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and if she thought that leaving those flowers pressed in the tome would work, she was right. By the gods, I thought that years of books and tutelage and learning would be enough to prepare me for anything, for the world of troubles and problems that I might eventually have to solve, and they did not. Nothing could have prepared me for her, sitting on a hill and waiting for me as the sun came down, the wind teasing out the red-brown hair that flowed like wine and water, so long for it had never touched a blade in its life. She laughed and it smelled like apples smell, she smiled and it sounded like birds in spring. I only came to test her aptitude to spellcraft, and in those scant seconds before we spoke to one another I nearly fell so far into her eyes that I could not hope to escape. How could a force as strong as this exist? Am I just a fool, in a line of fools that spans the centuries? Disarmed though I was, I carried out my duty appointed task. She laughed and told me that she had no desire to lead a life of craft and books, and study, to forsake life as it is lived for life as it might be. And looking into her eyes, I could not come to find her at fault. There is a world out there that is different from one that we of the Scholia lead. I walked away from that world some time ago. And only once, when I met her, have I ever had cause to regret that decision.