Half a lap later, on the north side of the courtyard, he faced his first- and second-year students. Baltasar Rasmussen had already corralled the others.
The students left with him stood in the shadow of the poles: an array of two dozen posts driven deep into the ground, each three yards from its neighbor. They ranged in height from four yards to just shy of fifteen, and each was crowned with a circular platform barely wide enough to get two feet on.
“As luftsenmagiker, you are shielded by your agility,” Leifsson said. “You must learn control and precision. Einar Goransson, would you demonstrate?”
Einar turned to face the poles, wound up for a jump, and leaped into the air, raising his hands as he did. A blast of wind caught him as he did, carrying him up to one of the lowest poles. From there, he jumped from pole to pole, guiding himself with precisely-timed gusts, barely even putting a foot down before springing toward his next stop. He came to a halt on the tallest pole, bowed theatrically, and jumped down. The wind caught him as he neared the ground.
“Very good,” Leifsson said. Motion caught his eye: Sif nudged Lilja with her elbow and whispered something out of the corner of her mouth. “First-year aspirants, step forward.”
“Pretty good, isn’t he?” Sif whispered. Lilja blushed. It was too easy sometimes, Sif thought.
“… step forward,” said Leifsson.
The two young luftsenmagiker joined their ten compatriots.
“Today, you will learn to move as Einar Goransson did: calling on the weave to jump higher and further and land more precisely than you could hope to do without it. I will not push you very far today. Soon, there will be complications. Gyr Didriksson. Approach the poles.”
Sif watched with obvious interest. She didn’t know Gyr very well as a person, but she had faced off against him frequently enough to develop a sense for his ability working with the weave. He was good at it, though maybe not as good as she was. He was more rigid in his style, less creative but probably better at using what he knew in difficult situations.
He sized up the shortest pole, took a running start, and sprang into the air. A sudden wind kicked up dust, and Gyr flew five yards up. He got his feet on the platform at the top of the pole, but lost his balance, arms windmilling as he toppled forward. Leifsson cushioned his fall with a miniature whirlwind.
“A good first attempt,” Leifsson allowed. “Control will come with practice. Lilja Orrisdottir. You are next.”