Seven-Cities by dkkauwe


									Insler's Boon
Dear children,

Your father is notoriously keen on down playing everything and the rest of the band is
notoriously keen on saying nothing, which leaves me with the unwieldy task of playing historian
to our adventures.

Personally, I say, if it wasn't for my meticulous notes (and yes perhaps they are a little over done
at points - but hey, it's not like we didn't save all the existences from certain peril).

Anyway, you'll all grow up at some point and wonder just what the hell your father and I were
doing all those years before you entered the picture.

That's the nature of life. You come into existence and suddenly all the attention is on you, for
better or for worse, that's just the nature of thing.

For some of us that attention rests for seconds and for some of us that attention rests for a very
long time.

In the case of your father and I and our schoolmates, well, that attention rested for a long time.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

First I have to tell you that each of us has a different perspective and by each of us I mean
literally each of us.

There are seven major schools that cover the major disciplines and I know that if I've taught you
anything, it's the seven Insler schools.

Clerics, mages, naturalists, technologists, psionics, militia, bardic.

You'll find that everything falls into one of the seven Insler schools and that's why everything is
subsumed into them.

Obviously, I chose the mage route and your father chose the militia route.

I wish you could have seen your father when we first met.

He was so incredibly centered. The perfect champion.

We used to joke that he'd become a paladin, which would have required overlapping his studies
in the cleric and militia.

I'm just rambling now but that's fine. These are my recollections.
So let's just start with the first day.
The first day of school.
Eliot pushed through the crowd carefully. He knew he was big for his age, but not that it really

The Insler schools accepted students of all ages. Some were young and some were old - it didn't
really matter. The point of the Insler schools was to offer the very best training for each of the
seven great disciplines.

He knew them by heart but he cared most about his, the Arien school, the school of military
studies, the school of combat, the school of the militant - the fighter class.

He moved forward towards the main gates crested over with the bright red flags of Arie, the
great Zen-Zunni fighter.

There was a palpable sense of excitement in the air and he felt himself surging forward on the
ebullient waves of motion.

The Great Commons of Insler were flooded with new students running in every direction and
Eliot treaded through the ocean of bodies.

Perhaps had it been another day it would have seemed less magical but on this day the fact that
he noticed him was itself amazing.

A single first year mage student caught his eye. He was perhaps close to Eliot's age, but he
wasn't sure.

The young man carried himself with a single minded determination moving through the teaming
crowd and Eliot paused for a moment.

What was odd was that the youth was moving away from the Verinth school gates. The other
mage students were all pouring towards the multicolored flags marking the mages' school.

Eliot's father taught him that a good hunter always watches for the inconsistencies, and here was
an inconsistency.

He could tell that the young man was a first year because his robe was trimmed with one line of
color. Green. Eliot couldn't remember what green signified but he was sure that something was
odd about this one student.

He paused in his own progress and watched, realizing that the youth had a target. He was most
decidedly heading towards a stately young woman dressed in all white, with pale hair, nearly
white as her clothing. A cleric student.
Eliot realized that the young man was holding a something in his hand and moving to intercept
the young woman.

Fascinated for no apparent reason, Eliot felt himself drifting through the crowd towards the two
figures, watching the scene unfold before him.

The young woman was close enough to him that he could see her expression change to surprise
as she registered the first year mage behind her.

"Excuse me," he said, "I believe you dropped this."

She turned in an regal way and regarded him carefully, "How odd, I didn't realize I had dropped
my hair stick." She nodded at him, "Thank you for noticing it."

Then they both turned and looked at Eliot and for a brief moment it was as if everything froze
and there was just the three of them.

"Just like my vision," the young woman said.

Eliot paused and looked at the other young man.

Then the young woman laughed, "I'm Aldner Jaye, you are Eliot Kale MaC'kaner and you are
Tanner Dresden." She laughed again and then said with a magical air of mystery, "We're going to
be great friends."

Eliot paused in confusion and looked around him. The other students were moving in all
directions sorting themselves into their respective schools and for a moment he felt that
regardless of whether or not he was entering the Arien school, a deeper connection lay here.

The other young man, Tanner, regarded Eliot and Aldner with a quizzical eyebrow raised and
then said, "Hmm. The portents I read this morning did seem to indicate something about meeting
some new and important relationship." The he drew in a breath and said, "I know you, you're the
favored cleric of Jurdish the High Goddess of Winsler."

Aldner sighed and for a moment a glow seemed to radiate around her.

She nodded her head and looked at both of them, "I'm not really looking forward to cleric school
because," she gave a conspiratorial glance to both Eliot and Tanner, "do you have any idea how
burdensome it is to be marked by the goddesses?"

Eliot said nothing. He never really did; he was one of few words.

Tanner looked at both of them and then said, "You know, we should exchange friendship pledges
now so that we can petition to eat together in the Commons.
Aldner nodded her head in agreement, "Yes, I never thought of the specifics but I knew we
needed to figure out a way to meet later."

Eliot still said nothing.

Tanner shrugged his shoulders, "Well, then I Tanner Dresden pledge my friendship to you
Aldner Jaye and Eliot MaC'kaner."

Aldner repeated the vows and then Eliot followed in kind.

Eliot gestured behind him towards the Aerin school gates, "I should hurry along, I don't want to
miss our first convocation."

Part of him wanted to stay longer and learn more Aldner and Tanner but he knew that he didn't
have much time to spare. Still he felt a powerful pull towards Tanner and for a moment their
eyes connected and Eliot sparked inside.

Smiling, Aldner gestured with one hand towards the Verinth school gates and with the other
hand towards the Arein school gates, "You boys should get moving then," she laughed, "Don't
worry, we'll be spending lots of time together."

