I wanted to get home, away from pushy writers and, for all I loved him, Ailadas’s friends and colleagues. It was just Rim sunset by now as I pushed wearily off the University grounds, turning the same route I had skated so many times before. It was even the same route I’d skated the day I’d stormed out of the Chancellor’s office, just before I met Chevenga. I felt as if that all had happened a millennium ago.
The doves circling and cooing and roosting along the Avenue of Statuary fluttered away from the small disturbance of our wheels, with no express-chair whistle to blast them away from us with a harsh clap of wings. There were still people out, though not the ant-hill press of mid-day. The crowd was mostly people finishing up their work late, or having done so heading out to a cookshop or wine-shop or public house with the family.
Up above, high enough to still be in sunlight, courier’s wings dropped toward the landing patches in the city, from the Marble Palace to the private carrier groups all on the Rim.
I could only see the four closest of my security, Joras and Ilarnas at my back, Boras Kununien in front Ruboras, newly hired on point, far ahead of him. The others would be around. I wanted to bathe, and then maybe swim… and then pray and see if I could get a bit more equanimity in my heart for having failed. I’d wanted it quite a bit more than I had pretended, even to myself.
I’d just crested the high point of the bridge, my wheels just going over a minor bump in the express lane and was going to just coast down, in the shadow of the Lions. Professor Boreanas had made a good point that if I seriously wished to gain any kind of Leaf at all, much less a Professorial Crown, I had to begin from a far less controver--
There was an odd noise behind me. I tried to brake but was on the downslope, beginning to turn to look back but saw Ruboras… he ran into something, twitched and his head popped right off, his body kept on for another two strides before toppling over, a double fountain of blood --- Joras bellowed, “MINIS GET DOWN!”
My apologies for the short post... I've been on the road all day in the pouring rain. I'm tired.