Nathanya stood on the small platform outside the gates surrounding the grounds of the School Halls. Zachren Vogan, Eamon Tardan and Delmon Bodshiel were all still muttering threats as the Journeymen in charge pushed them to the motorised wagon. Once they were settled in their seats, with the journeymen flanking them, Nathanya stepped down and walked back into the school grounds. He still had Taunilyn to deal with, and that would be hard.
Taunilyn stood in the workroom, looking out the window, watching his three tormenters leave. He should be happy to know he wouldn’t have to deal with them again, yet he felt nothing but dejection. He had been expecting to assemble his mandolin today, and had been so sure it would pass inspection. Now it was nothing but stained scraps of wood, and he would have to start over again. Making it, being so careful that each piece was shaped perfectly, had been a great strain, and had left him with an arm and hand that ached continuously. He wasn’t sure he could do it all again. Where could he go? He remembered no home but the school, living with Healer Jordanth. He sighed, resting his forehead against the window glass, shoulders sagging, as a tear slid down his cheek.
Nathanya paused at the door, his heart going out to the boy at the window. Stepping back, he walked in again, this time being sure his steps were heard. He watched as Tuani straightened and surreptitiously wiped his cheek, before turning.
“Good morning, Taunilyn,” Nathanya said. “I have gathered all the parts that Zachren, Eamon and Delmon started, and saved the neck of your mandolin, it was not damaged. It will save you time in remaking yours, but you will have plenty of time to work on that. As of now, you are advanced to Apprentice First Class. I saw your work before they got at it, and I know it would have passed with flying colours. Everything is in that box. Keep what you think you can use, and throw the rest in with the discards.”
Tauni stared, then a smile crept across his face, and his eyes sparkled. “Oh, Master, do you mean it? I can go on?”
“Yes, Tauni, I mean it. There is no reason why you should suffer because of those miscreants.”
Tauni was going through the pieces of wood in the box, taking out partly shaped mandolin parts, and the stained neck he had made. There would be much less work to correct the poor workmanship on those pieces, so he could soon have a good mandolin. He lifted two pieces out, examining them carefully. They had been meant as necks, but were badly misshaped. Turning to Nathanya, he held them up. “Master, may I have these, too, I can make a really good set of pan pipes from them!”
“Certainly, Tauni, use anything in that box that you think you can make into something. Now, put what you are keeping in the other box, and off you go to class. Master Natamys knows you will be joining her class, playing woodwinds. In fact, if you make the panpipes, you will pass one of the requirements. Now, off you go!” Nathanya smiled, and left the boy to gloat in private.
Caravan to Far Fields Barony
Zachren sulked through the whole three day journey, building up all his grievances to pour out to his father when he got home. He looked up as the caravan pulled into the courtyard in front of the manor, and was out as soon as Journeyman Behedrey was out of his way. However, when he started to run to the front steps, Behedrey grabbed his arm.
“Take your bags, or they will be thrown out.” He growled.Zachren sullenly complied, and they walked into the front hall, where his father stood waiting.
“Baron Rayhan, I have been instructed by Master Nathanya, master of the music school, to return your son to you, and to give you this.” Behedrey held out a sealed packet. The Baron took it, frowning.
“Thank you, Journeyman Behedrey. Can you tell me why Zachren has come home?”
“All I can say is that he has been permanently expelled, Sir. I believe Mater Nathanya has explained in those papers. If I may be excused, Sir? I have to supervise the unloading, and prepare to continue on to the mines.” At the Baron’s nod, Behedrey left.
An hour later, Zachren found himself back in Behedrey charge, heading for the mines, to become an apprentice there. His father had been livid after reading Nathanya’s report, and would hear no excuses from his son. “You have disgraced the family, the name, and me!” he roared. “If you can’t behave properly in the more civilized atmosphere of the school, you can go to the mines. And don’t think your Mother will be able to help you this time. Now, pick up your bags, and leave!”
At Oceanside Barony
Baron Makrov Tardan put down the papers Journeyman Kadrell had given him, and faced his son. “Eamon, you have disgraced all of Oceanside Barony. You will go with Journeyman Kadrell and become an apprentice at the fisheries. Nothing you can say can excuse such cruel and malicious behaviour. Take your bags, and go. Some day, I may be willing to acknowledge you as my son, but not now!”
At Mountain View Barony
Baron Brummond Bodshiel studied his youngest son with disgust. “You are a disgrace to the family. I will not have you in this house; go with Journeyman Dunabur to the mines as his apprentice. Perhaps some hard work will rub off some of the foolishness your Mother encouraged. I will come up in a couple of months to see how you are doing. Go, now!”