Nilien smiled uncertainly at Professor Vaudelle. “Actually, Professor, speaking of that…”

“Yes, dear? I imagine Hestinger didn’t bring you all the way down here to pick out a treatise to read, at least not this early in your studies, did he? And it’s unlikely he’s testing your ability to not get lost in this place; he’s not the sort to do that.”

“He pointed out landmarks…” Professor Vaudelle’s logic was leaving Nilien a little lost. “So I don’t think he was trying to get me lost. No, he said you might be able to help with something about magic sight.”

“Well, I am quite good at it.” She smiled as if that was nothing surprising. “So Hestinger has you working on magic sight already? You must be moving along quite well. It’s quite a useful magic, you know.”

“Ah, well.” Nilien ducked her head. “It was an accident. I was trying to find the black pebble in a bowl full of white ones…”

“Oh, yes. That’s a good exercise. And you accidentally saw magic signatures instead? Very nice. Magic sight will get you very far in life and while having it show up so early doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be talented, we can hope, now, can’t we? So you could see your runic Mark, and Hestiger’s, then…?” she prompted.

“And Ember and Professor Hestinger’s familiars were glowing, too.” She petted Ember between the ears. The fox, in turn, seemed bored, looking off at the corner of the room and not commenting. “And, ah. There was a faint mark on my back.” She gestured uncertainly around the chair, trying to point at the right place on her spine.

“On your back, hrrm? Interesting. Candle-hopper?”

From a basket Nilien had thought contained more papers, a forest-green rooster head emerged. It blinked sleepily at the room and then hopped down, fluffing its wings.

“Very good, very good. Now, let’s see.” She pushed her glasses up her nose while the rooster walked a circle around Nilien’s chair. “Ah, there we go. Interesting.” She got up from her chair and followed Candle-hopper in a circle around the chair.

“I thought that signatures didn’t mind obstruction?” Nilien put forth the question cautiously.

“They don’t, they don’t. I can see it from over in my chair, but I cannot squint at it very well from over there. Ah.” She chuckled and straightened up, standing directly behind Nilien. “That’s interesting.”

“What is it?” Nilien squirmed and twisted to try to look the professor in the face, nearly dropping Ember out of her lap.

Careful! Ember complained before putting its head back down.

“It’s likely nothing to worry about. It’s a tracking mark, that’s all, so that the person who placed it can find you. Useful if you get lost a lot.”

2 thoughts on “4.2

  1. OK, I like her. Except for her nonchalance about SOMEONE TRYING TO TRACK NILIEN.

    I want to hope it’s Lorque, but surely Lorque would have told her! Maybe it’s that slightly creepy guy who showed her the garden.

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