After his father’s hasty departure, the servants led Kal to get refreshed for dinner, which was served in the small dining room, (it seated just fewer than 300 people). The small dining room was used when there were no formal dinners of state. Kal took a seat in the seat next to the head, already aware that he would be dining alone. His father usually supped with whichever official he was meeting at the time.
Kal spent the rest of the day alone, going to bed long before his father was done with his work. In the morning the servants got him ready for the day and served his breakfast to him in his bedchamber. His father was long gone, having gotten up at dawn like always. Kal was bundled up and escorted to the tower in the city for a new day of lessons.
At the tower Shershah was waiting for him with a wide grin on his face, some new mischief already planned. Kal forced himself to set down the heavy feeling of gloom he had been carrying since yesterday, and joined his friend in conspiring to escape into the city after their lessons. “We’ll visit the fae in the Orange Woods; they always have the best cakes.” Whispered Shershah excitedly as they settled into their chairs in the classroom; however they never got a chance to enact any of his excited plans.
For that was the day that they met Akyl. Akyl was a new student at the tower, looking for an apprenticeship with one of the Wizards. That was not so unusual, what was unusual was the manner of his arrival, for he appeared suddenly midair in the middle of the boy’s history lesson with Master Dahi. What was even more remarkable was that he was unconscious and dripping blood. Lessons were cancelled for the day, with all the masters crowding round the prone form of the unknown boy, casting spells of diagnostics and healing.
The boys had been unceremoniously ejected from the room and were now observing the proceedings through a peephole located in the corner of the room. This particular hole could only be reached by climbing through the secret passageways about the tower.