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The door thumped shut heavily behind her in its wooden frame. "Don't slam the door, dearest," his voice called laughingly from somewhere inside. She flung her bow and her quiver down on the marble counter by the entryway, and hopped over the piles of esoteric junk scattered around the dwelling they shared, seeking him out excitedly. "Jerent!"
Jerent appeared in the doorway to his workspace, a scrap of old circuitboard tucked behind one of his ears. He grinned and caught her up as she leapt at him. "Here, now! What's this, Lil?"
Lilith kissed his bemused grin and laughed happily. "I've passed the First Trials today!"
"The First -- they were today? Gods, Lilith, ye should have told me -- "
"Don't be silly, you would only have distracted me anyway." She twirled around the cluttered room, then collapsed into one of the worn chairs by the hearth. "I love you, Jerent," she said, pretending to frown severely, "but you're not terribly good for my concentration." She hung one leg over the arm of the chair and sighed happily. "The First Trials -- gods! I keep expecting to wake up."
Jerent dropped down in the chair next to hers and poked her leg playfully. "Who says you won't?" When she glared at him, he smiled innocently.
"Don't confuse my poor addled brain, you evil man you!"
He responded by plucking the circuitboard from behind his ear and tossing it to her. Lilith caught it one-handed and examined it in the light from the small windows. "Think this one might work?" She looked up at him. "Ye've had likely-looking ones turn out dead before."
Jerent nodded. "Aye. But this one definitely looks promising. Just solder the pieces together, run it to the generator " She flicked the board back to him, and he tucked it behind his ear again. "But enough about my ancient machines. Let's have story time! Tell me about the First Trials." He settled back comfortably in his chair and grinned at her, his expression making him look closer to eight than thirty-eight.
"You know perfectly well what they're like, Jerent. It hasn't been all that long since ye underwent them yourself."
He waved a hand airily. "I know what my First Trials were like. But they are different for every 'prentice class, you know. And for your information, twenty year is quite a long time to remember, even something as important as the Trials."
"Don't start in on how old ye are, or I'll be forced to take drastic action," she said, one eyebrow raised in her best imitation of Jerent's favorite sardonic look.
"Oh? What action might that be?"
Lilith pretended to think for a moment, then pointed at the nearest window. "How about I hurl you through that thing?" Jerent only chuckled and motioned her to talk. "Fine! I suppose you won't let me rest till ye've the tale from me anyway."
He laughed. "Of course not!"
She grabbed a piece of old packaging off the floor and heaved it at him mischievously, then began speaking. "I didn't even know they were to be today -- that's part of the trials, ye'll remember, that the apprentices don't know when they'll be called to face them. Culbert had a feeling they'd be this week, though." She poured herself a mug of chicory from the pitcher that sat by the fire, and continued after taking a sip of the warm liquid. "We knew something was going on when we saw the Trying Field filled with 'slingers."
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