Snippet–Mirror Image (Schooled In Magic 18)

8 Jul

Prologue

“And now we have exhausted all the trivial matters we wished to discuss,” the Chairman said, “we should turn our attention to the news from Heart’s Eye.”

Grandmaster Gordian of Whitehall let out a sigh as the table came to attention, the attendees straightening up as it dawned on them that the committee was finally going to move on to something important. The Educational Committee rarely had anything useful to do, beyond reaffirming the status quo. The really important decisions were discussed in the backchambers, compromises hashed out and deals struck before the final decision was presented to the White Council as a fait accompli. Gordian himself had been tempted to decline the invitation to the council, even though he was supposed to have a permanent seat at the table. It was ironic that the person who had finally given the council something useful to do was the same girl who had been the bane of his existence, during his first two years as Grandmaster.

Not a girl, not any longer, he reminded himself. She’s a young woman.

“Ten years ago, Heart’s Eye was invaded by Dua Kepala, a necromancer,” the Chairman said, as if no one in the room was familiar with the story. “He held Heart’s Eye as his own personal fortress until Lady Emily killed him and reignited the nexus point, claiming Heart’s Eye for herself. By both law and custom, we could not take the building from her. Attempts were made to convince her to gift the school to its former owners, but they were unsuccessful.”

“Naturally,” Professor Aguirre muttered, brushing his brown hair out of his face. He was a dumpy man who wanted to be more than he was, but never would be. Everyone knew he’d be a disaster, if he were trusted with any position of responsibly. “Who would surrender something so valuable?”

Gordian nodded, tightly. Heart’s Eye was literally priceless. The school alone was worth more than anyone, even the White Council, could reasonably pay and the nexus point … no one in their right mind would give it up, not for anything. A source of near-infinite power was beyond price, even if the owner could barely tap into its limited potential. And, given what Gordian knew of Emily’s activities, it was quite likely that she could tap into its potential. Why would she give it up? He found it hard to imagine anyone wanting to give it up.

“It has since become clear that Lady Emily and her supporters intend to open a university” – the Chairman stumbled over the unfamiliar word – “which will encourage the study of both magic and something she calls science, the source of the New Learning. Heart’s Eye will become the home of this … establishment. The Old Boys League has apparently accepted her decision and has offered her their assistance, in exchange for a presence at the school …”

Professor Aguirre held up a hand. “They’ve conceded defeat?”

“They’ve conceded that a presence at the school is better than nothing,” Gordian said. It was against tradition, but … what choice did they have? Heart’s Eye had been ruined and the surrounding region devastated. Even if the Old Boys League had been gifted the school without any quibbling over the price, they might have found it impossible to restore the school to its former glory. “And who can blame them?”

“I can.” Professor Aguirre glared around the table. “I read the statement, the call to pens and parchment. They’re flying in the face of tradition by denying apprenticeships and …”

Gordian kept his face impassive as an argument broke out. Professor Aguirre had a point. Traditionally, students who wanted to gain their masteries apprenticed themselves to masters, serving them in exchange for a formal education. It made a great deal of sense, particularly in the more dangerous fields of magic. An apprentice could be given the kind of one-on-one education that was simply impossible in a school, where each teacher might be responsible for multiple students. It also made it easier to screen out students who couldn’t be trusted with such magics, although Gordian knew it was far from infallible. Despite everything, too many secrets were outside the White Council’s control.

And yet, it also limits the number of trained masters, he reminded himself. There might be something to be said for expanding the apprenticeship program …

He dragged his attention back to the table as the Chairman banged for order. “She is young,” the Chairman said. “But she is in possession of the school.”

“And possession is nine-tenths of the law,” Gordian reminded them. “She cannot be dislodged by force.”

That didn’t go down well. Another argument broke out. Gordian sat back and waited, trying to determined who thought what. It was difficult to tell. Gordian had no doubt the White Council would rule against Emily, if pushed. He also had no doubt that the council would find it impossible to enforce its ruling. Emily had a nexus point and enough knowledge to use it. His brow furrowed as a thought struck him. He, perhaps, was the only councillor who knew just how formidable Emily could be, with a nexus point under her control. Everyone else would assume – and they’d be quite right, bearing in mind what they knew – that it would take her time to master the power. And they would be wrong. Devastatingly wrong.

And the law is clear, he thought, grimly. Anything taken in honest combat becomes the property of the victory.

He felt his frown deepen as the argument raged on. Taking the former school by force was simply not an option. Lady Emily might not realise it, but she had more allies than she knew – and people who would back her because an attempt to seize the school would also fly in the face of tradition. The Gods alone knew how many fortunes had been built on something taken in combat. They would all be at risk if the White Council set a terrifying precedent by seizing Heart’s Eye.

The dispute grew darker. Magic flickered through the air. Gordian braced himself, wondering who would cast the first hex. Too many councillors had too much wrapped up in the affair for it to end lightly, from the councillor who’d studied at Heart’s Eye to the councillor whose distant grandfather had won his fortune in a series of carefully-planned duels. Power started to build, a couple of magicians muttering spells to carve protective wards. Things were slipping out of control …

“I think we have to admit something, right from the start,” he said, as if he were addressing a bunch of rowdy students. He rather felt that his students would be better behaved. “Lady Emily has possession of the school. And there is no way to take it from her, not legally.”

“Not legally,” Professor Aguirre repeated.

“And if we try and fail to take the school illegally,” Gordian asked, “where does that leave us?”

“She’s lost her powers,” Professor Aguirre snapped. “She may not even be able to get into the school.”

“Rumour claimed she lost her powers,” the Chairman said. “However, there are over a hundred eyewitness accounts of her defending herself against an assassination attempt at the Faire. I doubt she could have fooled everyone into believing she still had her powers, if she’d really lost them. The reports made it clear that she used a whole string of spells …”

“They could have been faked,” Professor Aguirre insisted.

Gordian snorted. “And the only way to fake such spells would require the magic to cast such spells,” he said, dryly. “It seemed a little pointless, doesn’t it? Why would she bother?”

He went on before Professor Aguirre could think of another objection. He’d read the reports very carefully, from the first suggestions that Emily might have lost her powers to the final eyewitness accounts. The former were vague, crammed with innuendo and loaded with wishful thinking; the latter were cold, precise, and attested by some of the most respected magicians in the community. Gordian doubted they could all be fooled – and there was no way they could be fooled without magic. Emily might as well pretend to be alive.

“Furthermore, we have what seems like a workable compromise. Emily will build her university. It will, inevitably, take on the characteristics of a school. She will discover, as many have before her, that it will be difficult to train masters without one-to-one tuition. She may lay the groundwork for their education, but she will be unable to complete it. Her students will seek out masters so they can finish their training. And, in the meantime, the New Learning will continue to spread.”

Professor Aguirre huffed. “Is that a good thing?”

