Nothing much happened today. Actually it is still early afternoon, and nothing much of interest is going to happen for the rest of the day, or the duodecade, either. So I’m going to sit down and write something that didn’t happen today: the first time I killed anyone on purpose. A mhelvul, specifically. No big surprise; most people I grew up around are mhelvul. (Actually the only people I’ve killed were mhelvul, so far, though I can’t imagine that it’ll stay that way.)
When I was twenty-four, my parents sent me away to Drumet Academy. Incognito — so, wearing a mhelvul shape, and with nobody much supposed to know that I’m me. Drumet isn’t a dragon school. There aren’t any dragon schools on Mhel — there aren’t enough young dragons for there to be any point to a dragon school. We mostly get tutors: mhelvul tutors for things that mhelvul know, and our parents or their friends for dragon things. I can only think of two others who went to schools. Osoth attended Quenhendoom University for, oh, nearly a duodecade I think, studying history and archaeology, and then some off-world necromantic association on and off for another duodecade. Osoth would not wear any shape but his own for any price, though. Chevethna went to Drumet incognito for a few months, but left after Rankotherium punished Ythac for fighting her in a way that he, Rankotherium, didn’t like.
No, three. Arilash attended some academy or other, not incognito, but got into so many scandals so quickly that her parents took her out in a hurry. Nobody would tell me the details.
Drumet is a school for adolescent girl mhelvul of middle and upper castes. So they were either a lot younger than me, or considerably older, depending on how you want to count things. Cterion made sure I mostly thought of them as older.
I was going to pretend to be an adolescent mhelvul of the middle or upper castes myself. Everyone thought this was a good idea. Uruunma thought it would give me an appreciation for small people. Cterion thought it would be excellent practice for my child’s magic (which was potent but slapdash) and my cunning in general (which was just plain slapdash). I thought it would be a lot of fun, and my first chance to do anything much on my own.
Drumet is across the Vorey Sea from home. It’s a nice two-hour flight. I had to be sneaky though. Uruunma taught me the Esrret-Sky-Painted, so I could fly across the sea without any mhelvul noticing. I would usually land in a cove on the beach next to Drumet’s grounds, in the water so I didn’t leave any footprints. Then I’d turn into a seagull and fly around on Drumet’s campus until I found somewhere nobody was watching. (And if you’re wondering why I didn’t fly across the Vorey Sea as a seagull in the first place — once I tried it. I gave up and turned back to myself after five hours, and I wasn’t even halfway to Drumet.)
Then I’d turn into an adolescent mhelvul girl. That was good practice, right there. Turning into a seagull is easy. Seagulls don’t wear any clothes. Drumet Academy girls wear a very modest and dignified orange uniform with green epaulettes, and a small round green hat with an orange pompom, and a Drumet Academy insignia on the chest, and it all has to be right or someone will notice.
Also, seagulls can look different from time to time and nobody much cares. But if a Drumet Academy schoolgirl has greenish tusks one week and bluish the next, everyone will notice. Ordinarily, of course, Drumet girls aren’t allowed to use tusk-dye. The headmaster and a few teachers had been told what I was, and they weren’t about to try to punish me. But the students would guess that something was suspicious.
Of course all the girls knew that something was suspicious. They were all from Pdernuz or nearby, and they all knew each others’ families and clans and history. I didn’t really feel like trying to make up a story about where I came from and whose daughter I was. I was sure to get caught in a lie, and that’s embarrassing. So I just refused to say anything about myself.
I did use my own first name though. Arilash or Ythac would have had to use pseudonyms, because no small people on Mhel have names like that. But my name is just a common mhelvul name which my parents liked. And they were tired of working to find impressive names for their dragonets who kept dying from the Great Separation, so they just gave me a mhelvul name. I have a fancy family name that you can’t mistake for a mhelvul name (Jyothky Tṧŝura-Nwaŏ Meragathium) for special occasions. This wasn’t a special occasion though. It was only small people.