Tanner arched another eyebrow quizzically, "Well, if I remember the Insler boon correctly, the
spell ensures that when we leave the gates of our school for the common with the intention of
meeting again, we will, so I suppose we'll just have to follow through with our plan of
petitioning for the right to eat together."

"You talk a lot," Eliot said.

The other students were flowing around them and gradually the Insler commons were emptying
of students.

"I really think I should get going," he said, and then he began jogging lightly towards the Arien
gates, pausing momentarily to wave back at Tanner and Aldner.

Aldner and Tanner regarded each other carefully and then Tanner said, "Amongst your people
isn't it more common to call you Jaye, instead of Aldner?"

"Yes," she nodded, "I see you spent some time studying the Hotha."

"Well," drawled Tanner, "I managed to spend some time at the library of Surma."

Aldner exhaled in mild surprise, "The Great Library of Surma? How did you manage that?"

Tanner turned and regarded the Verinth gates behind him, "That, is a story for the next time we
meet. Until then, Jaye, I take my leave."
Aldner nodded, "I take my leave as well," and then she began striding towards the Orphen gates.

Eliot had already passed through his gates and Aldner and Tanner were some of the last students
to leave the Insler commons.

It was not surprising, Aldner thought to herself, that she and Tanner would enter their schools at
the exact same time.
Convocation of the Technologists
Drish feels the information stream flowing around her.

The other first year students are all distributed in Okoven space regarding the central speaker in
their omniports.

She can feel through her permafilters the other students- the other years- the second years, the
third years, the fourth years, the fifth years, and even the sixth and seventh years -
all observing with just the right amount of metered attention.


They are speaking.

A collective we.

We are speaking.

They are observing.

We are observing.

Drish floats through the perspective manifolds, drenching herself in the experience from every

We are not that different.

They are saying.

WE are saying.



There is a harmony of agreements.

There are a unison of voices.

We are not that different from the mages.

The mages depend upon inscrutable processes that are codified. We codify the inscrutable into
minute observations and render those accessible to all that have the aptitude and patience.

Drish breaks from the contemplative reverie that she is drifting into to notice a small white owl
flying through Okoven space towards her.


Magic and technology are but two sides of the same coin, the approach is different, the end
results are often the same.


The owl is softly alighting upon her omniport and Drish realizes that this is her sister's work.

-closed thought-

What could it be this time?

-continue with convocation-

Adursa knew this when they founded the Wardo Schools of Technology, and you too will come
to know this.

We too.

We too

You too


We too

The harmonies come and go.


Drish regards the owl and notices a small note tied to its leg. Expecting nothing much and
finding nothing much, she takes and reads the note to see her twin sister's
customary irreverent discourse,

-read and observe-

"Dearest Sister, I've forgotten my wolf totem at Krinser's Crossing. Do you think you could open
one of those portals and fetch it for me and then meet me in the Insler commons? Thanks a
-emotion surge. closed-

Fury. How typical. Dalis forgets yet another one of her things, and she casually assumes that I
can trifling break a dozen rules just to accommodate her.


The attention field of the sixth year Prefect Salinas rests near Drish.

--close field exchange--

Is anything amiss?

The Prefect addresses her question carefully with just the right dose of concern and just the right
inversion of reprimand.

My sister forgot something and she'd like me to open a portal to retrieve the item. She wants me
to retrieve it and deliver it to her in the Insler commons.

Drish kept her reply level and even although she still felt fury at her sister for interrupting

I see.

Drish's attention field widens in amazement as an image of Prefect Salinas coalesces in her

Like a giant blueberry is Drish's first thought and -shield-close thought-privy filter-shield-privy

Salinas' attention field wavers not in the slightest and Drish keeps her composure. She knows
that the Insler schools accept students from many races and many worlds, of course she'd
encounter such. She smiles slightly and starts to respond to Salina's rapid inquiry, proud of her
deft maneuvering to avoid an obvious social faux paus.

Your sister's request is interrupting your attendance of the convocation.

Salinas dryly observes.

Yes. Agrees Drish, and she waves her left hand keying a portal opening signature artfully into
the space around her.

-key-open-underwrite to schema e345-execute-close-resume

A portal opens and neatly engulfs the owl returning it to her sister's location with an open
communique link, and this time the attention field of Salinas does waver with surprise.
"I didn't realize you could open a portal on your own while maintaining a communication link
while at your tech-level."

Drish nods, "I used some work arounds that are barely legal but all the code is good and I'm not
in violation of anything."

Salina's form has materialized more solidly and they address each other directly for a few

"If you show me how you did that subroutine, I'll petition the Prefect Counsel to allow you to
deliver your sister's item to her at the Insler commons."

Capta Capta
Aries Alurn hurried through the halls of the Evedo Kodo.

Her bushi-ken tied firmly behind her, swaying. She reflected upon the core principals reviewed
by Master Ks'di at the convocation.


She had that in abundance.

Striding down the narrow walk ways of the psdiern maze, she flowed naturally through the
convoluted pathways letting her intuition guide her.

Behind her, another classmate scurried along trying to keep pace.

"Aries," Lorana huffed between breathes, "How can you navigate psidiern so quickly?"

Shrugging and keeping her concentration - concentration - that was another core principal Master
Ks'di has mentioned - concentration - she answered, "I used to run the woods behind my parent's
home blindfolded. This isn't much different."
Pours Tea Well
"You do that very well," remarked Osho.

"Thank you," Aldner bowed her head silghtly in deference to the First Cleric, "I've had much
time to practice."

"Ah, yes. I suppose you would have had much contmplative time at the cloister on Pranma Six.
How is the Prelate there? I have not spoken with her in ages it seems."

"Prelate Neveyes is doing well."

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