“Yes.” Gordian disliked Emily – he admitted as much, at least to himself – but he had to admit that she’d done a lot of good. Who would have thought that something as simple as phonic writing could change the world beyond recognition? The Old Guard might sniff at any change, but Gordian … he was prepared to embrace anything that would make his life easier. “The New Learning has already done wonders for us.”

Professor Yael – a tall woman with more interest in theory than actual magic – leaned forward. “We still don’t know what actually happened at Heart’s Eye, when the school was invaded. Do we?”

“No,” Gordian said. Heart’s Eye should have been able to hold out forever, even against a necromancer. That it had fallen suggested … what? Treachery? Or … or what? There had always been strange rumours about Heart’s Eye, rumours suggesting that Schoolmaster Edmund and his staff had spent half their time researching magics rather than teaching students, but none of the stories had ever been proven. If the Old Boys League knew something about what had actually happened, they’d kept it to themselves. “We may never know.”

Or Emily may be in for a surprise, when she reopens the school. Gordian couldn’t imagine something that could collapse the wards from the inside, not without direct access to the nexus point, but … he admitted, freely, that imagination wasn’t one of his strong points. He’d never really had the mindset for theoretical magic. Who knows what she may find in there?

He shook his head. Emily had walked into Heart’s Eye when it had been controlled by a necromancer. If she could handle that – if she had survived something that would have daunted an older and wiser magician – he was sure she could handle whatever surprises might have been left behind by the Schoolmaster. And besides, Dua Kepala himself had lived in the school for nine years. He’d had ample opportunity to remove any booby traps … if, of course, he’d bothered. Dua Kepala had been surprisingly sane, for a necromancer, but by any reasonable standards he’d still been dangerously irrational. He might simply have sealed up a number of sections and left them alone.

“We may have to rely on Lady Emily to tell us,” the Chairman said. “If she ever finds out …”

“We may never know,” Gordian said. He’d want to know, if there was something that could take down a set of invulnerable wards. Whitehall’s wards weren’t that much stronger. “But it’s also beside the point.”

He cleared his throat for attention. “I think we have no choice, but to wait and see what happens. Emily will find it harder than she thinks to run a school, let alone a university. It’s possible that someone will find a way to ease her out of her position, or even convince her that she doesn’t want it. And who knows? She may even do a lot of good.”

“Hah,” Professor Aguirre muttered. “She’s your student.”

“She was my student,” Gordian confirmed. “And that has given me some … insight … into her personality.”

He kept his face impassive with an effort. There was a great many things around Emily that simply didn’t make sense. She was … odd, by any reasonable standard. She’d turned the world upside down, time and time again. She was a genius … and yet, there was something weird about the countless innovations she’d introduced. Gordian couldn’t put his finger on it, but it was there. It didn’t make sense. Emily herself simply didn’t make sense. She wasn’t what he would have expected from the daughter of a Lone Power.

“We wait and see what happens,” he said. “There’s nothing else we can do.”

“True,” the Chairman agreed. “And, if she does run into trouble, we can offer her our support.”

“And she will,” Professor Aguirre predicted. “It … demeans us to play court to a slip of a girl.”

“We have no choice,” Gordian said. “And if she learns a few hard lessons through trying to do everything herself, so much the better.”

Chapter One

There was magic in the air.

Emily took a long breath as Frieda led her through the city gates and into Celeste itself. Her senses were almost overwhelmed, almost blinded by the constant surges of magic all around her. Street performers roared and chanted, putting on performances for the city’s children and their families; shopkeepers warded their shops against intrusion while, sneakily, casting spells to entire the curious to inspect their wares. Hundreds of people, almost all either magicians or bonded servants, thronged the streets, wearing everything from wizard robes to flimsy outfits that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Arabian Nights. And yet, the city was oddly muted. Nearly everyone used some privacy spells to keep their conversions to themselves. Emily found it a little disorientating.

She gritted her teeth as the sense of pressure grew stronger, even though it wasn’t aimed at her. Her senses had sharpened in the last few days, as her body and mind struggled to embrace her magic. She’d lost her magic for a handful of months, barely long enough to come to terms with the prospect of being powerless for the rest of her life, but it felt as if she’d never had magic before. She remembered what that was like, of course, but then she’d been at Whitehall. She’d been allowed to grow into magic at her own pace. Now …

I’m the deaf woman who suddenly discovered she could hear, at a rock concert, Emily thought, wryly. And the noise is deafening even if it’s great that I can hear.

She smiled at the thought as they walked past a series of stalls, each one selling the same potions ingredients. The owners waved at her, trying to convince her to stop and buy something – anything – from their wares. Emily had worried, the first time, that they’d recognised her personally, before realising that they were doing it to everyone. She didn’t stand out in a crowd, not even in Celeste. As far as the shopkeepers were concerned, she was just another potential customer.

A trio of bondservants walked past her, wearing collars to indicate their servile status. Emily shivered, despite herself. She’d been told that most bondservants sold themselves into slavery, putting themselves in bondage to ensure their families would have a decent life, but she’d never believed it. The collars held more than just obedience spells. It would be very hard for someone to take the collar off, even if they were a trained and experienced magician. She doubted a mundane could do it at all. Someone could be forced to don the collar and then … she shuddered. They’d be enslaved for the rest of their life.

And no one would give a damn if their master broke whatever agreement he’d made, she thought, sourly. Who cares about a slave anyway?

She glanced up, sharply, as a street performer stepped into their path. “Hey, pretty ladies,” he said, with a smile that sent a shiver down her spine. “Come and see what I can do for you?”

He cast a spell into the air. An image of Emily appeared in front of him. Emily studied it for a moment, resisting the urge to roll her eyes. He was trying to impress her, but honestly … she’d mastered such spells in her very first year. It wasn’t that hard to find out what she looked like, from the rear. Alassa had taught her the spells when it became clear, to her, that Emily didn’t have the slightest idea how to take care of her appearance. It was something she’d never dared to do before coming to the Nameless World.

Her image winked at her, then started to change. Brown hair became blonde, then red; her blue dress became green, then thinned out and started to drop until she could see the tops of her breasts. Emily flushed, angrily, as the performer adjusted the size of her breasts until they became truly absurd. A handful of people laughed. They were drawing attention … unwanted attention. Her magic started to crackle under her skin …

“Look what I can do,” the performer said. He waved a hand at the image, which now resembled a bad parody of femininity. “A simple handful of spells and you’ll be a beauty to rival Lucinda herself …”

Emily flared her magic. The performer gaped at her, then stumbled backwards in shock. He’d taken her for … she wasn’t sure what he had taken her for, but it clearly wasn’t a powerful magician. The image shimmered and vanished. Emily allowed her gaze to harden, drawing on lessons she’d learnt from Lady Barb. The performer bowed a hasty apology and looked away. The crowd found something more important to look at and started to disperse, heading away before the fireworks started. Emily didn’t blame them. There were too many horror stories of what happened to people who angered powerful magicians. Being turned into small hopping things were the least of them.

