“No, no, no…ha ha! No, I’m completely serious. He now has goat ears, and while he is trying to find a counterspell, he has been wearing those ridiculous hats!”

The Masters burst out into laughter. Lady Mist always knew the best stories to tell to make these weekly meetings more bearable. The Hoppi mage bounced on her feet, helping her tale along. Poor Mister Book was rolling on the floor, feathers aflutter in his humor.

“Ah, me.” Lady Mist sat down. “I could have told him something. But you know some minotaurs just need to take life by the horns.”

Lady Rune looked through her notes for the meeting, and coughed. Mist nodded, and sat down. The room remained relaxed, but ready to take in the weekly meeting.

The Masters needed this get-together. It was the best way for everyone to share their evaluations of the apprentices and their struggles. New strategies were discussed, books that might be better or a more physical test for a promising student.

Rune wasn’t in charge. She just pushed everything along so she could get back to her own work.

She looked through her notes again, and nodded. “I have several apprentices that need to spend some more night classes crafting under the next full moon before I’m confident in their abilities. Mister Moon, can you spare them from astrology?”

Mister Moon blinked, and looked at the list. It was rather early for the wolf. He nodded, and padded away for a nap. He had nothing to contribute that was worth more than a nap.

Lady Hilt looked at some of the other Masters. “I’m also going to remind some of you…Book, Rune, Oak, Path, that I need more time to find our best candidates for the Crystal Tournament. Stop throwing projects at the students. If they’re too exhausted to train, they are worthless in two years.”

A few of the Masters bristled at the words. Hilt stared at each of them in turn, daring a response.

Path finally laughed, and shrugged. “I have a few apprentices that ran off in search of buried treasure. So I’m sorry, but the Season Leaves won’t be present to be beaten by our resident…swordmaster.”

Hilt nodded, and sighed. Happened every year. Someone poked through the archives, and seemingly found the secret to eternal life and great power. Then it was off into the wilderness to expand their minds better than those silly Masters ever could.

Still, Goldmight’s little group was capable, after a fashion. And the Masters generally turned a blind eye to the whimsical trips. They usually were learning experiences, and a fashion that all the Masters agreed could not be learned in the classroom.

Mister Book looked at Path. “And what is the great relic they are searching for?”

Path shrugged. “Suffrn, the Caged.”

The Masters shrugged. Book and Hilt, however, paled. “They are going to the Glass Cliffs to find that maniac’s work?”

“What of it?”

Hilt stood up, and started to leave. “I hope you aren’t as slow in giving information as you are incompetent, Path. I will be gone for a week or two, take care of my classes.”

“The Archiwrecks are reported to be in the area, you idiot.” Hilt growled. “And if they hear of Circle apprentices tracking lost magic, they’ll kill them.”

Path glowered. He sneered, and burst out laughing. “Have fun with your little pet project, then.”

He waved his hand at the departing Master. “Bin Tract is also with them.”

Rune cursed at Path as Hilt left. Damn him. And damn Bin.

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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