Sesskia’s Diary, part 181

28 Nevrine, dawn

I didn’t realize, when Nessan said he’d be putting the spies through the training course, that he was including me in the group. I hadn’t even thought about it, hadn’t really thought about what I’d be doing when it comes time for combat, because so much of my efforts have been directed toward teaching the other mages. But the truth is I’m still a better thief than I am at any of the individual pouvrin; despite my range with the fire pouvra, my skill seems to be my ability to learn pouvrin quickly and, if the binding pouvra is any indication, I might be good at creating them from th’an. None of which is as useful to the military as my ability to sneak into places where people might try to kill me.

And that course is brutal. Nessan believes in treating every exercise as if it’s the real thing—smart, I think, at least in principle. In reality, it makes for painful training. I had to use every trick I know and the flitting pouvra to keep from being caught by his traps. The pouvra surprised him, and I think he would have called it an unfair advantage if he believed in such things. He’s more suspicious and paranoid than I am, squeezes every ounce of advantage out of whatever situation he’s in, and I really like him, the sneaky bastard.

My spies weren’t so lucky; all of them were caught at some point, though Nessan approves of Rutika, or at least that’s how I interpret his being harder on her than the others. They’ve all learned things, and what I’m happiest about is knowing they won’t ever be caught by those traps again. Other ones, that’s a different story. I’m satisfied with their ability to move quietly, though Nessan’s not going to let up until they can walk across five feet of dry leaves with hardly a crackle. (I wouldn’t bother doing it stealthily; I’d make it sound like I was a harmless squirrel.)

When we were done, Nessan just grunted and walked away, saying over his shoulder, “Tonight again. Don’t eat so heavily, you were all moving like pigs in wallow.” I think that means he doesn’t completely despair of us, or he just wouldn’t come back. So that’s something, anyway.

I’m going to have to figure out a way to get more sleep, if I’m going to be training mages all day and training spies all night.