She nodded to Frieda, who led her further down the street. Emily gritted her teeth, cursing the performer under her breath. He’d put her in a bad humour, all the more so because she dreaded to think of what would happen to someone without her power. The memory of being powerless still haunted her, even though she’d regained her powers. He could do a great deal of damage to a powerless girl. Even if his spells worked correctly – and there was no way to be sure – his victims would have a lot of trouble afterwards. No normal girl could possibly have had a comfortable life if she looked like a Barbie doll.

The stalls faded away as they made their way into the residential area. There were fewer spells in the air, but those that she could detect were powerful. Very powerful. Magicians liked their privacy, even when they congregated in their communities. She felt a handful of wards prying at her, testing her magic although she hadn’t stepped across the wardlines. The residents had enemies. Some of them might try to attack in broad daylight. It wasn’t as if the city guard would try to intervene.

There’s no law here, not really, Emily reminded herself. Celeste was an armed society, to all intents and purposes. The people who weren’t armed – who had no magic – didn’t count. They couldn’t defend themselves. It’s a miracle the entire city didn’t tear itself apart a long time ago.

“Here,” Frieda said. She indicated a little detached house, practically indistinguishable from the rest of the street. A simple number – no name – hung on the wooden door. “Should I wait outside?”

Emily shook her head. “You’d better come in with me.”

She took a breath as she walked up the tiny lane, feeling the wards poking and prying at her. There was no point in trying the door, or even knocking. It would have opened if she was on the approved list. Instead, she clasped her hands behind her back and waited. The wards wouldn’t have let her get so close if the occupant hadn’t been at home. And if she did anything they took to be unfriendly, she might not survive long enough to explain herself.

The door opened, slowly. Mistress Irene stood there, gazing at them. Emily swallowed hard, feeling the years draining away to leave her as an innocent schoolgirl once again, trying to explain to her stern form mistress that she really did have a good excuse for late homework, poor performance or simple tardiness. Mistress Irene had always been intimidating, even though she’d never been anything other than helpful. She’d certainly been a great deal more educational than some of the teachers Emily remembered from Earth. It probably helped that she had both the power and inclination to punish misbehaving students.

“Emily.” Mistress Irene sounded mildly surprised. “And Frieda. What can I do for you?”

Emily took a moment to gather herself. She wasn’t a schoolgirl any longer, although – technically – she hadn’t taken her final exams. She didn’t have to. She already had an offer of apprenticeship from Void himself. And she certainly didn’t have to answer to Mistress Irene any longer.

“I have a proposition I would like to put to you,” she said, carefully. “Please can we come in?”

Mistress Irene stepped to one side, an invitation that wasn’t – precisely – an invitation. A supernatural creature that required a direct invitation to actually enter a dwelling would have been unable to step inside. Emily was surprised to see it from an experienced and powerful magician, but perhaps she should have expected it. Supernatural vermin would be drawn to the city like moths to the flame. She stepped over the threshold and into the building. Frieda followed her a second later. Mistress Irene nodded and closed the door.

“This way,” she said.

Emily looked around, interested, as she followed Mistress Irene down a short corridor and into a sitting room. It was surprisingly elegant, so neat and tidy that she knew it wasn’t where Mistress Irene spent most of her time. Emily had been in Mistress Irene’s office, often enough, but she’d never been invited to her teacher’s private rooms. No student had ever managed to crack those wards. A great many had got in trouble for trying.

“Please, take a seat.” Mistress Irene sat herself, on an armchair that looked too big for her. “What do you have in mind?”

Emily sat, never taking her eyes off her former teacher. Mistress Irene looked to be in her sixties, although she knew that could be an illusion. She’d met magicians who looked young, even though they were in their second century, and mundanes who looked two or three decades older than they were. Mistress Irene still looked every inch the prim schoolteacher, although she’d left Whitehall two years ago. Emily wasn’t sure if she’d left of her own free will, or if Gordian had pushed her to go, but it hardly mattered. The point was that she was unattached.

“Two years ago, I came into possession of Heart’s Eye,” she began. “I killed …”

“I am aware of the story,” Mistress Irene said. Her tone gave nothing away. “What is the point?”

Emily took a breath. “I – I and a few of my friends – intend to turn Heart’s Eye into a university. Ah … a very different centre of learning, concentrating on science as well as magic. It’s going to be a research institute” – an unfamiliar concept on the Nameless World – “rather than just a school. The people who attend will be trying to find new ways to do things, rather than merely studying magic.”

“There is nothing mere about studying magic,” Mistress Irene said, tonelessly.

“No.” Emily had to fight the urge to apologise meekly. “But we will be studying more than just magic.”

“You are repeating yourself,” Mistress Irene said. It was impossible to tell if she was trying to offer constructive criticism or being sarcastic. “And I think you will find running a … research institute to be quite difficult.”

“Yes.” Emily recalled her disastrous tenure as Head Girl with a shudder. “I intended to start earlier, but … things … got in the way.”

“They have a tendency to challenge the less-ordered mind,” Mistress Irene commented. “I heard a rumour you were … ill.”

“Rumours of my powerlessness were greatly exaggerated,” Emily said. She didn’t dare lie outright. Everyone said that Mistress Irene could smell lies. A student who tried to claim the dog ate his homework – or his homework ate the dog, which wasn’t impossible – would regret it shortly afterwards. “As you can see” – she cast a lightspell – “I have recovered.”

“Quite.” Mistress Irene studied her for a long chilling moment. “Let us get to the point. What does this have to do with me?”

“Heart’s Eye needs a … a manager,” Emily said. The formal title was Schoolmaster, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to keep it. It had obvious connotations. “The staff and students will need someone to keep them in order. I was wondering if you would like the job.”

Mistress Irene let out a long breath. It was the first hint of actual emotion Emily had seen from her. “Do you know what you’re asking? Or what you’re offering?”

“Yes.” Emily met her eyes. “I know.”

“Really.” Mistress Irene didn’t sound convinced. “If you did, you might want to keep it.”

Emily frowned. The Nameless World wasn’t Earth. Here, teachers were important. She knew, all too well, that headmasters were respected as well as powerful. Gordian wouldn’t have worked so hard to succeed Hasdrubal if he hadn’t been sure the position was worth the effort. And it was. The mere fact he ruled a school made him one of the most powerful people in the world. She was offering Mistress Irene a pearl beyond price.

“I don’t like dealing with people,” she admitted. There was no point in trying to hide it, not from someone who’d shepherded her through four years of magical education. “And a lot of older magicians don’t take me seriously, despite everything.”

“Which they should,” Frieda put in.

