Temple of Embers

Winter yr 6: Yule celebrations
Winter yr 6: Yule celebrations

Aaah another Yule, has come and gone. We celebrate here with a feast, presents from parents shipped in from all over the world, decorations and a 3 day period of no classes. Contests, story telling, singing…we get sillier every year. Handmade gifts are encouraged to be passed out between students and faculty alike. We have an ever growing “string” that is hung in the great hall of items representing each student or their homeland. Each year it gets longer. One per student. Everything from small carved arrows to shells to tiny potion bottles filled with desert sand. Each has the students name painted on it somewhere. We have something similar hanging in the Staff hall as well.

This year I had requested a decorative quill to be sent to me for Verse to use in his book from the Spire in the Plains. Its a lovely gold piece with tiny sapphire chips circling the tip. Thanks to our favorite jewelers. And a new leather book strap for him to use to carry his book. Sturdy, secure just with easy to open clasps for when he needs to whip it out in a hurry.
Verse got me a new glove to wear over my gauntlet. Lovely piece of leatherwork. Dyed black with white stitching. Upon the back of the glove, directly over the hand was a lovely image stitched in white. Two crossed swords with a sphere in the center over the crossed section of the swords. I looked confused at the image, tho it was so pretty. He shrugged and smiled at me, “Something from your lineage, for you to discover in the future. I did some homework. Try it on.” He said. I did…or tried to. The was something tucked into the glove. A small jewel box, with Sudenian and Persinnion mark on it. Inside was a lovely ring, with the tiniest little ruby set it in. i looked up confused since the only jewelry I wear is our old Whisper Ring…just incase. When I did, Verse was on one knee before me. Oh by the Gods! We had talked at length about marriage many times over the years….but he had never…..
I broke. I admit it…just to you journal (and Verse since he was there), I shed a tear. His eyes bore into me as he waited for me to say something.
YOU WIN!” I said as I smacked him atop the head with the glove. I handed him the ring and held out my hand to him. “Yes…I will. Now put it on me you silly man!” We spent the next 3 hours in our quarters. It was a good Yule. I told him. Small…super tiny. Just those here on the island during out Spring vacation. I didnt want anything like that debacle that Coal threw for him and Gaeldieon. That was way over the top in my opinion. He asked about my family. My response was they would know eventually. He shook his head. “Fine but you WILL wear a dress as per tradition.” he stated. I wanted to slap the man! But said, “Fine! And you will wear something other then those robes of yours.” He agreed. Then all is settled. I shall be married in the Spring. Oh Gods…what am getting myself into?!

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Fall yr 6: Changes
Fall yr 6: Changes

