It was the vernal equinox – the Planting Festival; another winter was fading, and crops were in the ground in preparation for a rich harvest in later months. Irishal Mastrieth, though not directly concerned with the planting, found himself with much more to celebrate than usual: he, the youngest of Master Farion’s students in the arcane arts, was also the only one deemed fit to graduate – not only was he no longer an apprentice, he was leaving that state before people who’d been studying for twice as long! Master Farion had said this and that about talent, but inwardly, Irishal wasn’t sure that a good portion of that wasn’t merely focus; he’d spent more time concentrating on his studies than had some of his fellow pupils, and this was his reward for it. Now, instead of a bunk in the cramped apprentice quarters, he had a house of his own, with a yet-largely-vacant workshop to call his.

And he was going there with a beautiful woman and dear friend, one who hadn’t minded his indulgence in the no-longer-forbidden pleasure of wine. One who’d seemed eager for a bit of privacy with him.

Who could yet say? Perhaps the farmers wouldn’t be the only ones sowing seed today. (more…)