The three Great Ones seated themselves beneath a canopy of black, and the trumpets sounded again. Out from the houses built against the wall of the courtyard to the south, came a stream of priests to join the gathering. Each man collected a small group of boys around him, and the first round of questioning began. After an hour, the priests and novices touched the shoulders of every boy who was to stay for the next test; about half of each group from the artisans and the poor group. But Kor-Sen saw that the rich boys of the noble caste, who had been tested by elder priests rather than novices, were all sent away, wreathed in smiles, and each bearing a rolled up scroll of parchment, a written promise of a place at the school. All the rejected aspirants from the lower classes were sent home, some weeping bitterly. When the remaining candidates were gathered together, about forty boys, Kor-Sen saw that the earnest youngster who wished to be a priest had survived for the next test. Slates were issued for an examination of writing skills and knowledge of runes.