Ashford Vignette #14 (2009)

Ben Henningson looked around the room that would be his for the last year he spent at Ashford.  Honestly, he thought, 2-A was no different from the other rooms, only the layout of the dorm space was altered.  It was the same size with the exact same simple furnishings of his last four rooms.

Then it hit him.

This was his last room and his last year, unless he decided to teach, or spend years doing research.  Neither option appealed.

After this year, it was back to the family compound to be sent wherever they decided he was needed.

Just like generations of Henningsons before.

The irony struck him, standing there.

The family had been bound to Niedrah, an entity of chaos and adaptability, for centuries.  That in itself, he admitted, was ironic.  But, for all their service to Niedrah, the elder Henningsons were amazingly bound to tradition as well.

“Maybe it’s time things were shaken up a bit,” he muttered to himself.

A wave of his hand sent the contents of his pair of bags flying to their places around the small room.  Another absent gesture caused sheets to stretch themselves over the narrow mattress of the bed.

Ben flopped down, hands behind his head, and stared at the ceiling.

He realized that for the last four years he had never consciously thought about what he wanted to do when he left Ashford.  He just accepted that the family would decide the rest of his life, as it had for his parents, and their parents, and his cousins.

That probably explained why his cousin Jace was always so unhappy, borderline resting pissed face.  He’d been a really good illusion artist when he was younger.  But, the family needed someone to oversee its west coast business interests when he graduated, so that’s where Jace went.

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