[ a little melancholy music opens the episode.]

JENNA: Dear Dad,

 

I miss you. I hope you’re not too lonely and you’re finding something to do with yourself. I’ve been here literally two days and honestly it feels like a week. I guess that’s to be expected any time you’re in a new place. And yet… this place is very different from Flussmir High. Very different. It’s going to be a long time before I really feel settled in.

 

[Electromancy theme]

NARRATOR: Electromancy, created by Nathan Comstock. Episode 3- Orientation Seminar

 

JENNA:So much has happened, I’m not even sure where to begin. Let’s start with my roommates. I have two of them. First, there’s Ellie. Ellie is… remember Marjory Canton in third grade? She sort of reminds me of her. She’s always so upbeat. And sometimes she goes on just a little too long...

 

[Ellie's theme plays over this monologue]

ELLIE: - I mean, honestly, like even if I was attracted to him, which, like, ew, but even if I was I think I’m done dating lightning mages. It’s just like still so awkward with Amal, like I have to see him in the common room all the time. And I really don’t want to date an ice mage because it is so cold around them. And I have, like, poor circulation? Like, one time I was in the medical wing, and they, like, wouldn't send me back because my blood pressure  was so low, but it was like, totally fine, that's just like, how I am. So anyway, it seems like there’s a lot of boys here but then when it comes down to it it feels like I’ve already dated most of the good ones, you know? Oh my gods, I just realized I’ve been going on and on and I didn’t even ask you if you liked boys! Oh my gods do you like girls? Honestly like, either way I can set you up, but there’s these two floramancers who just broke up a few weeks ago- a little older than us but they’re both. Gorgeous. So, like you know, if that’s more your speed… [fades out]

JENNA: Though, in her defense, that might just be in response to having had to live all year with our other suite mate, Pem. Pem is… not as easy to figure out.

 

JENNA: Hi. Um, you must be Pem. I’m Jenna, your new suite mate. It’s nice to meet you.

 

PEM: Is it? 

 

JENNA: Ummm…

 

PEM: I’d prefer to wait for more data to make that determination.

ELLIE: We’ve been over this, Pem. Social rituals, remember?

 

PEM: But we only met seconds ago. There hasn’t been time for it to be nice or not nice. I’m - I'm not gonna lie.

 

ELLIE: Sorry, they- we’re working on this. Pem, can we - sidebar?

 

*whispers*

I get that the wording is problematic for you, but that came off incredibly rude.

 

PEM: I’m sorry! It wasn’t meant to be!

 

ELLIE: I know, um can you, like, introduce yourself to her in a way that’s nice but still meets the Pem standard?

 

PEM: Um, yes, I can do that. *stop whispering* Hi, I’m Pem. I live here too. I hope we can be friends.

 

JENNA: Oh, um… I hope that too.

 

ELLIE: See? How hard was that?

 

JENNA: I think I can safely say I’ve never met anyone quite like Pem. Other than my roommates I haven’t had time to make a lot of friends yet. But apparently I’ve made enemies? Someone challenged me to a duel. Yes, you read that right. No, please don’t worry about me - I’m told they have lots of healers on site and they haven’t had a serious dueling-related injury in a long time. Still, I’m doing my best to prepare. An older boy has been trying to help me.

 

LUCAS: The good news is you’ve got a natural advantage in this fight. Brynn’s an illusionist - her whole schtick is making you see things that aren’t there, and miss things that are there. Can’t see her, can’t hit her. Except- you don’t aim lightning. It naturally seeks out the quickest path to the ground, even if that path is through, say a tree, or a cocky upstart photomancer. What I mean is, you won’t need to be able to see her to fry her.

 

JENNA: What’s the bad news?

 

LUCAS: She knows that as well as I do and she still challenged you. So she's clearly planning to cheat. Which is, frankly, unsurprising.

 

JENNA: How do you cheat? I mean, I don’t even know the rules well enough to know what would be breaking them.

 

LUCAS: The rules are designed to make it fair for different kinds of mages to fight each other. But they were also made hundreds of years ago. Technology has changed, and so has what we know about magic. Some obvious updates were made- guns hadn’t been invented when they made these rules, for example. So they stepped in to ban those. But the official magic dueling rules committee is still behind on electronics in general. Which is great for us. Check it.

[we hear an automaton standing up]

 

JENNA: Aw, it’s cute.

 

LUCAS: (a little offended) Cute?

 

JENNA: Yeah, it’s like a little dude. What’s it for?

 

LUCAS: Observe.

 

[Lightning sounds, followed by clanking. The automaton is being animated and controlled by Lucas’s electricity.]

 

JENNA: So I’d be allowed to bring one of those into a duel?

 

LUCAS: As long as you can carry it into the arena. It’s not the only tactic lightning mages take, but it’s a pretty common one.

 

JENNA: I’ll never learn how to control one in just two days though.

 

LUCAS: We’ll never know until we try. Now, we don’t need a big jolt for this kind of work.  Put your hand here. Like that, yeah. Now relax. Deep breath in. One, two, three. Deep breath out. When you’re ready.

 

[lightning blast, followed by the sound of the automaton collapsing on the floor.]

 

LUCAS: That was good. You got it to move anyway. We just need to refine your technique a little.

