Without looking down, Magda drew swirls, circles, and runes with a finger, lightly skimming the surface of the pool. Any pool, she knew, could be used to see. If you knew how to use the magic the water held onto so tightly.
“Show me my home,” she whispered, as she leaned forward and gazed at her reflection.
It was selfish, she knew, to risk so much for one glimpse of home. If the sisters turned their empty eyes this way, it wouldn’t only be her in danger, but Mathias and everyone else in these woods. But she would be quick, she assured herself. She could afford this one small comfort.
At first, the pool revealed nothing but her own face made pale by the darkness of the water.
Magda kept her breathing even and focused on the relaxing her thoughts until the only thing in her mind was a single, clear note.
It was different for all seers. For some, the note sounded loudly as though bellowed from a great height. For others, it was breathy and faint, just a secret of a sound so difficult to discover it required the most solitary of rooms to develop. But for Magda the note was so simple to invoke it took effort not to do so accidentally. In her mind, it sounded as clearly as any bell. Though she had never shared the note with another – it was considered folly to do so – she knew precisely what it would feel like humming through her chest and nose.
Once, her grandfather told her of a time when seers would join around a pool to combine their powers and see great distances. When that happened, each of their unique notes had sounded together. “We are a choir,” he’d said. His eyes grew watery to remember it. He was not blessed with an over abundance of emotion and so when it surfaced, Magda took notice.
As she gazed over the pool, growing increasingly frustrated with its placid surface, she wondered if Mathias and his seers might open their minds to hers. Perhaps, if they could gather enough power, they might succeed in clearing the minds of King Caldriel’s seers and break his hold over the kingdom.
The water shimmered and the note in her mind became muted. The image that rose through the shallow pool was not that of her family home in the valley of the Fold River, but that of her grandfather’s face.
Magda sat back on her heels, startled. It wasn’t unusual to see something she hadn’t asked to see. Minds wander, after all, and she recalled now that hers had done exactly that. But it was unusual to see someone who had passed onto the next world. Grandfather Pim had left them long ago. She shouldn’t be able to see him, yet there he was, pushing a smile into his tired face.
He didn’t speak. At least, not in the conventional sense. But in her mind, Magda again heard his voice answering questions she wasn’t aware she’d asked. Quickly. For, they both knew there was no time to waste on reminiscing. The stone-faced sisters would be quick to find her now.
They had just enough time for Magda to understand one thing with absolute clarity: she must kill the king.( Read more...Collapse )