19 Coloine (continued)
It was boring. I went over plans for escaping, plotted a journey to the Myrnala, wondered why the kathana hadn’t returned me to Colosse and was Cederic going out of his mind with worry yet, thought about pouvrin and whether I could create one based on a kathana or at least part of one. There are so many things I’d like to do with magic, now that I know how th’an and pouvrin are related—the enhanced hearing pouvra, for one, and the memory one so I don’t have to feel bad about making up bits of the conversations I record because I don’t remember everything exactly.
I also practiced the binding pouvra, the one I’d been learning just before the convergence that was based on th’an from Vorantor’s original kathana to bring the worlds together. I still have no idea how to make it do anything, but it’s the first pouvra I’ve ever created, and knowing that made me feel confident even though everything else around me was uncertain.
It must have been two or three very boring hours before the door opened, slowly, and someone stuck a pitchfork through the narrow gap, pointed at where I would have been if I’d still been tied up. I just stood and waited.
Gradually the head of the pitchfork was followed by the man holding it, who was followed by two other men. All three of them were looking down, squinting the way you do when you go from a bright room into a dark one, so I cleared my throat and then had to swallow a laugh because the pitchfork swung up really fast, and the three men all tried to move in different directions at once. Then it was less funny because the one man thrust the pitchfork at me, abruptly, and I had to step to one side because I didn’t want to reveal the walk-through-walls pouvra and just let it pass through me. “I’m not going to hurt you,” I said, raising my hands again.
In hindsight, their reaction was sort of funny—they looked exactly as if they’d just heard a dog comment on the weather. At the time, it was just baffling. The man with the pitchfork said, “How do you speak our language?”
That confused me so much all I could say was, “What?”
“It’s a trick,” one of the other men said. He had very short brown hair, as if he’d had his head shaved and it was only just growing back. “She only knows a few words.”
“What else can you say, outsider?” the pitchfork man said.
I looked the three of them over. They didn’t look like farmers—the pitchfork man was definitely not familiar with his “weapon.” But they also didn’t look like aldermen or councilors or whatever it was this town had for government. People like that have an air about them that marks them as different. I looked past the trio and saw a crowd gathered behind them, but no sign of anyone holding a position of responsibility. So I said, “I want to talk to your mayor.”
The pitchfork came a little closer to my nose. “That sounds like memorizing to me,” said the third man, who was shorter and skinnier than the other two and had a sort of nasally whine to his voice.
“I was born in Thalessa,” I said, “I’ve spoken this language all my life, and I don’t know why you’re so afraid of me, but I—” I was about to say I haven’t done anything you should fear and then I remembered the fire, so I shut my mouth.
“She’s a sorcerer,” the brown-haired man said. “We should kill her before she does like the last one did.”
“You’re from Thalessa?” pitchfork man said, ignoring his friend. “I was there once.”
“I haven’t been back in ten years, but yes,” I said. Actually, I was born in Venetry, and when my Dad lost his rank and his surname when I was two, we moved to Thalessa, but this man didn’t need to know my tragic history.
“She looks like them,” the short man said. “It’s a trick.”
“And even if it isn’t, she’s still a sorcerer,” the brown-haired man said.
Pitchfork man chewed his lip in thought. Then he said, “Yakon, go get Riona. She’ll have to make the decision. You—” He jabbed the pitchfork at me. “You may be Balaenic, or you may not, but either way you’ve got magic and I’m not letting you out where you can use it on folks.”
I nodded and kept my hands high. The short man ducked away into the crowd, which parted for him but otherwise stayed put. I guess this was more entertainment than they saw around here all year.
“So, how long ago were you in Thalessa?” I said, though I didn’t think I’d get a response. Sure enough, he just grunted and wouldn’t meet my eyes. So I just stood there and ran through more escape plans—conceal myself, step backward through the wall of the shed…which still left me without my books. I was in a position where I’d just have to see where things went.
to be continued…