Eleventh month, eleventh book of The Academy of the Accord series. (Unedited, of course. My plans to edit a book a month were um… a little unrealistic.)
This follows almost directly from last week’s snippet.
Kordelm, Caristen, and Torlew have taken the apprentices, and Andrek and Oriteh, back to the school, leaving Wellhym in the town square with the cadets.
(Despite a lot of creative punctuation this is pretty long.)
Wellhym waited until they were out of earshot then rounded on the cadets. “What were you thinking?” he exploded. “Explain yourselves!”
None of them could meet his eyes.
“You are Warders,” he said. “Your job is to protect wizards, and that means preventing problems, not escalating them. Was he presenting a threat? Was he?”
“He hurt Auth,” Jorsen said, and Wellhym could hear the distress in his voice.
“In the past,” he said more calmly. “But today – was he posing any kind of threat to you or your wizards?”
“No, sir,” Jorsen admitted. “But Auth was so upset…”
“So you drew steel?” Wellhym stared at him. “Part of what you, as Warders, do is keep a situation from getting out of hand. Yes, Auth was upset. But you weren’t alone, and even if you had been, your first responsibility is to your wizard, to calm him and make him feel safe and secure. What would have happened if Autheren had gotten too worked up and had fire-balled Andrek?”
Jorsen looked down, his shoulders sagging. “Yes, sir,” he said, swallowing hard as the implications sank in. He could have lost his wizard… or been forced to run with him as an outlaw, outside the protection of the Accord.
Wellhym nodded, satisfied that the cadet would not make the same mistake a second time; he understood that it was Jorsen’s love for his wizard that had made him draw steel, but he couldn’t let that excuse the cadet’s actions.
“And the rest of you,” he said, turning to them. “There was no danger to your wizards so I have to assume it was your past history with Andrek that prompted your actions?”
His voice was cold and hard.
“Yes, sir,” Draethlen said, still not looking up at him.
“Draethlen, you of all people should know better than to rise to any sort of bait from Andrek. You had more sense as a first year cadet than what I’ve seen here today.”
“Yes, sir.” Draethlen took a deep breath and finally looked up to meet Wellhym’s gaze. “I’m sorry, sir. It won’t happen again.”
“See that it doesn’t,” Wellhym growled. He turned to the others. “And you two,” he said. “I understand that you were just backing up your friends, but sometimes the best thing you can do to help a friend is to tell them when they’re out of line and need to calm down.”
“Yes, sir,” Terhesh and Rahmael said.
Wellhym shook his head. “So, tell me what was accomplished here this afternoon?”
“Nothing, sir,” Draethlen said.
“No. Not nothing,” Wellhym said. “You let the past override the present, lost any semblance of good sense or self-control, put at least one wizard at risk of violating the Accord,” Jorsen flushed at that line, “and caused a ruckus that nearly led to bloodshed in the town square.”
“Yes, sir.” Their response was quiet, nearly inaudible.
“Back to the school, all of you,” he said. “Go directly to your wing and stay there until Kord, Cair, Tor or I tell you otherwise. Understood?”
He watched as they moved off, subdued and dispirited, and he sighed, running a hand through his hair, suddenly feeling tired and worn down, and, uncharacteristically, in need of a stiff drink. He sighed and slowly started after the cadets: there was something better than a stiff drink waiting for him at the school – his friends, and, more importantly, his wizard. On the other hand, he was not looking forward to reporting this to Marsden so his steps were slow as he followed the cadets toward the school.
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