Karenoran, pouring Berget some more wine, said to her, ‘We have been talking about Kor-Sen, my dear lady, because he is the cleverest boy it has ever been my pleasure to teach.’

Berget looked gratified. ‘Go on, Schoolmaster.’

‘There is no telling what this boy might achieve.  He has a great mind.  Please try to understand that we are only seeking the best for the child!’

Berget nodded, and was about to speak when a dry young voice butted in.  ‘Do you not think, oh respected elders, that it might be a courtesy if you were to inform me of your secret plans for my future?’ All three turned to look at Kor-Sen, sitting up and grinning cheerfully at them.

‘Yes, the boy is right,’ said Dal-Nen.  ‘Listen, Kor-Sen; Karenoran and I want you to seek admission to the Temple School – your mother is angered by the very idea.  What do you think?’

‘I do not like the sound of the priests. Why do you want me to go to them?’

‘Because,’ said Karenoran, ‘whether we like it or not, the temple school is simply the best in this land.  It is the only hope a poor boy has of making anything of himself.



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