She saw the purpose of it. If pressed, she would even admit it was good for her. That didn’t mean she had to like it.
There was a well in the courtyard, up against the outer wall. Her fellows gathered around it, not just those students at her level but those more and less advanced as well. There were almost three dozen, in little clusters of three and four. As usual, Leifsson had roped in some other full members of the Akademi to share the load of teaching. Now, they returned to the tower. Baltasar Rasmussen was among them. He caught Sif’s eye, waggled his eyebrows, and went on his way.
She managed a smile. The boy manning the crank at the well stopped as the bucket rose above the masonry. Sif took a cup from the stack nearby and filled it, then wound her way through the little crowd to an empty patch of wall. She leaned against it and sipped from her cup. Before her, the tower of the guild hall rose into the fog, quickly hidden from view by the enveloping gray.
Lilja and Einar, already chatting happily, wandered in her direction. She gave them a little wave as they neared.
“Good morning,” Lilja said. “How are you? Are you okay?”
“Fine,” Sif said. “I didn’t sleep very well last night.”
“Neither did we,” Einar said. He flushed. “I mean, we were just talking about that now. We didn’t— what are we going to do next?”
Sif coughed into her hand to hide a smile. It hadn’t taken much of a push to get the two of them together. “Well, I have a letter to send before the afternoon lesson. Walk with me to Yngvar’s?”
Yngvar’s was a name of some renown in den Holm. Sif, Lilja, and Einar left the Akademi and headed south, to the Heimdal Gate. They crossed the Heimdal bridge, an imposing stone edifice resting on two dozen piles over its span of two hundred yards. The thunder of the falls sounded to their left, then faded as they made their way deeper into the Riverfronts. Tall log-framed buildings crowded the street on both sides. Several times, the young magiker had to press up against the encroaching walls to allow wagons to pass.
Sif had never been to Yngvar’s lodge, but she knew how to find it. South of the Heimdal, a stone curtain wall dating back to the reign of Halfdan, first king of the Norrmanne, stayed the growth of the Riverfronts. As the district grew, it grew upward. Yngvar’s lodge was on the top floors of wood-and-stone tower which had six levels; it was the tallest building south of the river. It was visible from almost any street corner in the southern Riverfronts.