“Indeed.” Mistress Irene’s face was emotionless, again. “And they think they’ll take me seriously?”

“You spent decades in Whitehall.” Emily took a breath. “Let me tell you what I have in mind.”

She launched into her prepared speech, explaining – as much as she dared – of the concept behind the university. It was more than just a college of magic; it was something new, something more for adults than immature teenagers. Her students would – hopefully – already be experienced in using magic, having grown out of the urge to sneak up behind an unsuspecting victim and turn him into a frog. The teachers would be researchers as well as teachers … in many ways, they would be teachers themselves. And mundane craftsmen and magicians would work together as equals.

“That might be a hard sell,” Mistress Irene pointed out. “They’re not equals.”

Emily couldn’t hide her irritation. Magicians tended to look down on mundanes, insisting that magic – the gift of the gods – made them superior. There were few magicians who sneered at newborn magicians, magicians born to non-magical families, but there were far too many who wanted to take them from their parents and have them brought up in proper magical families. She’d never shared the disdain – there was no way she could have shared it – yet … she winced, inwardly. It had been hard to develop her powers, the first few months after she’d gone to Whitehall. How much harder would it be to be powerless at a magic school, to be the butt of everyone’s puerile sense of humour? She didn’t think she would have survived.

“Mundanes are not stupid,” she said, firmly. “And I expect them to learn to … tolerate each other, if they are unable to be friends.”

“That should be interesting,” Mistress Irene said. “What sort of authority do you propose to give me?”

“Enough.” Emily had given the matter some thought, then discussed it with Caleb before putting pen to paper. “You won’t have absolute authority – and the board will be able to overrule you, if necessary – but you should have enough.”

“I see.” Mistress Irene didn’t sound happy. “You do realise that anyone I expel for bad behaviour will complain to the board?”

“I’ll be on the board,” Emily said. “You can hardly be blamed for expelling someone who breaks the rules.”

Mistress Irene laughed, suddenly. “You little … innocent.”

Emily felt her cheeks redden. “I don’t promise it will be easy. It won’t be easy. You’ll be setting a lot of precedents, although I intend to make sure that each case is judged on its merits, rather than what has gone before. There will be a lot of room for controversy. But … it’s also a chance to get in on the ground floor of something completely new.”

“People my age don’t like controversy,” Mistress Irene said. Her lips curved into a smile. “But you’re right. It should be interesting.”

She met Emily’s eyes. “When do you want my answer?”

“As soon as possible,” Emily told her. “I’m due to meet Caleb and the others at Farrakhan later this evening. We were planning to cross the desert in a day or so, depending on the weather, and set up base at Heart’s Ease before heading to Heart’s Eye the following morning. Ideally, I’d want to know in a couple of days.”

“Or now, you mean.” Mistress Irene nodded, slowly. “It isn’t as if I have much else to do with my time, so yes. I will come with you.”

“Thank you,” Emily said.

Mistress Irene held up a hand. “That said, I have some … matters to finish first. I won’t be able to join you for at least two weeks, more likely a month. Is that going to be a problem?”

“We’re not planning to open for students for a while,” Emily said. She would have preferred Mistress Irene to come at once, but that was unfair. The older woman could hardly drop everything on a moment’s notice and move to Heart’s Eye. “As long as you’re established before I have to start my apprenticeship, we should be fine.”

“Then I accept your offer,” Mistress Irene said. She held out her hand. “Thank you.”

Emily opened her pouch and removed the paperwork. “There’s an outline of what we have in mind here, along with a draft of the contract. Let us know what you think.”

“Naturally,” Mistress Irene said. “I’ll be reading them very thoroughly before I sign.”

“Of course.” Emily stood. Frieda followed. “And thank you for your hospitality.”

“It was scant enough,” Mistress Irene said. She escorted them to the door, then waved goodbye. “Good luck.”

“Now what?” Frieda asked. “Dinner?”

Emily felt her stomach rumble. “Why not? And then, we go to Farrakhan. Again.”

62 Responses to “Snippet–Mirror Image (Schooled In Magic 18)”

  1. Fleeced July 8, 2019 at 5:52 am #

    Interesting… I thought Mistress Irene had gone to another school?

    She also seemed a bit more aloof here, though that’s probably reasonable, given events.

  2. Peter Weissmann July 8, 2019 at 6:28 am #

    So when can we expect the whole book Chris? This has been such a great series. Looking forward to see it at release time. Peter W.

    • chrishanger July 10, 2019 at 12:20 pm #

      Probably at least a couple of months.

      Chris

      • Daniel July 10, 2019 at 11:39 pm #

        I have to travel for work in the second week of September. This would be AMAZING if I could be reading while flying from NY to Cali

      • chrishanger August 16, 2019 at 5:49 am #

        I’ll do my best.

        Chris

  3. rwahrens July 8, 2019 at 7:12 am #

    Now I’m even more impatient! This is far and away my favorite series of all time, and I’ve been reading sci-fi/fantasy for a very long time. I hope Emily and I both live long enough for me to enjoy her story for many years to come!

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful series, and a truly great cast of characters. This series has not even come close to wearing out its story line. You are simply the best.

    • Kira July 13, 2019 at 4:59 am #

      One thousand percent agreed!
      -Kira

  4. David Bennett July 8, 2019 at 7:39 am #

    I enjoyed that, getting to some meat about Heart’s Eye and heading out into the world as well as the apprenticeship which will be very interesting.

  5. Tony Perkins July 8, 2019 at 8:13 am #

    Already gagging for this latest book 🙂 I am currently re-reading the entire series from the start…. (already on “Trial By Fire”) and picking up on loads of things I missed before as well as remembering details I had forgotten. I am so enjoying reading them again and seeing hints and maybe clues to a little theory I have about Emily.

    Hope you are feeling better Chris. Look after yourself.

  6. Isaac July 8, 2019 at 8:31 am #

    awesome… don’t have much time to sit and read, however audible is great for listening to my second favorite series (sorry, Bloody Jack is simply epic… try audible version) am saying this since my (e)library holds about about two thousand books of which I’ve finished 3/4 I have replayed each SIM book our at least seven times. Keep up the great work and take care.

  7. Daniel July 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm #

    This story I’m really interested in. You have hinted in several books about “the roots of magic” and that it was studied at Hearts Eye. So as we are getting closer to the end of Emily’s story arc I want to see what gets answered in this book.
    Thank you Chris

  8. Rhino July 8, 2019 at 4:48 pm #

    Nice teaser, loaded with clues, somewhat akin to bait. Publish soon!!