Vacation with Samden and Izamala was actually quite pleasant! We had tons of fun island hopping. They were overwhelmed by the Falls. Samden leaned over and spat into the Falls, then colored and lowered his eyes to apologize. He was trying so hard to be good. I laughed and followed suite, spitting over the side myself. “The important thing in this situation, is you didnt spit where a crowd of people could see you. But don’t do it again.” I told him. He and Izamala laughed. “And don’t tell anyone I did that!” I said wagging my finger at them. As we were laughing that day on the bridge, I realized that this year Samden would be 17 and would be leaving us. I became saddened at this. Over the past 4 years they have been regulars to my office, due to their pranks, but I grown quite fond of them. I have watched them grow, from right hooligans to older more polite trickers. Izamala has grown into a beautiful young woman (can’t really say Lady) her long tresses, the color of ripened wheat blowing behind her. Her eyes almost the exact color of the sea, full of wonder and mischief. Samden had grown tall and filled out. Light growth on his chin and upper lip making him appear somewhat older. His mop of unruly Earth tone hair blowing into his eyes as he stared off into the distance beyond the Falls.
“So that is all Orc held?” He asked pointing off toward the horizon.
“In the past, yes. Many Orcs have settled beyond the Falls again. Others still roam the Rocky Plains.” I answered, thinking about Gorag. Wondering how he was doing.
I asked Samden if he had thought about what he wanted to do with his life come Spring, since this was his final year with us. He drew in a breath and stated “I want to teach, at home…well I mean at our school.”
I stopped in my tracks, surprised. “You want to do what?” I asked.
“Teach, I want to teach. I have the highest marks in my Dwarven class. I would like to teach that! I know Bronoff is leaving at the end of the year and you don’t have a teacher for beginners Dwarven. He says i have perfect pronunciation. That I sound like a proper Dwarf when I speak. My Grandfather was half Dwarf ya know. Learned a bit from him as a tot. I really wanted to ask you how to apply to be a teacher but was scared. Thought you would laugh at me.” he looked down at his feet, “The school is my home. I have nothing else. Normally when I go home for vacation I am alone. My parents have 7 children including me. Father works the mines and mother….well she doesnt care for me much. I was a horrible child. She pretends I dont exist.”
I placed my hand on his shoulder, “Samden…there are steps to take to become a teacher…”
“Okay…I understand. Please forget I asked.” he interrupted.
“Step one- never interrupt a possible future boss. Step two- High marks and graduation. Step three…no more pranks this year. If you want the other professors to respect you…don’t place fish heads in their desks! Step four- Get your Dwarven Professors- each you have had classes with- to write me recommendations about your skill. We shall go from there. Okay?”
He started, looked at me and threw his arms around me and a huge hug, “REALLY?! You’re not just saying that??”
“I mean what I say-BOY. Now hands off your Head Mistress and lets go back for lunch.” I smiled and he let go. We walked back to the city of Antares in a happy silence.

The clerics of Spica were impressed with Izamala’s skill, as I knew they would be. She was offered a spot in training right then and there. But she stated she had a few years of study left ahead of her before she could make a decision on her future. I positively beamed with pride at that. Cleric Hortten asked if I was showing off my “recruits” and rubbing in the skill I had amasses. I laughed and said no. That I think once she is thru with her schooling she could be a great asset to his temple, and wanted to show them. He nodded and smiled at Izamala. We headed home after that.

We arrived back a week before the term started. I was surprised to see that Nissa had been eagerly awaiting my return with…news. She and Parathen were to be married. Then they were heading to the Plains to settle in at the old Spire and be near her family. So I was to be down a very organized secretary. Now what am I to do, I thought. Jorgen was in the door way, quietly awaiting a chance to speak with me during Nissa’s announcement. I hugged and congratulated her. For I was happy for her. She said she would stay on until I found a replacement. Right! So close to the start of term? How?!
Jorgen cleared his throat. I had forgotten about him in the inner turmoil of loss of employee. “Maybe I take over for Miss Nissa. I am organized, Matagan can take over for me in Hand to Hand and Shield skills classes. And as Head Disciplinarian, I think to have an office for the troubled student to come to…will make me more scary. No offense Miss,” he turned to Nissa, " you’re filing system…makes no sense!" He smiled at us both. I had to agree with that. Only Nissa could find anything in these offices. Found them promptly when asked, but if I went looking for something…it was pointless. I threw my hands up in the air.
“Why not?! I have a student asking to be a teacher- a teacher asking to be a secretary….what next? A Continuator asking to be a Cleric of Agetar!?” Nissa and Jorgen laughed. Jorgen’s guffaw boomed loudly over her quiet tittering. “Okay, Nissa. You needn’t extend your stay if you don’t want to. I hope you and Parathen all the best. Please keep in touch. Tomorrow we shall have a party in your honor. Jorgen…you’re hired. But…no muddy footprints in this office and you will not sit at your desk smelling” i sniffed towards him, “Of the practice field to put it kindly. We here have soap. Understood?” he nodded. “Now all of you….OUT! I have a headache!” I exclaimed.
There i was, alone after two major staff changes. Now… what next?

