entity. Which was ridiculous. Although, she reckoned, he probably has more work allotted to him than is fair. I bet they all do.

Wondering if the testing materials would seem any less foreign on this peek, Evin opened the cover again and re-read the preliminary matter.

What follows is the 7th iteration of the aptitude test for admission to Craestor University.

Questions shall be multiple choice, short answer, and essay-styled, and should take a prospective student no more than sixty bells from the moment it is conveyed to them. This is not to say that the test need be completed contiguously. Breaks are both expected and permitted.

It is understood by both faculty and prospective students that the aptitude test may be taken with any and all supplemental study materials the student may possibly wish for. The nature of the test is such that there is not enough time for a prospective student to confirm each and every answer from an outside source. It is assumed that some general knowledge will already be in place.

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