  9. G July 8, 2019 at 5:27 pm #

    Yeah! But didn’t Frieda have to return to Whitehall and repeat 4th year?? Also, what happened to Emily’s return to Zangaria for the birth of Alassa’s child–that would wrap up the Zangaria storyline before moving on…

  10. Keith D Paul July 8, 2019 at 9:20 pm #

    Ooh now you’re spoiling us

  11. William Ameling July 8, 2019 at 9:20 pm #

    Things are off to a very interesting and promising start, and I want MORE. We should learn a lot more about magic in this book and the next book during her apprenticeship.
    The choice of Irene is an interesting one, and she has the experience, power, and reputation (to the rest of the Magical Society and the White Council) to do a good/excellent job of it.

    The history of Heart’s Eye and how it fell should teach Emily (and us) a lot.

    Mistakes will be made, but you often learn the most from those mistakes (as long as they do not kill you).

    It is also the start of Emily establishing a new (and MAJOR) base of power (for herself) and learning, as well as showing what she can do as an adult who is no longer a student.

    In the long run the City and the University of Heart’s Ease and Eye will HAVE to be the starting base of the efforts to push back the Necromancers, simply from a geographic point of view. So it will be one of Emily’s most important and lasting legacies to that World (along with possibly defeating the Faerie farther in the future).

    It will be interesting to see how she handles the logistics problems of supplying and supporting the effort to rebuild the City and build a new University. It will take years of effort by many people and allies. By the time she is done, she ought to be a possible/probable member of the White Council (or well on the road to being a member).

    • pkohonen July 9, 2019 at 12:34 am #

      It is interesting you mentioned the Faerie, I believe this is the first book where they will be introduced as a threat (or we will at least learn more about them).

    • G July 9, 2019 at 6:44 am #

      It’ll be interesting what kind of treachery and personal attacks Emily experiences…I also don’t quite understand how her abilities have grown and/or changed. I believe in The Sergeant’s Apprentice, Farakkhan was a free city like Beneficience–they had no King…so they should be grateful for Heartseye coming back and shielding them from the necromancers…

  12. Dani July 9, 2019 at 3:06 am #

    There’s an interesting nuance here. Emily is graduating socially as well as academically. Heart’s Eye will be guided partly by her vision and partly by the established board members and teachers they bring in. The resulting university won’t be what she envisioned, but it will be healthier and more likely to survive.

  13. William Ameling July 9, 2019 at 9:03 am #

    I think that I and others have noticed a couple of typos in the above release, what is the easiest way to list them?

    • chrishanger July 10, 2019 at 12:26 pm #

      Post them here or email me.

      Chris

      • MorkR July 10, 2019 at 3:20 pm #

        Early in Chapter 1: “…casting spells to entire the curious…” – presumably a typo, “entice”

      • G July 11, 2019 at 1:25 pm #

        It would be interesting if exposure to Nexus points or high levels of magic begins to slow Emily’s aging or allow her to get by on less sleep–I remember that Grandmaster Hasdrubal was so powerful that he no longer slept–Void may be the same way…

      • G July 12, 2019 at 2:13 am #

        This would actually illustrate the price of power–as it would begin to separate her from her friends and associates…somewhat beginning to isolate her…

  14. Nick July 9, 2019 at 5:31 pm #

    Your domain “chrishanger.net” has expited by the way.

    • chrishanger July 10, 2019 at 11:13 am #

      I’m not sure what’s happening to it. Can you see the site now?

      Chris

      • Nick July 10, 2019 at 6:32 pm #

        Yes, all back to normal.

      • G July 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm #

        It would be interesting if exposure to nexus points or high levels of magic begins to slow Emily’s aging and/or need for sleep–beginning to set her apart from her friends. If I recall, Grandmaster Hasdrubal was not only very old, but also no longer needed sleep as a result of his being so powerful…this could make Emily begin to feel more isolated from other people…

  15. Neill July 9, 2019 at 9:31 pm #

    Chris, very cruel to pop out the snippet and then make us wait for the book!

    Regarding the use of the phrase “nine-tenths of the law” I found the below citations interesting. Listed in priority (age) order of the oldest citations I found.

    Nine points of the law:

    In 1678’s Maronides, or, Virgil Travesty: Being a New Paraphrase in Burlesque Verse, Upon the Fifth and Sixth Book of Virgil’s Aeneids by John Phillips:

    Quo Hero when that same he saw,
    Now for the nine points of the Law,
    I mean possession and with that
    He flew to seize upon the gate.

    and Nine Tenths of the law:

    1814’s Patronage, Volume 4 by Maria Edgeworth:

    … and save you a vast deal of trouble and vexation ; possession,” added he, laughing, ” being nine tenths of the law.”

    Looks like a pick-em as to usage, but for me I prefer the older usage.

  16. Dave July 10, 2019 at 12:55 am #

    Looking forward to the rest of the book! Take care of yourself and get well Chris.

  17. Jill July 11, 2019 at 10:32 pm #

    How lovely to find a snippet! Even lovelier that you’re feeling well enough to turn out more books so rapidly. Just please don’t over do it. We can be patient. Take care.

  18. Bryce July 14, 2019 at 2:04 am #

    Great star I am looking forward to the entire book.

  19. KEll July 14, 2019 at 9:16 pm #

    The professor A in the prologue. Isn’t it the same name off cats fami ly in your zero series? Maybe A different name is in order?

  20. Scott Wasinger July 16, 2019 at 3:15 am #

    When Emily sets off to establish her and Caleb’s dream on a University they are going to need to figure out what happened to the staff and students of Heart’s Eye. For starters how old is Heart’s Eye compared to Whitehall? This question has been bugging me because of particular runic craving Emily and Casper found looked like a Manavore. Assuming that Heart’s Eye was established centuries after Whitehall why does a depiction of a Manavore appear seemingly out of blue in a distant school? In Infinite Regress when Emily and Carbini where exploring the passages under Whitehall they encountered the drawings of the Manavore there yet Cabrini had no idea what it was. Could these magical beasts from beyond be the real cause of the downfall of the school by devouring the population and snuffing out the nexus point. Dau Kepala even admitted to Emily that he had nothing to do with nexus point. Hopefully these are going to be addressing this next book

  21. George Phillies July 16, 2019 at 4:27 am #

    At some point EMily will get her University up and running, and rescue the missing people from inside the mirrors.(my guess, no inside info). At that point, she is mistress of a school and owns a place of great power; does this entitle her to send a representative to the White Council? Will the White Council ever remember that she is not oathbound?

  22. JFerengi July 21, 2019 at 4:40 am #

    Chris, It is great to hear from you. I hope you are feeling better after your 2 treatments.
    I shall endeavor to be patient., but actually it know it will not be that easy
    Good luck

  23. Annette Nelson July 21, 2019 at 12:04 pm #

    If Emily does not stop gritting her teeth, she will REALLY need a dentist!

  24. BobPM July 22, 2019 at 8:14 pm #

    Having read them all, the uniqueness I’ve found in this series is the juxtaposition of magic with Earthly science, technology and political philosophy. These themes have become somewhat more attenuated in the later books so I hope Hearts Eye “University” spends some time showing how the scientific method can be applied to magical studies, and also displays how mundane sciences like physics and chemistry can contribute to the overall usefulness of magic or life in general.