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Spring yr 5: End of another year
Spring yr 5: End of another year

End of the school year and I am watching the second boat of students leave to go home. Some we will not see again, others will be returning mid summer. Those students that live far away sail to the islands that house the temples of their home towns. There the temples teleport them to the temple of their home cities, or the temple closest to their homes. Their parents will be awaiting them at the various temples to take them home. The reverse happens at the end of each summer when the students return as well. Its a way for the students to get to know the Cleric of temples, and for the clerics to know the students. Some of the students that have gone on to temple placements have gone to one of the “travel temples” since they have gotten to know the clerics. I do want to thank all the temples who help transport my students. Its a lot for them to take on, and I have nothing but appreciation for them. If it weren’t for this set up, the kids would never be able to spend 4 weeks home with their families before the next term started up. I think its important for the kids to spend time with their families in between their studies…at least the kids with families. We do usually have a dozen or so that are here year around or that we send out to mini apprenticeships to broaden their horizons.
Sadly this Spring Samden and Izamala’s parents wrote that they will not be able to travel to the temple to pick them up. So they are staying behind with us here at the school. I have to make sure the next 4 and a half weeks are totally full of tasks and activities for them or they will be tormenting the staff and live in students. Over the vacation time there are classes and activities scheduled for the live in students. The classes are less work oriented and more fun things. Like the swimming classes for students originally from the Red Desert and the Ceaseless Mountains. Students of all ages seem to love learning to swim for the first time. We have little parties, visits to near by islands for them so they can explore. All sorts of things to keep them occupied and enjoying themselves.
I have decided to take Samden and Izamala under my wing this vacation and cart them around with me as I go off island for supplies for next term. I have also planned on making a stop with them for a few days in Antares so they can walk the bridges over the Falls so they can see it up close. I am also going to be taking them to see the Still Shrine of Mirim since I think it might impress them. I also want the Clerics of Spica to see Izamala’s shooting skill. The next few weeks should be interesting!

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Fall yr 5: 522
Fall yr 5: 522

Our schools 3rd year open and we have 522 students this year. We will be loosing several come Spring as they finish their run with us. They will be missed. Poor Kisra will be moving along to the Spire in the Plains for further study, but will be near her family. She is from Bur Leyras. Young Phedal will be heading to Bur Leyras as well to enter training at the Mages’ School. We have 10 students eager to learn ship building so I will be sending them to Galdieon, who can hopefully find some master ship builders who will take them under wing. I am glad he agreed to help. We have two girls that I will be sending to the temple of Agetar out here in the Blue. They…need somewhere to…take out their hobbies appropriately. Galena Thornhold kind of reminds me of Bianca in a way. That makes me shudder!
Verse has added a small alter shelf to Ageto in our private quarters. And has an empty shelf next to it for, “When I get around to choosing a God.” I told him I have nothing against the Gods really, but have a hard time wanting to WORSHIP them since I see them as more…old friends with great power then a group to worship. He then shook his head and wagged a finger at me before putting his nose back into the book he had been reading.
I have assigned Izamala to help teach the bow to all the new students. She is amazing! That girl seems as though she was born with a bow in her hand, but I know she had never touched one until she arrived here. She loves teaching. Its been keeping her…mostly out of trouble. Samden has been acting as assistant to Verse and when he is not helping Verse or at his studies, he is helping professors make their class schedules. Again, this mostly keeps him out of trouble. There have been some minor pranks that have the stink of those two all over them. Beetles in the soup tureen, Troll Root dye in the soap, Euphoria Leaves in the fire place in the Great Hall. THAT was a debacle!!! 300 some students and professors all high as a gull as the smoke from the burning leaves wafted thru the Hall! I will say, Verse was in the Hall at the time. Seeing my Verse inebriated is always fun. But I had to wait to enjoy it til after all the students and professors were safely tucked away in their rooms for at least 12 hours. Aah…students!

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Winter yr 4: Stormy Night
Winter yr 4: Stormy Night

Corridors are dark with the sounds of a wild storm blowing outside the stone walls of the school. All the students are abed, professors sound asleep. I am here with a bottle of Firewine, looking over paperwork by the glow of candle and my hearth when Verse creeps in with a thoughtful expression and two silken scarves poorly hidden in his hands.
“I would like your assistance in trying something I read about recently.” He states. I agree….

