Excerpts from the Diary of Selena Troyson

So follows several abridged excerpts from the diary of Selena Troyson uncovered in the late winter of 8630.

— the Scribe


November 28, 8606

… I finally got news from home! Trevor was [at Tunlen Castle] running a seminar on the “Glass” — his new p-charm comms device — and no one will sit with us ‘youngsters’, so he found me in the mess hall over supper today and we talked… According to Donna [Oakens], Candace’s been on a warpath all semester. Can’t say it’s unexpected. For one, she’s become the Arduann’s v’risage overnight. All the pressure that had been on Hadley to impress the Timewalker and become her protégée… It’s on her now. Except she’s not even Exceptional, she won’t even set foot in headquarters for another 2 years…

It’s great being here, I’m not saying it isn’t, for as hard as basic training has been… Still, I think Candace needed me this semester. I just hope she’s not mad that I couldn’t be there for her.


December 23, 8606

… Gillian is a little upset with me because I promised her we’d go riding around the lake, but Candace came over first thing in the morning and didn’t leave till it started snowing… [Candace and I] spent the whole morning in the west-wing drawing room so that she could ask about Exceptionals training… and of course she wanted to know about Hadley. She kept asking if I could get her the records, or anything to explain why the Kadans wanted her on that mission to Greshelm…

By the time she left, she was more frustrated than when she’d arrived. She wanted to hear that Autumn knew the mission would go wrong, that Hadley was set up so that Autumn would be the only contender in line to be the next Master. I’ve never seen her so — obsessed. It’s not as though she hadn’t already made up her mind about Autumn, the incident on Greshelm has just given her more ammunition, a lens through which to focus her emotions.

I know it’s hard for her, what happened to Hadley. But I hope she gets over it, especially since she’s started her Duenotic studies proper. Who knows what she’ll think to do with the Arts at her fingertips — given it’s Candace, who knows what she’ll do with what she thinks she knows about the Arts. That probably makes her even more dangerous.


December 27, 8606

I ran into Jan in the common room, she filled me in on all the gossip from the first semester — I shouldn’t complain, I know, but it is unfortunate I had to miss the first semester at the Manor School with my friends… Candace has been ‘gathering Hallers’, according to [Jan], anyone who even remotely thinks Autumn is a fraud, and of course all of us on the Hyrése side of Shailen Road don’t really have a choice. I’m not convinced Candace will take it that far, we of the Witch’s year have always been friends after all. She won’t destroy that —

At least, I think she wouldn’t…


December 28, 8606

There was a huge fight on the outer field today; Kenneth [Tarryn] said that there has never been in-fighting like this in the entire history of Trench Hall…

During first semester, [the first years] made the Drop on the east side of the Hall the new hole-by-the-wall. After today, I don’t know if it’ll still be our spot… By suppertime, everyone arrived back for the new semester, even Autumn. She brought a box of keiteh like she does every year after Solstice break, and everyone was all over them as usual… so Candace was practically fuming the entire time. Not all things change with time I suppose…

… There was very little I could actually tell them about [my basic training], so they had to be satisfied with Autumn’s vouching for how I’d done. Candace was very quick to fill the gap in the conversation. She’d spent her Solstice break with her Duenotic master for fundamental training, so eagerly showed off every Elemental Manipulation spell she’d learnt as dramatically as she could…

Of course, it’s difficult to impress our friends, especially having seen what Autumn and Charlene can do, which was very distressing for Candace… And when [we] lost interest, she decided it was a good idea to test her ‘natural ability’ with Chelsea Watson’s legacy… Harding immediately said that she was crazy to think she’d even find a knife out of vision — he’s to take responsibility for egging her on like that.

She tried it anyway, of course, and at first nothing happened. Some of them started laughing at her, and I think it was Tyler said Autumn could probably do it… but anyway he didn’t mean it, though Candace thought he did, and before you knew it, she was going off on Autumn… [Autumn] seemed to ignore her for the most part, but you could see in her eyes that she was annoyed a little I think, though I’m not sure if she was more annoyed that Candace was challenging her ability or that it was the longest discussion regarding Chelsea Waston we’d had in a while.

As always, Autumn wouldn’t even lift a finger. She never had to, she knew all of us, except Candace I suppose, knew what she was capable of. Candace wasn’t satisfied… so she tried again, so hard her eyes narrowed to slits almost, and out of nowhere this knife came flying in, and Harding was keeled over screaming bloody murder when it plunged itself deep into his back.

That, [Candace] certainly hadn’t intended, and I think Autumn was just as surprised. But she sprung into action at once, grabbed the handle of the blade and it dissolved into nothing immediately… She did what she could to take care of the wound, but nurse said [his lungs will] never be 100% again…

Anyway, while Harding was being whisked off to the infirmary, Candace rapidly turned to self-defense, which came with equal portions of guilt driven defiance that ‘she hadn’t meant it’, and aggressive deflection on Autumn. Only this time, the others seemed less content to just let her run her mouth. I suppose they’d been listening to her all semester…

Diann called Kenneth to help break up the fight. We’d an audience by then, and somewhere in the middle of things, Autumn’d slunk away… Everyone, not just our year, everyone at the Hall’s been talking about it since. I even overheard some of the fourth years screaming at each other in the common room that Autumn was or wasn’t a menace…

… It wasn’t even Autumn that stabbed Harding, but no one seems to care about the details.


January 7, 8607

… I think Diann’s going to do it… So far as I heard, Thomas Szeto wrote to Headmistress Arduann directly, livid that Harding was so badly wounded. And with all the vandalism, the fights, people getting hurt — [Miss Ephans]’s been backed into a corner.

We were up late in the common room talking about it. She doesn’t like the idea of segregating the Hall… We have always been special at Trench Hall, the only dormitory at the Manor School with a distinct, unified identity. After a long history of squabbling over power and breaking through internal class barriers, the Hall was the one place where no matter what sort of nobility you were, you were one of us. We all saw the Order the same, understood the politics of Valleyton from the same perspective…

What the Headmistress is proposing is particularly asinine, because she wants separation by loyalties. It’ll turn into Hyrése versus the rest, because the Arduanns are the only ones who care, and none of us on this side of Shailen Road have the means to stand up against them. It only exacerbates the rift further, when we should at least be trying to find common ground. Maybe we are no different than the commonfolk…

And I’ll be stuck with Candace of course,… Hadley understands, she found a way to break the cycle. Maybe I’ll be able to help change [Candace’s] perspective. It’s the least I can do for Autumn.