  25. William Ameling August 22, 2019 at 11:48 am #

    I agree with George Phillies and others, I think that there are hidden things or people, or secrets inside (or on the other side) of the Mirrors from the old School Of Heart’s Eye. It will interesting to see what she discovers.

    Along that line, since Mirrors are in every classroom and at every student’s desk as well as the teacher’s desk, I think that the students were learning to cast spells that took place or acted on the other side of the mirror surface instead of inside the normal classroom.

    This plus the discussion about the development of Portals, makes me think that in some sense, the other side of a Mirror is just as much a real physical place (where magic can take place and be entered physically) as pocket dimensions (Maybe Heart’s Eye played a role in the development of pocket dimensions as an area of magical theory as well as Portals). I am not sure if the reversal of left and right in Mirror Images will play a role, but it would be interesting if it did so. I have already suggested that Mirror Images might play a role in reading very old texts that can not be presently translated (Chris has hinted at this possibility, by raising the issue in “Cursed”). Maybe if you took one of those books inside a Mirror Image you could read it, or if you looked at the image of the text in a Mirror in the normal world you could read it. Possibly (quite probably) students are reading the (reversed) image of their textbooks in the mirrors in their classrooms (and all of the rooms of the old School). That is a simple and obvious but also easy to misunderstand or forget by other Magicians (because it is so obvious) secret behind Mirror Magic. Sometimes the hardest to figure out secrets are the simplest ones once they are lost.

    I think that in the long run Heart’s Eye will be the base that supports/leads the overthrow of the Necromancers, most likely by Emily, but it will take many years to finish.

    I also think that Alassa, supported by Emily and others, will refound the (3rd) Empire, at some point.

    Possibly even farther in the future Emily may help defeat the threat of the Faerie, who most likely have a stronghold on the 3rd continent.

    I hope Mirror Image will be out SOON.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 22, 2019 at 11:59 am #

      I hope Mirror Image will be out SOON.

      Same here. 😀

  26. William Ameling August 22, 2019 at 11:58 am #

    Or maybe you have to be on the other side of the Mirror looking back out at one of those unreadable texts that were still in the real world in order to read it. As another possibility.

  27. William Ameling August 22, 2019 at 12:12 pm #

    I also wonder if Fellini Manor could have secrets hidden on the other side of Mirrors since we know that some of their members attending Heart’s Eye in every generation, probably for a very long time.

    Possibly even secrets in Mirror Images at other places such as the Whitehall School, particularly in the long buried underground areas Emily explored in year 5.

    We do not know just how extensive Mirror Magic was used at one time, but we got hints that it was fairly widespread (until Portals entered general usage). So there may be Mirror related secrets hidden elsewhere in that World.

  28. William Ameling August 22, 2019 at 12:20 pm #

    If a Mirror gets broken, that could lose whatever was stored on the other side of it, just like the collapse of a pocket dimension.

  29. William Ameling August 22, 2019 at 12:43 pm #

    Also when is Emily going to introduce the idea of microscopes (for medicine) and telescopes for warfare (lost distance cannons) and peacetime, including navigation/travel at sea? She might also introduce some of the devices invented on Earth, including really accurate clocks), to assist naval navigation.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 22, 2019 at 12:59 pm #

      Well, remember that the Nameless World already has clocks and watches.

      Clocks could already be in use to assist in long-range navigation.

      Of course, based on my memory the two known continents of the Nameless World are close enough that clocks for navigation might not be that necessary.

  30. William Ameling August 22, 2019 at 12:50 pm #

    Sorry typo “long” distance cannons

  31. William Ameling August 22, 2019 at 2:37 pm #

    Really accurate clocks are needed for determining longitude, latitude only requires a sextant (and good tables of numbers to consult). Those really accurate clocks (timepieces) need to not lose or gain any time in spite of varying weather and temperature conditions aboard a ship traveling at sea, that can be pitching wildly in the waves, which was NOT an easy task to design and construct in Earth’s history. The British Admiralty offered substantial prizes to those who could design and build them.

    We have no idea of how accurate, on a long term basis, magical timepieces will be on the Nameless World; or how accurately magic could be used to determine location for ships at sea, or travelers on land.

    Telescopes on the other hand will be very useful in long distance warfare and scouting.

    Microscopes for medicine and eventually for industrial processes.

    Plus of course modern scientific chemistry (Periodic Table and theory of Atoms/Elements) for industry processes as well as medicine, in addition to the alchemistry that can involve magical processes.

    As well as modern biology and genetics from Earth.

    Plus modern classical physics and mathematics (trigonometry and calculus) for engineering,industry, etc. Plus Electricity and Magnetism along with Optics.

    The big question is how much does Emily remember or learned from Earth.

    All of this and a lot more will be important to the scientific side of the new University.

    Could Emily (or other magicians) get a Demon to bring textbooks from Earth without them burning up in transit? Or just find a way for Emily to talk to someone on Earth and ask questions that can be answered understandably?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 22, 2019 at 2:45 pm #

      Chris has made it clear that “deals with Demons” are dangerous to the person making the deal.

      It has been stated that travels between worlds involves dealing with powerful beings that would demand “payments” that could be terrorable to pay.

      I suspect that getting Earth Science Books or communications with Earth would run into the same problems.

  32. William Ameling August 22, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

    Any knowledge of science andtechnology from Earthly conditions might not be completely accurate for the Nameless World. There might be small changes in values, without disrupting the processes that govern life.

  33. William Ameling August 22, 2019 at 9:47 pm #

    I agree, I do NOT think Chris wants (or his readers want) a large scale active transfer of knowledge via books and or people brought via the void by magic and Demons. I think that things will work out to make this very difficult to happen.

    What can happen is that Emily’s memories from Earth can kick start the development of additional science and technology via the Research Institute side of the coming Heart’s Eye University. My only question is how much does she remember. Plus what ideas, like batteries for Necromancy and the nuclear spell, will she try to restrict because of danger to the Nameless World.

  34. William Ameling August 23, 2019 at 3:53 am #

    So how DID the Heart’s Eye Nexus Point get extinguished? Either Dua Kepala did it or something someone did in the old School did it. The second choice could explain how the Necromancer was able to get through badly weakened Wards defending the School. It is hard to image Dua doing it from a distance through intact Wards powered by the Nexus Point, but he might have extinguished it after he took over. Apparently most or all of the Nexus Points in the devastated lands controlled by the Necromancers are presently inactive. How/Why did that happen to ALL of those Nexus Points?

    Possibly Dua attacked Heart’s Ease and was besieging Heart’s Eye, and someone in the old School tried to do something with Nexus Point to do something to stop or repell Dua and failed, extinguishing the Nexus Point in the process and weakening the old Wards defending the old School.

