Adara Triskittenion has been admitted to the school of her dreams, Dorrance Academy, the premier magical research university of the Commonality of the Timeless. Her objective: Become a faculty member and stay forever. Her family, House Triskittenion, the Hall of the Three Kittens, still has claims on her time. For most of the year she has books to read, courses to ace, but first that trivial test of combat magic skill, the Practical Exercise.
Readers are perhaps familiar with fictional magical academies allegedly modeled after English Public (meaning private, boarding) Schools. Dorrance Academy is not one of these places. Dorrance resembles an American research university, except that the ‘science’ majors are fields of sorcery.
A minor authorial aside: As it happens, your author is also a research scientist, a retired physics professor. Once upon a time, many decades ago. I was a student at America’s Dorrance Academy, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I have woven into the tale a fair piece of advice on how to succeed at such a school. If you are headed off to such a place, please keep my advice in mind. You may correctly assume that some of the modest vignettes are lightly disguised real occurrences, including ‘construction line’ and ‘personal self-aggrandizement’.