 

JENNA: (narrating again) You’d think the Royal Institute of Sorcery would spend a lot of time teaching us, well, sorcery, but actually it's only one hour a day. I’ve got a little more right now cause I’m playing catch-up, but mostly it's just.. regular classes. Science, math, history, foreign languages- there’s even an orchestra. So I might take up the salpinette again. Might be a good way to make some friends who aren’t my roommates? I don’t know. I have a little time to decide. Right now my remedial magic classes are taking up both my elective slots. Speaking of which...

 

[More lightning noises]

 

KATYA: Too strong, Jenna. You have to learn precise energy level control before we move on to more advanced techniques. There is more to being a lightning mage than just shooting lightning at people. Otherwise we would not need a whole school for it. But first you must master the basics. Let’s take a break from the practical and move back to the theoretical. Now open your book to chapter three. Magnetic fields. What is a magnetic field?

 

JENNA: Did I mention that a ton of Electromancy is just physics? Which was never a strong subject of mine, as you remember. But I guess I need it now. I’m glad Lucas is helping me learn some combat magic, since I don’t think Ms. Harper is going to let me get there anytime soon. She said the duel is a silly waste of time and I shouldn’t have taken the bait. Tried to get the Dean to step in and stop the whole thing, but apparently there’s some very old rules that prevent that?

Honestly, I wish he had managed to stop it. That would've let both of us save face. I don’t really have time to prepare for this stupid thing. But what was I gonna say? No? I would’ve looked like a coward. That’s not the first impression I wanted to make around here. But I’m starting to feel like there’s no really good outcome.  This girl, Brynn- on the one hand, she’s a bit of an outcast, but on the other hand she’s the outcast all the other outcasts rally around. So not a good person to make friends with right away, but also not a great enemy to have. Especially when you’re already in a position where everyone’s either shunning you, sucking up to you, or both.

 

Oh yeah, I didn’t mention that part. Apparently I’m-

 

[The dean's theme plays over this interjection.]

DEAN: Terribly sorry, Mr. Donovan, but this part of your daughter's correspondence has been redacted for reasons of national security. While we strive to allow our students to maintain robust relationships with their families, it wouldn’t do to have information about the exact strength of our mage corps just floating around where foreign agents could gain access to it. Again, many apologies.

 

JENNA: So yeah. That kind of sucks. 

 

What else is there to tell you about? 

 

My history teacher, Professor Sumner, is pretty cool. He’s got a pretty strict curriculum he has to follow, but he still finds ways to put his own spin on it.

 

LEONARD: If you’ll turn in your books to chapter eighteen, hilariously inaccurately titled “the liberation of Southern Wentonia.” Let me tell you, I have spent some time in Southern Wentonia and the people there certainly don’t consider themselves “liberated.” But as I’ve said before, this book is by someone who has never even tried to consider a non-Oswerian perspective, and my job is to teach the text, so here we are. Alright, in order to understand the context for the invasion - sorry, liberation, little slip of the tongue there, the liberation of Southern Wentonia we have to go a little bit farther back…

 

JENNA: Most of my classes are actually pretty boring though. I mean, math is math, and magic doesn’t seem to have anything to say about that. Same formulas and equations we were studying back home. In fact I’m actually a little ahead of the class they put me in, which I’m not gonna complain about because I have so much to catch up on on the magic front.

 

Although of course I can’t neglect math because Lightning magic kind of needs it. There’s calculations to be made about voltage and resistance and I guess you can’t just feel your way through them. Not sure if all magic is this mathy or if I just got unlucky. I suppose I’ll find out before too long though.

 

Everyone here is crazy about Pazik. Lucas says I might be able to make it on the lightning mage team this year, but honestly I’m not sure I even want to. Might want to just focus on my grades and join up next semester. I don’t really want to take a spot from someone - enough people already hate me for no reason. Though if I don’t join and we lose- well, I kinda feel like I’d be disappointing someone either way.

 

I haven’t forgotten about the present you gave me, but I also haven’t had much time to figure out how to use it. I know I’m going to need to make some friends who aren’t lightning mages, but I don’t know exactly how to do that yet. Maybe by the time I come back for the holidays I’ll know a little more. 

 

It’s strange, but… especially now, with everything so new, I find myself missing mom. I mean, I miss you too, obviously, but I just feel like mom would… know what to do? Like, she’d be able to tell me about this place. Help me survive it. I know it’s crazy to think about, I just… can’t help but feel if she were still around - if you still had her- all of this would be a little less lonely. For both of us. If we hadn’t only had each other all this time.

 

It’s weird to say it’s lonely when there’s so many people around all the time. But I still feel like I’m from a completely different world, you know? I mean, I am. Lots of people seem like they want to be my friend, and I don’t know which ones I can trust. Ellie and Pem both seem… genuine, at least. Each in their own way. Lucas is a very different question. And this Brynn. Is she just always going to hate me?

 

So that’s what I’ve got so far. I’ll definitely write you to let you know how the duel goes. I miss you, I love you, and I hope you’re doing okay.

 

May the Gods watch over us while we are apart.

 

Love

Jenna


Narrator: Electromancy is written, produced and directed by Nathan Comstock. This episode was sound designed by Hedley Knights with music by Thomas Dwyer. It starred Azul Nova as Jenna, Austin Hendricks as Ellie, Sena Bryer as Pem, Aubrey Poppleton as Lucas, Zachary Robb as Dr. Leonard Sumner, Karim Kronfli as Dean Ventrassi, and Kira Apple as Katya Harper. You can find out more about us at www.electromancypod.com. If you enjoyed this episode, please write a review on Apple podcasts or tell your friends about us! We’ll be back with another episode in 2 weeks.