    If Dua did it afterwards, then he found a way to get around or through the old full strength Wards/Barriers, or had some form of treachery/help from the inside of the School.

    Was Dua a former/current student of Heart’s Eye? After all many magicians studied there, so Dua could certainly have studied there.

    An interesting possibility, is that Dua did his initial sacrifice that made him a Necromancer while he was inside the Wards protecting the old School. This would certainly be possible if he was a student at the time, or even more interesting was a Faculty member (even the old Schoolmaster) at the time he did his first sacrifice. Possibly he thought he had a way to avoid the Madness from power overload of the first sacrifice by channeling the Power into the Nexus Point and possibly extinguished the Nexus Point instead. I can easily see someone, even a powerful magician, thinking that it would work and trying it (and failing by extinguishing the Nexus Point). If he was the old Schoolmaster with control of the School’s Wards, that could explain why so many people failed to escape afterwards, and were probably captured and eventually sacrificed. As well as how FAST the School could have fallen under Dua’s control, if he was the old School Master. That could also explain why/how Dua had the knowledge to do the bilocation spell, if he was an experienced magician (or School Master). Possibly the old faculty members thought at first that Dua had stayed sane during his experiment (particularly if he was the School Master), and so they did not flee right way because they thought that they were still safe, and did not raise any alarms to flee the School.

    There are have been plenty of other examples in history (even a recent example where Caleb’s parents meet each other while fighting a Necromancer) where people/leaders/Kings thought that they had a “Deal” with a Necromancer and were safe and so did not flee soon enough or at all.

    Another choice was someone in the old School doing some experiment/project that failed and extinguished the Nexus Point, independent(before) of Dua’s actions, but enabling them. But that would have to be a MAJOR experiment to cause the Nexus Point to extinguish. That might have been experiments intended to do things to defeat major magical hazards such as the Fairies or the Manavores.

    Emily’s knowledge/experience of/with Nexus Points may be critical to finding answers.

    I find the Schoolmaster experiment with the Nexus Point and Necromancy to be a particularly likely and interesting scenario (there are plenty of variations on the story line). It explains how the Nexus Point got extinguished and how easily/fast Dua took control after he became a Necromancer. We know that many magicians, even powerful ones, have tried to find ways to become Necromancers and stay sane. Why not one of the old School professors or the old School Master? We know that they did a LOT of experiments, even dangerous ones, into magic. (Alanson, Patriarch of House Fellini (“Cursed”) is a perfect example and he was a student who studied at Heart’s Eye). An Experiment into Necromancy and Nexus Points is certainly a possible answer. It certainly fits together the various pieces of the story that we have. It explains why there were/are so few survivors of the old faculty and then current students, and why there are so many questions about what really happened (for an event that happened so recently, only 10 years ago).

    Even Emily is worried that her magic batteries might enable Necromancers to stay sane (or less insane) (or at least try to become Necromancers and fail), as a different example. Trying to channel the excess power from Necromancy into the Nexus Point in order to stay sane, is a possible likely experiment that someone (particularly a School Master who controls a Nexus Point) would try. Think about Grand Master Gordian’s efforts (“Gordian Knot” and “Graduation Day”) to take control of the Whitehall Nexus Point away from Emily. As well as the recent problems with House Ashworth and it’s Nexus Point (“Graduation Day”).

    Hopefully we know the answer soon (PLEASE).

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 23, 2019 at 4:11 am #

      😀

  35. William Ameling August 23, 2019 at 6:17 am #

    The more I think about it, and the more I remember about various past Books (Mountaintop (Book 6), Fists, Cursed, Past Tense, etc), the more likely I think that it is QUITE possible that that powerful magicians will go to extremes, resort to Necromancy, or do dangerous experiments to get even more magic power, so WHY NOT the School Master of Heart’s Eye doing a dangerous experiment with the Nexus Point and Necromancy (or something similar)? His school already has a long and old reputation for doing dangerous things to do research in magic. It is just a logical progression of things we have seen in past Books, and the history of magic in the Nameless World.

  36. William Ameling August 23, 2019 at 7:41 am #

    Was there a history of Dua Kapala as a known Necromancer before the fall of Heart’s Eye? That will narrow down the possible chain of what happened.

    If he was already known as a Necromancer before that, then he likely not the School Master. Possibly the School Master defeated Dua using the Nexus point, but in the process became a Necromancer himself, then used Dua’s name to hide what really happened. This is an alternate possible story line. It is not the story line I expect.

    On the other hand, if the fall of Heart’s Eye was his first known act than it it much more likely that he was someone inside School such as the School Master (see my above messages about Nexus Point Experiments). We do not know enough history about Dua Kapala to know yet what may have happened.

  37. William Ameling August 23, 2019 at 7:05 pm #

    Another slight variation, would be that the School Master did an experiment that extinguished the Nexus Point. Then in order to power the Wards that protected the Heart’s Eye School, he resorted to Necromancy. (Not a likely case, but possible)

    I prefer a scenario that links the Nexus Point and Necromancy in the same experiment.

    A big question as mentioned above is when was Dua Kepala first known as a Necromancer?: long before the fall of the School or only during the same time frame as the fall of the School. The answer to this question determines whether the School Master (or someone else associated with the School) became a Necromancer named Dua Kepala or not in an experiment of some kind. (Except in a case where the School Master took over the name after defeating Dua (who was well known as a Necromancer already) who was besieging the School).

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 23, 2019 at 7:45 pm #

      [Come on Chris. Publish Mirror Image. 😉 ]

      William, what happened to the School relates to something the Founders of the School did completely unrelated to Necromancy.

  38. William Ameling August 23, 2019 at 8:11 pm #

    I went back and reread the beginning of “The Sergeant’s Apprentice” (TSA), the timing mentioned there does not exactly match the timing in the Mirror Image Snippet.

    In TSA Miles told Emily that Dua Kepala had been a known necromancer for 15 years, and that nothing was known about his history before that. It was unusual for a necromancer to stay stable for that long.

    Emily knew (in TSA) that Heart’s Eye had been destroyed 12 years ago and that Dua Kepala had somehow broken through the defenses of Heart’s and and may have absorbed the nexus point. So Dua had been a known necromancer for 3 years before he attacked the School, which was on the border with the Blighted Lands.

    Mirror Image takes place almost 2 years later, and the Snippet says it had been only 10 years since the fall of Heart’s Eye. So there is a problem with timing between the two versions of the story, and possibly other supposed facts about what happened.

    Since Dua Kepala was a known necromancer for at least 3 years before the fall of Heart’s Eye, that invalidates my suggestion that the old School Master became a NEW necromancer who used the name of Dua Kepala during an experiment with necromancy and the Nexus Point. Unless for reason the School Master took over the name of Dua Kepala after defeating him. The only reason to do that would be if the School Master had become a necromancer himself and he was hiding what really happened.

