Protocol and Translation
We choose the nobles and mages.
Sometimes, nobles remind you of pigeons. Same strut. Same beady little eyes. Same puffed-up attitudes.
And same inward-facing circles, impossible to break into.
For a few moments, you lurk around the edges, smiling brightly whenever someone glances your way and offering enthusiastic laughter when a joke rings out. A few lords and ladies glance your way with raised eyebrows—you haven't really mastered the subdued, aristocratic chortle—but no one invites you into conversation.
Standing there, all dressed for the ball, you feel very small and very silly.
Then from behind you, a voice says, "Well, well. I do believe we've met."
You turn to find the Queen's Scholar from earlier this afternoon. She's added an academic hood and gown to her gray mage's robes. The red trim denoting her status still displays prominently. She twists the stem of a wineglass between her fingers.
"It's good to see you again! I don't believe we were introduced properly, though," she says. "It was all very fast. For real, now—my name is Melusine."
"And I'm Rosalee," you answer.
Melusine eyes you over the rim of her glass. "So, you seemed quite interested in the Mages College."
"No, I only…"
Her look stops you.
1."I'm interested in the College on a purely theoretical level."
2."It's only because my grandmother Laudine was a mage."
3."Mages rank high, right? I ought to be familiar with them."
4."I knew a hedge wizard in Bourg-les-Bains. He got me interested."