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2.

Each sorcery team has a necromancer as a leader. Necromancer sounds mean, and I used to think it meant a really bad wizard, but it’s just what we call someone whose top spell is four words long. Well, survive the war and I’m a sorceress (three words), and the next thing I set my highly ambitious sights on is necromancer.

As it turns out, the School only has the one sorcery team. And as it turns out, our necromancer is a dude named Egmont of Louderhill. He’s a member of the Middle Way House, and he’s a sort of grad student at the School; he’s a teaching assistant in Magic Defense, which I get to take in Spring Semester. I’ll probably have him. He seems nice, though he flirts awkwardly with Lucette.

For the rest of us—four sorcerers and sorceresses, including Glee, and me and Lucette and Gregorio, who has the same mission for Sorcerer as we do—Egmont’s instructions are to practice, practice, practice. He’s not what I call a natural leader—he’s terrible at handling questions, he’s always thinking he’s being second guessed when all we’re doing is asking him to clarify, and he has no concept of how we should practice.

Meanwhile the orc armies mass in the hills and begin moving down to camp in the eastern and southern reaches of the County. Count Dagobert orders the best five companies of the Guards down the road toward Valen to raid the vanguard of the orcs. And we get to go along.

I’d like to talk about the strategic situation and how the tactical plans of each side play out, but I have no idea. It’s freaking cold, that much is clear, and no matter how many coats and socks you have on, there’s always some part of your body that’s frozen. In my case, it’s my nose, my left ear and my right little toe. It could have been worse. Lucette is apparently going through hell: she’s not a horse person, and yeah, we have to ride to keep up.

We don’t see any actual combat ourselves this time. The infantry does, off there in the darkness. They have a few casualties, they kill some orcs, but it’s all very dark and mysterious and then we’re riding back, in no hurry, to Insmoor. There are eight of us on the team, and the same eight of us come back who went out.

Gregorio wants to hit the bars with us, but neither I nor Lucette has any interest.

The next day I find out that Lali, Padric and Gurth had all been on the raid, and all saw some action, although “saw” is probably too strong. None of them is wounded, though Padric managed to sprain his ankle. They swing by the shop to fill me in on all the stuff they don’t know, about what happened last night and what’s going to happen.

“We should do another double date,” says Padric. This seems like a great idea to Lali and, I guess, Gurth. I can’t see a way to get out of it.

So there we are at the Mouse, having some pub grub and getting up the courage to dance, and over the music, somehow, Gurth and Lali manage to argue. It’s not a fair contest: she’s a lot better at it than him, even defending a weak tactical position: she feels that she’s “more faithful to him than she’s ever been to anyone else,” which to him sounds like not very faithful at all, and I and Padric (apparently) tend to agree with him. But Gurth being Gurth, and Gurth still wanting Lali to be more than his current lover, I suppose, Gurth can’t bring himself to fight very hard for his superior position.

So I’m sitting there watching him be miserable, and this doesn’t make me any more romantic, and then stupid Gregorio decides to try and pick me up, and this leads to a disturbing little scene with Padric, who wants to beat Greggy up but is also suspicious and thrown off balance by the Lali Gurth Situation. It’s so complicated.

So I drag Padric to the door and announce that I Want To Go Home. He takes me home. And there, at the shop, oddly, Fenric and Jan and Zelin are waiting at the counter for me with a bottle of wine. Padric declines their invitation in (to my place) and kisses me good night (awkwardly). He almost says he loves me. I basically say, “Bye.”

I shut the door and lock it. They take me up to my room and shut that door and lock it. They sit me down on the floor. Zelin looks me in the eye and asks, “Daisy, what did you see? What did you see in Thyrssa’s cave?”

 

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