Infinite Regress
library was so quiet that her voice was surprisingly loud. “Your eyes will go funny.”
    Emily shrugged. She’d spent the last five days in the library, save for meals and bed, mainly reading about Professor Locke, Cabiria and Grandmaster Gordian. Cabiria’s story had been quite famous at the time, she’d discovered; there was no shortage of learned articles written about how a young girl might have no access to her powers, with explanations ranging from familial incompetence to a reluctance to actually knuckle down and work hard. Emily rather doubted it was the latter, just from a look at Cabiria’s side of the room. Cabiria might not be an extrovert like Alassa or a genius like Aloha, but she was definitely brilliant and scholarly. She knew how to work hard.
    “I need to catch up,” she said, feeling a stab of guilt. Frieda had stayed with her, but she hadn’t spent any time with the younger girl outside the dinner hall. “Much of this is fascinating.”
    “I suppose,” Frieda said. “Professor Locke used to have us reading all the old tomes and trying to draw a coherent story out of them. But nothing quite fit in.”
    Emily nodded. Historians on Earth had the same problem. Histories were written by the winners. Augustus Caesar had been careful to blacken the names of his opponents, up to and including Antony and Cleopatra. There was no way to be sure just how many of the surviving works from that era were accurate. Or, for that matter, what had been said in works referred to by an author that hadn’t survived to the present day. And the Nameless World didn’t have half the techniques available to archaeologists on Earth. They weren’t even sure when Whitehall Castle had been built!
    But they’re sure it predates the school , she thought, looking down at one of the textbooks she’d pulled from the shelves. It was empty when Lord Whitehall and the Whitehall Commune arrived .
    She shook her head in irritation, feeling a headache coming on. There were so many stories and legends, all of which tended to contradict other stories and legends. She’d done the same exercise herself, trying to put the story together into a single narrative, but it was impossible to complete the task without adding a great many caveats. Who’d taught Lord Whitehall? No one knew. Was Bernard De Born his son or merely an apprentice? Was Lord Alfred really a near-omnipotent magician or had the stories grown in the telling? And who was the Dark Lady, if she’d ever existed at all? There was so much confusion over the dates that she might have existed before or after Lord Whitehall, if her stories were based on a real person.
    And how , she asked herself silently, was the nexus point tamed?
    “You’re driving yourself mad,” Frieda said, picking up one of the books. “I think it would be better if we went for a ramble now, Emily.”
    Emily scowled. “Why?”
    “Because the other students will be returning tonight,” Frieda reminded her. “And you don’t want to greet Caleb in a grumpy mood, do you?”
    “Point,” Emily agreed. She picked up the books and carefully returned them to the librarian’s trolley. She’d offered to return the books to the shelves, but Lady Aliya had flatly refused to allow her to waste her time. “How long do we have?”
    Frieda glanced out of the window. “I’d say around a couple of hours before the first students arrive,” she said, as they headed for the door. “But it depends on how they travel.”
    Emily nodded. Some students would take coaches to Dragon’s Den, where they would be picked up by the staff, but others would travel to the White City and step through the portals that would take them directly to Whitehall. She rather suspected she was the only student in her year who could teleport, although someone like Jade or Aloha might well have mastered the skill on their own. Aloha, in particular, was certainly good enough to cast the spell even under pressure, accounting for all of

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