WHAT is he reading?!?! By the GODS! Now I am not complaining in the least…but that was…new. Its been 3 hours and I am blissfully sore. The storm is still raging outside and the candle is burnt out. I sit here finishing my Firewine and writing in my journal as he is completely sacked out in a worn out slumber, a small smile playing across his face. Once our…‘experiment’ was done, he had mumbled “That…should be done again.” before slipping into sleep. I had to gently pry myself out of his grip to be able to get up from bed. And they all said it was against his will! HA! If they could have seen him tonight! I should finish my paperwork and got to sleep. Tho if the storm continues into the morning I may be canceling classes. The wind is blowing things about, and it may be too dangerous for the students to venture outside. And half of our classes are held outdoors. Maybe I can convince Verse to stay in too. I am sure there is plenty for him to be able to study from in the safety of our quarters….

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Fall Yr 4: New Crop
Fall Yr 4: New Crop

A new school year is in full swing. Samden and Izamala are in proper form tormenting new students. Somehow Samden pulled off reading a scroll of Ghost Sound in the younglings’ dormitory and Izamala placed a bucket full of…well…filled from the jakes above the door to the Arithmetics classroom. Continuator Dorila asked to be reassigned. That has been a problem since she is the best we have for teaching sums. I hope she reconsiders. Both hooligans are currently running laps around the Spire under Jorgen’s watchful gaze along with Matagan- Jorgen’s apprentice.
Verse has been entralled with new books found at a site near Jatix. They have been brought to our island Spire since a bunch of Continuators specializing in Religious Histories have moved here. I ask him about them and he gets a strange smile on his face then turns red faced. Wonder what that is all about? I was quite saddened to see the scruffy growth Verse had taken to letting settle on his face be shaved off before the school year started. I thought it was quite nice, and gave him a manly appearance. Tho the fact that he has filled out due to his sword training also gives him a manly appearance is nice too. He has been….more active… in the bedroom as of late. Often times being the one initiating the activity. In that I surely don’t complain!
News has reached us that both Jax and Ronin are expecting little ones again. Really, are those two keeping pace with each other? Its…kinda of creepy. Their poor women have just gotten over their last births! With the little ones just starting to walk..and BAM…another in the oven. I suddenly wish I had cookies. Damn I miss Linda! Wonder what she is up too?

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Spring Year 3: Comings and Goings
Spring Year 3: Comings and Goings

So Summer is just around the corner with new students to arrive. We “lost” 32 students yesterday. Most of the older ones are done. They were here about a year. Some we lost to Asnezian training, some to the Spire, two to Sarass (Nima Salrite and Themas Rikle were forever having to be dragged away from the libraries at the school and the Spire) and 10 to craftsmen for apprenticeships. 140 new students arrive in two months time.
I sent a letter with a little something something to Oret for the Spring Festival to Agetar. It was a little toy I picked up at an Agetarian Temple while off island for supplies. I hear its better then the last ‘gift’ I got her! Poor thing, cooped up in that office with all that paperwork. She needs to let down her hair, metaphorically speaking of course, ever once and a while and enjoys the ‘pleasures’ of life. I am surprised she hasnt had be tossed into Sar Puhi yet! Tho I hear that is being repaired by the temples and Ehmbyr herself. Well GOOD! She is the one that turned the damned place into a bleedin’ volcano! I mean really! You’d think she would have learned the FIRST time she pulled that stunt!!
Strange thing when the Asnezian clerics were here looking at the students, there was one that kept following me around asking if I had claimed Asnez as my God yet. Then he would grunt as I refused to answer. I think it was actually him. Something about his posture and gaze. So I messed with him a bit. Kept saying i was wavering between Asnez and Agetar. At one point he sighed “Poor Verse” under his breath.

