Chapter 10

Sighing in frustration, you allow yourself to be carried off to sleep by your fatigue.

You awake at dawn’s first light as usual and climb out of bed, hands automatically moving to smoothen the sheets and put the bed to order. Kneeling to reach under your bed, you retrieve the chest containing your few possessions and slip into your leather armor with the ease of long practice.

Leaving the straps of your chest armor slightly looser than normal, you slip the tome up underneath the hardened leather and wriggle it firmly into place. The feeling is decidedly uncomfortable, but you reason that it will remain wedged there until you are able to return it to the library.

After fastening your belt around your waist, you slide your sheathed sword through the attached loop to secure your weapon before heading out of your room towards the dormitories.

You arrive shortly, and without pause open the door to the dormitory and yell, “All right then lads! Let’s get to it! Come on now!”

The chorus of groans and complaints from the three half-sleep Minorus is a familiar sound in your daily routine, including the muttered protest of the youngest of the bunch, Taela.

“I’m not a lad!”

You chuckling under your breath as the trio to tidy their beds and then the four of you head down to the kitchen for breakfast.

The first thing you notice is that Naema is not in her usual place by the fire, preparing the Master’s morning tea. In fact, there is no fire in the cooking pit at all…

Pursing your lips in annoyance, you instruct the Minorus to start a fire and prepare breakfast. The three grumpily set about the task of manually coaxing fire from wood with flint and steel and kindling.

You could, of course, easily bend your knowledge of the Old Arts to their aid and set the wood ablaze with a snap of your fingers as Naema normally would… but then how would the younglings learn the value of hard work?

With a grin, your turn away from their increasingly frustrated muttering and head off to the library.

As you approach, you notice that the door is ajar. This strikes you as odd as this is simply a thing that is not done. As any Minorus learns within their first week, the Master is particularly irked by anything that is only halfway completed.

An out-of-place sense of foreboding grips your heart as you grasp the handle and pull the door fully open to peer inside. A sound born of horror, somewhere between a choke and a scream, escapes your throat as you take in the nightmarish scene in front of you.

Every last book in the library, every scrap of parchment, every painting on the wall, has been reduced to ashes.

You stumble into the room in shock and immediately discern that this was not the work of any natural fire.

The shelves are completely undamaged – not even singed! This was the work of an extremely powerful practitioner of the Old Arts!

You must report this tragedy to the Secundus at once!

Or perhaps this warrants disturbing the Master herself!

What do you do?

> Find Naema! [ Chapter 13 ]

> Go directly to the Master’s room! [ Chapter 12 ]