Akiera Windmage looked at the page one more time, studying the words and diagrams carefully. She then closed her eyes and imagined the correct result one last time, gathered her powers and with a sense of finality let loose the power into the channels she had made for it. The result was in front of her, a blot of color in midair shaping itself into something with a big pinkish-orange red globule at one end, a green one in the middle and green the rest of the way. Akiera focused all her will on the colors in front of her,: thinking, be a rose, please be a rose. The colors were swirling and dancing, molding into a certain prescribed shape. It seemed to take forever, but finally the colors stopped moving and she slowly opened her tired eyes. "Yes," she thought, "finally, it worked." Then she peered inside the flower and found that the inside was a bright sky blue with what looked like little silver-gray scissors carefully snipping the sunset colored petals! "Gods, will I ever do anything right!" Akiera moaned. With that her creation simply burst into small particles of magical dust, as if it could not handle the strong mixture of exasperation and disappointment that had flooded the air. The whole of the tiny room, including Akiera, was now coated in a multi-colored dust-like look that Akiera had a distinct feeling would NOT brush off and since in the Vilya Novice Dormitory anyone who made a magical mess-up had to at least try to clean it up, no matter how depressed or over-worked they were presently. That meant she had to clean it up, and now! "How on Nadasar am I going to clean this up? It will obviously not respond to a duster, unless it is a magic duster and if it involves magic I will just make it worse!"

She collapsed on her now pinkish-orange dusted couch to contemplate the matter. She had no idea what she could do. The more she thought about it the more her thoughts turned into an ever-tightening spiral, pulling her deeper and deeper into depression's hold. The thoughts of "once again I'm a failure, I never do anything right," "I can't even clean the mess up", and "If I try then I can get help, but I only make it worse" were chasing each other around in her head.

A few hours later, just as the wind was setting on the city of Termara, Beika, a leneema (a discipline-keeper), looked in on her. She found her in a complete shutdown mode. Beika carefully stepped in, opening the door almost totally by the virtue of her bulk. However, she could still move fairly easily and used this to quietly step in without even being noticed by Akiera, until she put her hand on her slim shoulder and said gently, "What is wrong? I see the room, but why did you not ask for help or at least try?" Akiera totally broke down and was soon sobbing so hard one could barely make out her next words, "If I had tried I would only have made it worse. I can barely do the simple spells, how can I make one up just to clean a mistake up?"

"Well, why don't you let me show you how?" Beika said gently and got a cautious nod, so she continued, "This dust does not come off with hand correct?" another nod in response. "Then, just imagine a little whirlwind that exists only on the magical planes and only sweeps up the fragments of your airglass. Here; this is the basis." And she put the main structure into Akiera's presently wide open mind. Slowly Akiera closed her icicle blue eyes and put the idea into reality. For once, something actually worked! The little particles were slowly swept up, some right through Akiera and Bieka, to swirl in the middle in a whirlwind. With a snap of her mind Bieka pushed the particles back into nothing.

"There, all better, child," she said soothingly. "Now if you need any more help, arrange with Sinta Nostale for extra help in this spell. Now, I order you to dinner and then directly to bed. I will excuse you from your other duties and homework," Beika announced, and then left the room as quietly as she had come.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Akiera went through many of her classes in a daze, worried about the failed spell and Sinta Angren, the teacher for whom it was meant. Sinta Angren had a reputation for being the most unforgiving and most set in his ways of all the Sintas at Temara School of Magery. And boy, did he live up to that reputation. He was much like the iron that was his namesake, once forged, never changing* (Angren means iron). As usual, the walk from the main building to Sinta Angren's room left her frozen and actually kind of happy to be there, because it was warmer inside the small house that doubled as Sinta Angren's classroom and his house than outside. Once inside she scurried to her seat, leaving a trail of snowy footprints on the stone floor and hoping no one would notice she did not have her air-glass with her, but someone did notice. Exasperated, Akiera thought glumly, My luck is definitely out. Not only did just someone notice, but Ancar, the loudest and most annoying novice in the class noticed.

"So, did Little Miss Accident forget her air-glass, or did you not even manage to make it? Again." Ancar drawled, being from the south.

"I had some trouble with it, yes, but nothing time won't fix," Akiera said, attempting at a good comeback.

"I somehow doubt that you will ever get the spell correct," Sanyaria put in, speaking in her noble accent and twirling a strand of her golden hair. "After all it seems to me that you can never get anything else right."

"Well, unlike you, I did not have the advantage of schooling from age two, Sanyaria!" Akiera retorted.

