‘Great game! I should never have given up glowball.’ Pitren Warvel, the picture of youthful health and exuberance, slapped his quieter friend on the back.
Edwae Geslin’s answering smile was weak. ‘You’re only saying that because we won.’
‘That doesn’t hurt,’ Tren agreed with untouched cheer. ‘That’s your doing, of course. You were always the best at the Academy.’
‘Not at all,’ Ed demurred. Tren shook his head, smiling, but he didn’t argue. Ed was shorter then he was, his frame slight and not at all robust. Self-effacing by nature, he was inclined to interpret these physical characteristics as grave flaws; but glowball favoured those with agility, dexterity and strong sorcerous talent as much as those with brute strength, and in these areas Edwae excelled.
‘Come on,’ said Tren. ‘I’ve just got time to catch a bit of the next game, if we hurry.’
‘Oh? Someplace else to be?’ Ed followed as Tren made for the door, weaving his way through the untidy rows of glowball players still changing out of their games attire.
‘I’m on Cloak duty tonight,’ Tren said over his shoulder.
‘Oh? I thought it was Mern’s night?’
‘Had to go to the infirmary. I’m standing in for her.’ Stepping out into the air, Tren breathed deep. It was one of those crisp, fresh nights, invigoratingly clear. The moon, half full, hung low on the horizon. Tren took careful note of its position.
‘Nothing serious, I hope?’ Ed caught up again as Tren turned back towards the games fields. The sounds of the game carried far in the still air: a roar from the crowd followed by a burst of applause. Tren quickened his step.
‘She didn’t say,’ he replied with a shrug. ‘Didn’t seem troubled though.’
‘I’d have thought you would know.’ Ed cast him a meaningful glance.