[Story] Fairsong Academy – Irael’s Letter

“Let me see it,” Irael’s mother said, untying the scarf that held her hair back. She’d been working in the toy shop this week, painting wooden faces onto hawkstriders and lynxes. Irael’s mother liked this job because she could sit down, and she got to go home in the evenings. Hopefully the work would last for a long time.

Irael gave her mother the letter that the headmaster had written for her. “Look,” she said. “It even says it’s not a joke, there at the bottom.”

Her mother sighed. “Well of course it’s going to say that, do you think they’d tell people if they were stealing children!”

“They aren’t,” Irael protested. “There was a girl right there. If she was stolen, wouldn’t she run away?”

Irael’s mother started washing the vegetables for their dinner. Irael was tired of vegetables. The headmaster said they got to eat cake every night. Her stomach rumbled at the thought of it. “Not if she was under a spell!”

“It’s not that kind of magic. Look,” Irael said, taking out the other flyer from her pocket. It was folded up, but the words and etchings were still visible. “Specialized instructors in the schools of fire, arcane, and frost magic. Electives in enchanting and painting. General education classes available. It’s a real school! They wouldn’t make this if they were just trying to steal people.”

Her mother frowned, slicing a turnip. “I don’t know, Irael, it’s so fancy.”

Her heart sank a little. She’d had the same thought. All of the other students would be rich, or at the very least, not from the Row. They’d have fancy notebooks and pens and probably a hundred robes. The headmaster said he’d buy those things, but the other students would know anyway. They always did. Irael could imagine what they’d say about her — especially if they saw the answers to her application. Of course she did things to make money sometimes, she had to if she wanted to eat. Most of it she saved, so she could study magic for real one day. Now the day was here, if she was brave enough — and if her mother agreed to it. “I know,” Irael sighed. “But he said you can come and see it, like a tour. Then you’ll see it’s a real school. Please? He only gave this letter to one person, he said. It’s probably my only chance ever.”

Irael’s mother set the knife down and wiped her hands off on her apron. “All right. But you’ll write to me every week and tell me how it’s going. And tell the truth or I’ll know.”

“I will!” Irael said, jumping down off the stool. “I’m going to go pack right now!”

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