"Stop! I will not have bickering or any other talk besides that related to learning in my classroom!" Sinta Angren thundered in his deep bass voice as he swept into the room, seeming to take up more than he should because of his extreme height. "Class will now begin and if I hear so much as a peep from any of you three you will have five hours after school with me."

"That might actually help me with my present problem," Akiera thought.

"Now, first we shall see who did their glass correctly. Abaltar, good, Allise, fair, but use more of the orange structure next time, Akiera, not there," he paused reflectively. "Akiera, why is your glass not here, when I specifically requested that all glasses be brought?"

"Umm, well I tried a few times yesterday and I could not do it. I am very sorry, Sinta Angren," stuttered Akiera.

"Well, I will see you after class!"

"Yes, Sinta Angren"

After class seemed come much too quickly. As everyone else filed out in an orderly fashion so as not to upset Sinta Angren, Akiera stayed in her seat. Then as the last person went out she got up and walked to the Sinta's desk and queried, "Sir?"

This gave him the cue to start his lecture, "Akiera, I very disappointed in you. You must try harder." he paused for breath. In that moment Akiera had to fight not to say anything in response to that. "You have more personal power in your control than I have ever seen except in those chosen at birth for the position of Ilyach. Yet, you cannot do a simple air-glass or much else. You will come to see me for 2 hours each day until you can make every single Air glass I can possibly find, do you understand?"

"Yes, Sinta. I understand perfectly." She said in a miserable voice, thinking about how her hours of practice for other classes had just been shortened dramatically.

"Good. I will see you later today then. Dismissed."

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? A bell rang throughout the campus penetrating the weary doze many of the students had drifted into. In her Summoning classroom Akiera sighed. It seemed to her like the time between Sinta Angren's class and now had simply picked itself up and gone into someone else's day, leaving her with no memory of it. As a result she felt that time had passed rather quickly, which meant she had to go to Sinta Angren's class for the two hour lesson on Air-Glass. "This is going to go on forever because I am not going to be figuring out how to make air-glasses anytime soon, not to mention ever single air-glass that the Sinta can think of! Knowing him he has had other students like me and has a whole other course planned just the lucky people who stay after school with him," she thought remorsefully as she traversed the icy path from the main building to Sinta Angren's. She stepped carefully, making sure not to fall, because for some reason she did not see the Sinta taking a broken ankle as an adequate excuse for missing his extra lesson, shivering as she did. Finally she reached the long awaited, but still-dreaded door and stepped inside.

"Good evening, Akiera. I congratulate you for your promptitude, especially in this weather. Now, shall we get on with our air-glasses?" Sinta Angren asked briskly, but in quite and upbeat tone.

"Yes, Sinta." Akiera said softly, not quite sure what to make of this helpful and cheerful Sinta Angren.

"We shall begin the simplest form of air-glasses, which you mastered I believe?" the Sinta began.

"Yes, Sinta. If I remember correctly you commented on my rather odd, but effective way to do it." Akiera offered helpfully.

"Good, now what do you do first?" the Sinta asked in what became a soon endless round of questions and doing that part of the spell.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Akiera walked back to her room tired and exasperated, but proud of herself. She had made quite a beautiful and original first level air-glass. So what if was only first level, the Sinta had commented on how good it was! Now if only she could do the second level just as well as she could the first. The Sinta had said she was to come back again tomorrow and she knew she would. The first glimmering of success she had had in a long time had just showed itself and she refused to let it go!

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? As it turned out, the Sinta had meant it quite literally when he said she would be learning every single air-glass he had ever done, saw or heard of. At the end of six months of this he simply said at the end of the daily session that she did not have to come the next day and that was that. At those words the joy in Akiera's heart was so high it was unexplainable. She felt like she should simply take to the air so as to enjoy the swoops and dives of a hawk, only she was not quite sure of the spell. However in her mood she decided to try and low and behold, she did it. So she swooped and soared, high pure singing emerging from her throat with her long curly black hair streaming behind her. Below Akiera, her fellow students were amazed! The quiet failure of the class was soaring on the wind and singing such joyful songs that even the most drab and boring were tempted to start dancing on the pathways. But standing out among the rest was one tall, rather imposing man stand on a balcony in a little house separate from all else who looked up at her in such happiness and delight that he seemed almost to glow with approval. It seemed that the failure had come through to be one of the best of best, all because she needed one thing to go right. Akiera had triumphed, over the hardest thing of all, believing in herself.