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Fall yr 3: Head Mistress Jera
Fall yr 3: Head Mistress Jera

Okay so I am settling into my role of Head Mistress of this school quicker then I had anticipated. I am comfortable here. Mother and Father visited for a bit and left two weeks ago. I got worried since mother had taken Verse aside for “a little sit down.” She came back glaring at me and he was red faced. Had to be on the topic of marriage. She is not subtle either. Poor Verse. After that he spent most of their visit “busy” at the Spire, coming home for supper and leaving again. Father said he respected a man so dedicated to his work, but still able to make time for family meals. Mother just would give me a look and Harrumph. Verse- I feel like I know that man completely, yet don’t know him at all. I wonder if I will ever know his birth name? Or meet his family? Does he even have family? All he says is “Those at the Spire are my family.” then changes the subject. By the Gods, I hope one day to know. Maybe one day when I have a second in command trained up properly I shall go on a quest to seek the truth of his past! i don’t want to tread too much on his privacy, but if I am to marry the man- which he wants- I should know a little something of his past. I wouldnt even care if he fled his home due to being a crazed killer or something. Not likely I am sure, but still. Knowing SOMETHING would be nice.
Samden and Izamala are under discipline again. This time it was a wasp hive in one of the dormitories. Some of the older boys were picking on Izamala since she is small and cant swing a sword well. So they retaliated. Our medics were all a fuss working on healing 20 boys with multiple stings. Really. This place! Kids these days! I would have stuck to dye in the soap or dung in the linens at their age! I had to be extremely harsh with them since we nearly lost a boy to the stings. And he wasn’t even one of Izamala’s tormentors. he just happened to be assigned to the same dorm. Poor Phedal. I offered to send him home but he refused. He said he wanted to stay and learn. To become a great hero like Master Verse and I. I laughed at him and said, “Boy, I was a wandering sword for hire who happened to take the wrong job at the wrong time! Then had to clean up one mistake after another with a group of rejects who became my friends. We are no heroes. But thanks for the compliment anyway.” He smiled and nodded, but that look in his eyes. Kinda scary. I placed him on sick leave for a week and had him return to classes after reassigning him to another dormitory.
We have some emissaries from the Aznezian Temples coming to look at some of the more advance students in a week. I think most of the potentials are great but need more training before heading to them. Maybe I just don’t to loose any of the kids yet. I don’t know. But if they are deemed good enough to further training, then I will be proud. Aznez owes me one! We are hard on them, but not as hard as the temples in their training. At least these kids will last longer and have a better chance of surviving the initial training they will get thru the temples. And they will be educated soldiers too. OH MY! I should probably pay the clerics from the temples of Aznez when the arrive! We still owe them! By the Gods! I know none of the others have! i will make it seem that it was all part of my plan. “By the way Cleric, I know my old party and I have a debt to your temple and was waiting on the chance to pay you back. Here is the payment in full.” I have to get with Verse, I know he has the exact total written down some where. It was 1,400 gold…or was it 14,000 gold? No wonder the letter inquiring a visit to view the students seemed so cold and nasty really. Well I will show them! HA!
I should have Nissa remind me of that. She is a good secretary tho she is flighty. Poor girl has gone arse over tea kettle for one of the instructors here. He is fighting it, it seems. But she chats about him all the time. “If you can get Master Verse to fall for you then I can get Parathen to fall for me.” Is what she told me once. I nearly choked on my tea that morning! “By the Gods girl! If only you KNEW what I went thru! And I had some divine help. Continuators are tough to crack.” I told her. She now has an idol to Ajetar on her desk! Maybe I should have a talk with Parathen? See where he stands with matters of Nissa and the heart. Am I to play match maker now as well?

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Late Spring yr 2: Student Invasion
Late Spring yr 2: Student Invasion

