Tristan held the porcelain bowl close to his chest as he approached the university building, worried that it might break and that its occupants might get hurt, Brandon, one of his bodyguards in tow. The brown-haired young man had once been a burglar, but now he worked for the people whose houses he had broken into, and he was one of Tristan’s closest friends. “I didn’t think I would ever study at a university!” he remarked and grinned. “This is great! I can’t wait to show Padraig my fancy Letter! Coming to Scalvoris was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life!”
For the past couple of seasons Tristan’s mood had varied between sadness and utter despair because his friend, King Cassander, had turned out not to be such a nice person, because his cousin Pythera was still at large and because his subjects still didn’t like him particularly. Now he felt free again, as free as he had been when he had only been the son of a baron and nobody had been particularly interested in him. In Rynmere, he had worn nothing but black for at least two seasons in order to silently protest against Cassander’s anti-magic law, but now he had a sky-blue shirt that matched his eyes on. In Scalvoris there was no need for him to protest against the anti-magic law – because mages were free here.
“Maybe I should just ask them if I can take an exam”, he mused as he entered the building. “And start with a Certificate rather than a Letter. I can’t wait to see the look on Padraig’s face when he realizes that I’m just as good as him now. I wonder who my tutor will be though”, he murmured as they walked down a hallway. He had asked about the possibility of private lessons, and the Institute of Metaphysics had let him know that the professor had taken a leave of absence, so they’d find a substitute for him. He hoped that the substitute was a pretty woman and not a grumpy old guy.
“Ah, here’s the laboratory”, he said and opened a door. “Want to come in?” he asked Brandon. “You can watch!” Brandon shook his head and pointed at a wooden bench down the hallway. “I’ll just wait over there. No offense, Tristan.” While he really liked Tristan, he was a little afraid of his alchemy. It was a dangerous science, and he’d rather not explode or come in contact with a dangerous substance that would mutate him. Tristan looked at him, shrugged his shoulders and walked in. As he took a look around, his eyes widened.
This was much better than his makeshift laboratory in Oakleigh! He could barely resist the urge to touch all those tools and open the various containers that stood on the shelves. Alchemy, he decided, was great! He’d originally started learning it in order to spite Padraig, but now he loved it. He’d even begun to invent his own reagents, one of which was in the bowl that he had placed on an empty table. There was a white cloth covering it because he didn’t want to immediately reveal just what his invention consisted of.
If only his tutor would hurry up! He couldn’t wait to get started!