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not? She'd been a pickpocket, a street entertainer, a behir tender, and half a
hundred other odd jobs over the course of her short life. There wasn't much new
territory to explore.
It made a horrifying sort of sense. Her resistance to magic, her quick mind
and nimble tongue. Unlike the true jordaini, though, she also had a wizard's gift.
The result yielded a potential wizard who could use magic and yet was nearly
immune to counterspells. No wonder a wizard's bastard was considered
dangerous!
"The process was disrupting her magic and stealing her memory," Dhamari
continued. "I begged her to stop, but she was determined. A very stubborn
woman, my Keturah."
Yes, that also made sense. Tzigone's last memories of her mother included
her diminishing and unreliable magic. The potions given a jordain's dam could do
that. Even so, Keturah might have lived, had Kiva not intervened.
"You knew Kiva," Tzigone said. "Did you hire her to find my mother?"
Dhamari was silent for a long moment. "Yes, to my eternal shame and
regret. She had skills I thought useful. No human knows forest lore like an elf."
"But my mother was captured in a city!"
"That is true, but the search was long." Dhamari did not offer further
comment. There was no need, for Tzigone's early life had been defined by that
long search. "Kiva betrayed my trust and killed your mother. She told me that she
had killed Keturah's child, as well. She taunted me about it and gave me the
medallion as proof."
"Did you seek vengeance?"
"No." The admission seemed to shame him. "By then Kiva had become an
inquisatrix of Azuth-a magehound. I might have prevailed against someone of her
high office, but more likely I would have met failure and disgrace."
Dhamari sighed wearily. "In all candor, I will never be numbered among the
great Halruaan wizards. Keturah would have been, had she not died at Kiva's
hand. I measured my chances against a better wizard's failure. The laws of
Halruaa are a powerful safeguard, but sometimes they are also a dark fortress.
Occasionally a tyrant such as Kiva hides behind them as she rises to power. The
laws supported and aided her, at least for a time."
"Well, that time's done and over with," Tzigone said.
"Thanks in no small part to you. Keturah would be proud." Dhamari gave her
a wistful smile.
Tzigone rose abruptly. "I should be going."
The wizard's face furrowed in concern. "Are you happy in Lord Basel's
tower? He is a fine man, do not mistake me, but I wonder if a conjurer's path is
most suited to your talents. Your mother was a master of the evocation school.
You may wish to explore many branches of the Art before you settle upon one."
"Good idea," she said noncommittally, knowing full well what was next to
come. More than one wizard had tried to lure her away from Basel's tower.
He shrugged modestly. "I am a generalist wizard of moderate talents, but I
learned many spells from your mother. If you wish, I would be happy to teach
them to you. Not as a master-I haven't Lord Basel's talent for instruction-but as a
gift, in tribute to your mother."
"I'll speak to Basel."
Her agreement surprised both of them. Dhamari blinked, then turned aside to
surreptitiously wipe away a tear.
All her life Tzigone had viewed Keturah's loss as her private pain. Never
once had she considered that this burden might be shared by her mother's
husband.
"Is tomorrow good?" she asked abruptly.
Dhamari's eyes lit up. "If it suits your master."
Something in his tone set off warning bells in her mind. "Why wouldn't it?
Does Basel have any cause to object?"
"Not really," he said slowly. "Basel and Keturah were childhood friends. I
thought he fancied himself to be something more than that. It is hard to fathom,
looking at him now."
"Oh, I don't think so." Actually, Tzigone could see how a young Basel might
have been a fine companion and conspirator. "Why did nothing come of it?"
"Wizards do not chose whom they will wed. Lord Basel comes from a long
line of conjurers, and it was assumed that he would continue the family tradition
with a woman from his school of magic. I heard a rumor that he appealed his
assigned match to the council and was denied. If he bears me a grudge, I would
not blame him."
Dhamari paused for a wistful smile. "Wizards are rarely as fortunate in
marriage as I was. I loved your mother, Tzigone, and it took many long years [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]