Niome shut the book she held on her lap and looked at Elina, her master. She pondered for a moment as they both sat in silence.
— ‘Don’t try to recite it by heart,’ Elina said with a small laugh, ‘learn our history enough to understand the importance of our spells.’
— Niome smiled sheepishly. ‘But you seem to know everything by heart.’
— ‘Yes, and I am also many hundreds of years older than you,’ Elina replied.
— ‘You think there ever was a time without magic?’ Niome inquired curiously. ‘When the dragons were not in our world?’
— Elina leaned her chin on her hand. ‘That is a good question, and I don’t have the answer.’ She closed her eyes, momentarily pained.
— Niome hesitated. ‘Does it hurt, the curse?’
— ‘Sometimes,’ the elder woman said. ‘I am lucky that magic has helped me manage,’ she opened her eyes again, ‘and has allowed me to train you.’
— ‘Even if Mirauk cursed you, since he hasn’t slain you, when you die, you’ll be a star, right?’
— Elina smiled wanly. ‘Yes, so don’t worry. If ever you are in need of my counsel when I am gone, just call out to me and I will guide you how I can. I promise.’
— Niome nodded. ‘You’ll light my path.’
— ‘Indeed I will, Niome.’ Elina took Niome’s hands in hers in a motherly fashion. ‘May the stars always shine upon you.’
— ‘Was there ever a time when they didn’t?’ asked Niome. ‘In the world, I mean, not just on me.’
— Elina leaned back. ‘Judging by our history, I wouldn’t be surprised. King Firlan Mittèlor banished his brother for desiring the Portal’s power before going into exile. Then, Bortah Mittèlor founded the land of Morok. The evils that exist today, that existed then, began long before these two brothers were ever born. I have no doubt that before recorded history, a being as evil as Mirauk tried to gain power as well. Perhaps it affected the stars. All we have to go by are ancient cryptic texts and old songs, but as our world still stands, I’m sure there was a polc who conquered over that evil, as there is a polc who will conquer over Mirauk.’
— ‘Like you conquered over Malgar at the grand battle between Teloria and the forces of Mork long before the Big War,’ Niome stated, perking up.
— Elina smiled and looked down, her eyes growing distant. ‘Yes, I suppose you could say I did.’ She chuckled before sobering. ‘Come now, enough studying for today. You’ve earned yourself a break.’
Jimmy bent and studied the pile of books on Meysah’s desk. ‘Do you really need to know all this to become a knight?’
— ‘Kind of.’
— Jimmy scowled, sceptical. ‘What does any of this have to do with sword working?’
— Meysah shrugged, making a face with big eyes and stretched his mouth to a frown. ‘Beats me.’
— ‘No wonder they refused me as an apprentice-knight,’ said Jimmy. ‘There’s no room in my mind for all this.’
— Meysah laughed. ‘Then you’re lucky that your best friend–’ he pointed at himself ‘–knows his history so well.’