This is… pretty much what it says. It’s thinking about students leaving Ag after the war, and what legacy that leaves.
There were three teenagers and four toddlers at the gate of the town, with a two-horse wagon drawn by the biggest horses anyone in the town had ever seen.
The guard did not fail to notice that two of the three semi-adult people were girls, nor that the two horses came with two foals alongside. Those facts alone meant the travelers were due some consideration. Then the shorter of the two women began to speak, her voice pitched to carry over the wall.
“We were trained at the Addergoole school. I am a doctor and educator; my companions are a metalworker-and-veterinarian and a linguist-and-weapons-expert.”
The man stepped up beside her and repeated this in the three most common languages for this area, while the third stayed in the background. The woman continued.
“We seek a place to set up business, and a place to shelter with our children.”
The guards had sent a runner to the Mayor the minute the woman said “Addergoole School.” As the translator was finishing up the round of languages, the mayor spoke up.
“Will you swear the oath?”
Even from the top of the wall, they could see the woman stiffen. They reached for their weapons. “What oath?”
“Swear that you seek to work with us and for us, not against us.”
“I will swear that we will offer no harm unless attacked, that we will work as members of your town.”
“A doctor, you said? And a veterinarian, and a weapons-master?” The Mayor knew, better than most, the needs of his town.
“That oath will do. Enter, then. We can find you a place to live for starters.”
The world ended in 2011. For thirty years since then, students had been leaving Addergoole.
Many of them went back to their parents, at least to start – especially those raised on the Ranch, in the Castle, in the Burrow or the Cave, Forest Manor or Cabal’s Mountain or the Eyrie. Some stayed in the Village for a year, for a few years, until their children were grown. A few went to work for the school, or for one of the affiliated groups.
But many – almost all, in the long run – went out into the world, looking to make a place for themselves. They traveled on foot, on wing, in cars and wagons, on horseback, by teleportation, however they could make it, until they found a town that looked suitable, for whatever definition of “suitable” they were using.
And, eventually, it would come out – not from all, not even from most, but from enough of them – where they’d gotten the wagon, the horse, the training, the children. Addergoole.
The name meant trouble, sometimes – teenagers with more power than sense, angry kids, scared kids, hungry kids – and the towns had learned to beware, and to ask for assurances. But, often enough that they were not entirely turned off of the name, it meant help. Medical training. Book training. Mechanical training.
“It’s a school,” their benefactors would hedge. “My parents went there.”
And so, thirty years after the apocalypse, the name Addergoole elicited envy and bitterness, fear and gratitude, and more than a bit of confusion.
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