Tranquillina has sat mostly silent since she sent Loys off to fetch Obesarus's Commentary. (He returned several minutes ago, but the conversation was so vigorous that Tranquillina bade him place the volume carefully on a side table, which she motioned Choiniere to clean for him. The servant and the other kitchen staff seemed a bit nonplussed by the loss of one of their staging surfaces, but a sharp glance from the maga, together with the well-known stories of people becoming ill when they disagree with her, squashed any protestation.) She was going to respond to Fiona's direct query about her foundational descriptions of the Techniques, but when Alexei quickly offered up his opinion she simply smiled at Fiona and kept listening. It is true that Tranquillina would enjoy a conversation on Magic Theory at any time, no matter its length, and she certainly follows the debate with attentive eyes and ears; but her mind is currently focused upon gauging the levels of training of the newcomers in Hermetic theory, as well as their raw intelligence. After nearly half an hour of calm analysis over the rim of the drink she is nursing, she feels that she has a pretty accurate judgment of the people at the table in these regards. ((Per 2 + Magic Theory 7+2 + stress die 7 = 18; Per 2 + Folk Ken 3 + stress die 8 = 13.))
Her first mild surprise is that Gerulf, while certainly well deserving of his recent success in his Theoretical Interview, is not quite as advanced in his study as she might have expected from a newly Gauntleted Bonisagus. At least he appears stronger than typical new magi from other Houses (although Rose, from her few comments - and their stunning encounter four years prior - seems his match). To Tranquillina's amazement, the clown Stultus demonstrates quite a decent grasp of theory, particularly as it relates to Philosophiae (or so she imagines, that field not being one of her strengths). And all three applicants demonstrate a keen and noticeable acumen, shunning easily countered arguments and perceiving the nuances and assumptions in others' statements. (Yet every time she appreciates the validity of a notion expressed by Stultus, his smug turns of phrase remind her that no Tytalus is to be trusted....) She smiles at Gerulf's youthful idealism - did she herself ever dream so large, about the limits of magic?! - but approves of his ambitious approach; she shakes her head slightly, but with equal fondness, at Alexei's hasty errors; she wonders yet again just what Fiona can accomplish with her strange herbs and unnamed concoctions. As usual, Korvin impresses her with his deep understanding of the Founder's theory; with his organizational skills as well, he sometimes seems more like a Bonisagi than a Mercere, and certainly puts the lie to those who deem all "Redcaps" as second-class members of the Order.
Seeing an opening, Tranquillina places her half-empty cup before her on the table. "One must be careful to distinguish," she offers, "between two different interpretations of the matter under discussion. The more 'heretical', if I may use that term without prejudice, is to suggest that Rego can be harnessed to precipitate precisely the same effects as Muto, perhaps by fine control of these atomoi as you speculate." Her vague gesture around the table doesn't really single out whom she considers to have speculated this. "That is a theory worthy of investigation, with all due skepticism of course, but with eagerness as well. Less drastic, but still of significant interest to us practitioners, is the ability to use Rego to accomplish the same tasks as other Techniques can, but via its own mechanisms. For example, we can cure an illness in a traveler using Creo Corpus magic - or battle wounds as well, though you might not think it so to see our brave Hoplite sitting here untreated!" She winks at Alexei's hearty laugh. "But can that illness also be treated by directly manipulating, using Rego, the balance of humors within the traveler's body? One could achieve in a moment the same benefit that a physician's regimen might have on ... the humors." She stops herself from trying to enumerate the humors, unsure of her knowledge of medicine.
As the conversation moves on, Tranquillina realizes that she can truly be considered something of an expert in Hermetic theory. Of course Maximianus's training, abridged though it was, formed the primary basis for her knowledge; but she has studied hard over the decades since her apprenticeship, and it is satisfying to feel secure (even momentarily) against judgment in that arena. She lifts her goblet to Choiniere to be filled, enjoying the idea that she needn't be on guard every second of her life against accusations of inferiority.