Victory

By Amalasuntha

Victory Thomas Martin-St Clair?  Now there’s a name to conjure with.  I mean, you’ve got a head start right there.  Worry not, magic is in your blood, this is merely a formality.  They do like their little formalities you know.  Of the Manhattan St Clairs?  Really?  Well that makes this even easier.  Would Constance St Clair be your mother?  Your aunt, oh yes, that makes sense, remember me to her when you next see her.  And you turned 15 when?  Last week?  Congratulations young master.  Ready to begin your spell disciplines I expect?  I’m sure this has been explained to you many times over the past year, but I should think that you’ve forgotten in all the excitement.  My title is Brand and I’m here to guide you through today.  We only have a few minutes before it’s your turn.  Any questions?  Good.  You’ll walk out of here, down the central aisle when they call your name.  Walk briskly but don’t run, we have a lot of candidates to get through but rushing is unseemly.  Wait at the foot of the steps for the steward to announce you, walk to the top, cut your palm, not deep mind, say your oath and make sure your blood goes in the water.  Most kneel and put their hand in just to be sure.  You may feel a prickling or itching for a moment, it’ll be uncomfortable not painful and you only need to hold for a second or two.  Afterwards they’ll applaud and the stewards will direct you back down the side aisle.  Lets just straighten your jacket, listen you can hear the applause from the last candidate.  Quickly now, before it dies.  Ready?  Off you go.

Patience Margaret Marvalo?  My title is Brand and I’m here to guide you through today…

_______

I glance down at the list before looking back down the central aisle.  Wonder if I’m actually going to get a proper break today.  The audience is already getting restless too, they’re starting to shuffle and cough quietly.  Still, they’re all here to see someone.  By the looks, figure I’ll win by bet that we’ll get our first sneakers out around ‘P’.  I glance over at Melanie, she’s already lost her bet of ‘L’ and is looking none too pleased.  The next young lad coming towards us is looking nervous, I can see the tension in his shoulders and clenched jaw.  They’re all nervous and rightly so, but some show it more that others. He stops, uncertainly by me and I wink at him before announcing “Victory Martin-St Clair”, my voice is already cracking and we’re only half way through ‘M’.  He waits for a moment then purposefully strides up the shallow stairs to the edge of the Wellhead.  he pauses, looking down.  It’s an unnerving sight when you first see it, I’ll admit.  Come on boy, that’s enough: blood and oath, the rest of these candidates through and then I can go for a break.

The boy draws his knife across his palm smoothly and without hesitation.  No, don’t clench your fist, blood can’t get out that way.  Just kneel and get it over with.  Oaths just as valid kneeling as standing.  The boy kneels, blond hair falling across his eyes as he leans forward to put his hand in.  “I,” he begins in a loud clear voice “Victory Thomas,” and then stops.  I start up the steps, calmly mind, sometimes the candidates get stage fright and they freeze; it’s happened before.  The boy knelt with one hand in the water makes a flat puzzled sound as I get to him, and the life goes out of him in a long sigh.  I mount the last few steps and shield his body from the audience.  I can hear some woman wailing, probably his mother.  The Sponvex stands, clipping his staff of office on the flagstones smartly “No more candidates today” he announces loudly.  The other stewards begin ushering people out, families, untested and proven alike.

I keep my eyes on the corpse and using my tabard, gently pull his arm from the water and stem the flow from the cut.

Read more about Amalasuntha

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