Gradually the queasiness in my stomach from Abdiel’s casting began to subside.
“Is that all of it?” I was hoping…
No. You must absorb what is already within you. When that is finished, there will be more.
“Very well. When will it be finished?”
We’ve only just begun, Tina. Your grandmother was older than most, and wielded great powers for a long time.
“Will I need all of it?”
That was her will.
“And what of my will?”
I keep the promise, but we must give you all the magic. If we withhold any of it from you, we fade from existence, and the weakened magic dies, taking you with it.
The way my body felt now, it didn’t sound like a bad deal at all.
I didn’t see the Canceller for a few days.
During that time Abdiel walked me through the histories of the visions I’d seen; they were rich with intrigue, betrayal, love, and war.
The magic itself was strong, the bloodshed relentless, and passion won over reason.
Fear won over loyalty.
The double-cross was as common as rook ravens, and whole courts were executed to make examples of the price to challenge the crown.
Infighting and power-plays blemished outward shows of filial affection between siblings, and phony allegiance among nobles.
And when the magic was absorbed, Abdiel was true to his word.
On the days I needed to be free of the visions, to have time to think, he let me.
I’d walk the market, or the woods down by the river, trusting him to alert me if Tyrel was present.
For those times, I was cautiously grateful, knowing the Canceller was now as much a part of my life as Abdiel, and he made my quest for the Traitor’s Guild twofold.
He became the more immediate threat, and to get to them I’d have to stop him first.
But what Abdiel didn’t tell me proved to be vital in my fight against Tyrel: the more magic he gave me, the weaker he became. And just as he told me if they withheld its passing they would fade, if I didn’t use it I would die.
Such was the lore of my kind.
But how could I use it if Tyrel could cancel it?
It seemed such an innocuous, silly name for such terrifying power.
I couldn’t bring myself to call it a gift.
Gran had once told me love and fear ruled the world; for one king to have such fear that he would take on the burden to unleash one magic to rid the world of another, I would have removed love from the equation.
When I next saw Tyrel in the marketplace, when he looked at me I felt Abdiel cower.
He kept his distance, but something was glittering in the whites of his eyes even in the daylight, and Abdiel seemed to shift inside me, like a baby turning on its side. I felt it in my chest and belly, and the pain was dull, but real.
“Abdiel, tonight you must tell me the lore of the Cancellers.”
We do not spend time in their presence, Tina. They have the power to destroy us.
“There has to be a way. Something created them, so there must be a way to end them. Search it out, and tell me tonight.”
It will hurt.
“It will hurt more if you leave me vulnerable. I’m willing to fight him for our lives, but I must know how.”
It will be done.