    Possibly the old School Master of Heart’s Eye tried to use the Nexus Point to defeat a siege of the School by Dua Kepala and extinguished it, which weakened the Wards enough for Dua to break through them.

    There is still the likely possibility that Dua was a former student of the School, which made easier for him to break in after attacking the City and School.

    There are still interesting questions about what the School Master and/or others was/were doing with research in magic, particularly in regard to the Nexus Point, during the time period near the attack on the School by Dua.

    So we need better information about what and when things happened before and during the attack/siege of the School by Dua Kepala, since some of the information we do have is contradictory.

    I trust Sergeant Miles’s information to be probably more accurate. The speaker in the Prologue to Mirror Image may have been rounding things off in his remarks.

  39. William Ameling August 24, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

    I should have reread TSA before I made some of my above suggestions/ideas about what might have happened in regards to Mirror Image. (sorry about that).

  40. William Ameling August 25, 2019 at 7:39 am #

    I expect Emily to setup one (eventually more) Portals at Heart’s Ease/Eye for supply purposes. There are several obvious targets: Cockatrice, Alexis, Beneficence, and the White City. They are quite expensive to build, see “The Sergeant’s Apprentice”. Cockatrice or Alexis would be my first guesses.

    As mentioned in past messages, it will interesting to see if a train and tracks can pass through a Portal or not.

  41. William Ameling August 25, 2019 at 6:16 pm #

    Also can a Portal operate from inside a heavily warded location such as Heart’s Eye will become? It may have to be located outside the Wards. It may take awhile before the first Portal gets built. Possibly a Nexus point might power a Portal inside Heart’s Eye’s Wards, but that would be a MAJOR security risk.

  42. William Ameling August 29, 2019 at 10:12 am #

    It has been close to 30 days since you sent the Mirror Image draft off, any word on release date?

    Some Portals seem small enough for some people to walk, i.e. the portals that Emily used between Whitehall and the White City and that operated out a room at Whitehall, and a large chamber with many Portals at the White City.

    While other Portals were big enough to ride a multi person carriage through pulled by several horses, such as the trip Emily took with Princess Alassa to visit various Princedoms on her way home to Zangaria, way back in Book 2, and some other trips afterwards (Book 8 in particular).

    The second version of a Portal is a lot more suitable for delivering a lot of supplies through, aka the Portal that they tried to build in The Sergeant’s Apprentice, and that was sabotaged during the activation process by Gaius. They will need to transport a LOT of supplies and people on a regular basis, and for a long time (years) to rebuild Heart’s Ease and Eye, and then keep them in supply. Some supplies can be brought in from Farrakhan and the Kingdom of Tarsier by horse powered transport. A rail connection to Farrakhan and Tarsier will be a second way to bring in a lot of supplies and commerce (in the long run) in addition to the Portal. We know that such a railroad can be built, the only question is how long it takes. Emily (plus friends and investors and her Bank in Beneficence) have access to the materials, manpower, and money needed to build such a railroad to Farrakhan and Tarsier from Heart’s Eye/Ease. Most of that would come through the Portal. Emily also has the gratitude from killing the Necromancer to help out with local diplomatic efforts needed. This one of the reasons that I expect a Portal link going to either the Free City of Beneficence or the Capital City of Cockatrice (which are already linked together by a railroad, so one Portal links easily to both of them), or Alexis capital of Zangaria. I think that Cockatrice is the most likely choice.

    So is the second version of a Portal large enough and operating continuously enough, possibly when powered by a link to a Nexus Point, to lay railroad tracks through and operate trains pulled by a steam engine? IF this can be done, it will improve considerably on the transport rate for supplies and people compared to horse pulled wagons and carriages through the Portal.

    Even if a steam engine is too big to go through the Portal, it could still be possible to push/or pull railroad cars (particularly low flat ones) carrying supplies through the Portal
    using steam power in one form or another. Away from the Portals, on both sides normal Steam engines can move the railroad cars to and from the Portals on normal railroad tracks. It will be an impressive demonstration of the capability of steam rail power, if it can be done, to the rest of the Nameless World, particularly it’s Magicians and rulers, who will have plenty of opportunity to see it in action (if they want) or hear about from others.

    One way or another, I expect steam power (with or without tracks) to help with supplies through a Portal Point.

    It will also be am impressive demonstration for the future when efforts start to push back the Necromancers, almost certainly through Heart’s Eye/Ease for geographic reasons.

    Reopening/rebuilding Heart’s Eye/Ease will draw a lot of attention and publicity. It will show what Emily and friends can REALLY do, in positive way, on a large scale (besides starting and/or fighting revolutions and Civil Wars, and other Wars). In the long run it should increase support for her in the White Council and the Allied Lands, and make her viewed as less of a threat. She has already added the support or friendly relations with several of the major Houses (Ashworth/Ashfall, Waterfall, and Fellini) of Magicians in the last several years, as well as the Free City of Beneficence. In addition to securing Alassa as Queen of Zangaria. She is in the process of adding the support of the Old Boys League of Heart’s Eye graduates, which may mean more than we or she realize. (Often those informal associations can wield considerable influence and not easily visible power. It is much better to have them as friends than enemies). Plus she is considered to be Void’s daughter (and possible heir?). Put all that together and it is a considerable body of support for her already in the White Council and Allied Lands (probably more than she realizes). She still has a lot enemies as well.

    At some point she will visit the School of Stronghold (Chris has already said this in this Blog). Through General Pollack and others (including Martial Arts Sergeants), she probably already has at least some friendly support there. Showing them how to better control their Nexus Point, will increase that friendly support.

    By the way, and I am sure it is deliberate by Chris, Emily has STILL NOT sworn any OATHS to the School of Whitehall or the White Council and Allied Lands, that are normally sworn to start 5th year or to graduate at the end of 6th year. I think that there may be oaths to the White Council and Allied Lands, expected when you are recognized as an official Master after serving an apprenticeship. (They already expect those oaths normally sworn earlier). It will be interested to see how Emily (and Chris) handle this, probably after only a couple of more Books. At some point, Emily is going to have to swear Oaths of some kind, in order to be trusted by the White Council and Allied Lands, and gain more power in them.

  43. William Ameling August 29, 2019 at 10:25 am #

    Besides Heart’s Eye, the Schools of White and Stronghold are also on the border with the Blighted Lands, most of the rest of the border is mountainous or bad and/or magic wild lands. So those 3 Schools (once Heart’s Eye is rebuilt) and nearby cities such as Dragon’s Den form the strong points of that border.

  44. William Ameling August 29, 2019 at 6:06 pm #

    On some issues, she will get the support of the other Schools of Magic, while on issues she may be opposed, but at least they are not trying to kill (probably) her.

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