Three weeks since we got our students, all 213 of them. They have been sorted into dorms by age and we are sussing out talents. We have had a few trouble makers, but Jorgen has dealt with them and has a system in order to deal with further…incidents. Two younglings had decided that placing Itch Weed in the padded armor on the practice field was a great idea. Well they learned quickly Jorgen has no sense of humor. After 4 days of digging holes and scrubbing pots, they apologized for their antics. Tho I think we should expect more from these two in the future. Samden Thogard and Izamala Crayward will be thorns in my side and headaches for some time to come me thinks. They have that glint in their eyes that reminds me of Durc and that…is not good. Great students, but hooligans to the core. Izamala has a knack for archery like I have never seen and Samden has high marks in all his academics. They are thick as thieves those two. They are in the mid age group. Samden is 13 and Izamala is 11. Both were sent by tired and flabbergasted parents. I can see why! I am pretty sure they are responsible for the toads in the bath house too. That was just yesterday. We all noticed something was wrong when a throng of female students came running and screaming from the bathhouse followed by a battalion of green hopping toads. One poor girl, Kisra Malk, fainted as one hopped on to her boot! She, sadly, has a weak constitution. But is amazing with histories. I think in a few years I will transfer her to the Spire for continued studies.
Verse has history lectures once a week in the great hall. He loves it. He and some of the younger Continuators have taken to weapons training 3 times a week. Its starting to show on him. Not to my dismay either! We started them with a “How your book can be a weapon” then branched out.He seems to be getting the hang of the short sword. At first the elders of the main Spire thought their people getting weapons training was a bad idea. “We record history, we dont make it.” was their stance. Then Verse and I explained, “How can you record history if you’re dead because you couldn’t defend yourself? Or defend your book?” That got them thinking, then they agreed. Some, sadly are hopeless. But some have real promise. Verse is starting to gain some muscle mass. He is changing from that scrawny 19 year old I first met in the kobald infested tunnels under Shard into quite a strapping man. And he has a free evening tomorrow….
Anyway, the schools furniture and some of the Spires was purchased from Jax at a drastic discount. Verse office desk was another gift. That man is really nice…if you are on his good side. I have heard things about the new Fades Guild Master that would make your toes curl. I am sure some is just rumor for reputation but other stuff…I can believe.
Ronin’s school is set to open in a few months. Its situated in the Red Desert near Antex. I think Delunea won’t let him too far from home. Plus the twins will be amongst the first students. I think she will be teaching there as well. I guess in the near future there will be more necromancers then there have been in centuries. Kinda worrisome since not all that many decent people are drawn to that kind of magics. But Delunea says she has a strict weeding out policy for the crazy and corrupt. We shall see. Here comes Nissa with more papers to sign and I have a class in a hour.

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Winter yr 2: learning and building
Winter yr 2: learning and building

The Spire has been filled for months now with new continuators learning every day. Verse is so proud of it. He had put in for someone from the old spire to run the place but they gave the position to him. He was dumbfounded. I told him he should have expected it since it was his resources that started the place. Its his “baby”. Building it from the sand up. He humbly took the position and has made the running of the place impeccable. I usually only see him at night, and not every night either. Its tough. So used to having him there with me. Oh well. I myself am busy most nights. Finalizing paperwork, making sure everything is in order for the first students in a couple of months. Got most of the staff in place. Jorgen has been hired as a hand to hand instructor and a teacher on the finer arts of discipline. He has a thick Mountains accent. Sometimes its hard to follow. But I am sure his, presence, will be more then enough to get most kids in line. And its amazing how organized he is. You know if he had a bulls head he would look just like….nevermind.
I wonder how Linda is doing? Havent seen hide nor hair of the sisters since we got Ageto “unstuck”. I miss her. I have taught some of the Staff the “joys” of Droika, but its not the same without Linda. Its a good thing our school medic knows how to make Alchemist’s Mercy!
I received letters from Jax’s wife announcing the upcoming arrival of a new little thief in their household. Also, Delunea wrote telling us of the birth of a new “little Sparrow”. Are jax and Ronin keeping score? Two each now. Speaking of Sparrows, I heard from one that Gorag has a child now too. No real details, but something about acting with face paint and him having a wife and a son. Its too bad letters to him would never reach him. Orcs are to nomadic for post. I also ran into Galdeion two weeks back while on Antares ordering supplies. Seems that Fat Cleric is now High Fat Cleric of the Temples of Ehmbyr in the Blue! That git has his own temple now! Those poor bastards under him! I want to pull them all aside and say “Don’t listen to him! He will come up with some way to END THE FREAKING WORLD!” But alas, I cant step on his toes like that. But Mark my words! One day I will get a knock on my door and Coal will have done SOMETHING that we need to help clean up! Even Verse agrees!

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