For the next three hours, Sif managed to keep her mind from wandering. Leifsson reviewed another dozen cumulation forms, then taught two dozen more, along with a half-dozen new zephyrs. He dismissed them in the early evening, instructing them to have dinner and meet him in the courtyard for the last of the day’s lessons.
Chairs scraped on the stone floor. Sif sat a moment longer, working through one of the new forms.
Lilja watched. As Sif finished, she offered, “Eat with me?”
Sif stood. “Of course,” she said gratefully. “It’s nice to have the company.”
During the walk down the spiral to the main hall, they talked about nothing in particular. Sif found that to be one of Lilja Orrisdottir’s great strengths. In general, Sif liked people, but found it hard to talk to them. She had no such trouble with Lilja. On more than one occasion, they had chattered away deep into the night, until only embers remained on the hearth in the hall, and most of the guild had long since gone to sleep.
They were nearly the same age, and had come to the Akademi der Luftsmagiker by a similar path. Lilja, too, had shown no magical talent until only a few months ago. When she finally did, a magiker was there to see it. It was nice to have a kindred spirit, Sif thought.
They found two chairs at the end of a table near the fire. This close to it, Sif could feel the gentle breeze drawing smoke and soot up and and into the flue over the hearth, both its physical presence on her skin and the flow of magic which powered it.
Lilja flagged down a servant. Her family had money, and extensive lands near den Holm. Had their family’s territory been further south, they might have been more than minor nobility. Sif, for her part, was still uncomfortable with the idea of servants. Lilja had grown up with them, and Sif was happy to leave dealing with them to her.
“Will you be eating?” the servant asked.
“Yes, both of us,” Lilja replied. The servant dipped his head and retired. Sif relaxed. Lilja grinned. “You get used to it.”
Sif tilted her head. “How would you know?”
Lilja opened her mouth, then frowned. “Good point.” She leaned across the table. “I think Ansgar Leifsson is going to let us try the poles.”
“In this weather?” Sif said. To punctuate the point, a gust of wind howled around the tower. “At night?”
Lilja shrugged. “Maybe not tonight,” she said, “but soon. That’s what I hear.”
Lilja shrugged. “Einar.”
“Einar Goransson?” Sif raised her eyebrows. “You’ve been spending lots of time with him.”
“Have I?” Lilja replied innocently. “He said that last year, this is when Herre Leifsson started.”