The Unspeller and the Book of Days
Jasper walked out of Na Serin's fortress to the Gate outside. It was early morning and all the halls
had been empty. He'd planned it that way.
He could feel the protection spells as he walked through them, and briefly wondered what it must be
like for Aesa to be able to see magic all the time.
Aesa having any magic at all was a surprise. It was somewhat of a relief--an end to the constant,
nag ging fear that his gangly little brother would be obliterated by their world. Of course, he had to be the
Unspeller, the bringer of the End of magic and sworn enemy of a blind half-Arkenian oracle. It wasn't fair.
To his credit, Aesa seemed to be living with the fate he'd been given. It would have been nice to
know that Aesa was going to have magic all along, though.
So much for Future Tell. His odd, useless gift. The flashes of the far-off future were so infrequent
they were like rare dreams. His ability to anticipate an opponent was much more reliable, but he could not
foretell events farther than the next moment.
He wished he knew what was going to happen when he stepped through the Gate this morning and
returned to Turnstone.
He should have told Bethyn that he was coming. He was only a few paces away from the Gate and he
still didn't know if he wanted to go through. He shouldn't. There was no reason to see her. She was a
hopeless, irresistible attraction for him.
She adored him as well. But she also adored four other young men in the village. What was he going
to say? Love me and forget the rest? It was ironic that he found himself the victim of fickle love when he had
spurned someone else's love. Chalace was lovely and sweet, but he could feel nothing for her, though he
wanted to. Love was stupid. Especially when he was on the unrequited side.
He stood at the Gate and raised his hand to form the summoning spell. He stayed there, his hand
holding the magic for a few moments, undecided. With a quick motion he finished the spell and commanded,
The Gate jumped up and the magic swept through him, familiar and intense. He forced himself to
step forward, ignoring the rush of power that threatened to intoxicate him. Enchanters had been lost in the
Gates because they refused to leave the rush. It was a favorite way of committing suicide. Well, no one knew
if death was the end result, they only knew that no one returned, so it was pretty much the same.
The fields outside Turnstone were bitter cold, and windy. Funny how he didn't notice the taste of salt
in the air when he was home for a while. He walked down the path that would take him to the road. The walls
of Turnstone came in view around the bend, the houses all the same height, none of them rising above the
He was near the wall now, close enough to see the individual stones in the wall. He stopped, not
wanting to go any further.
He didn't need his Future Tell to know that he would see Bethyn and leave with same empty feeling --
that he had seen her and that she liked his visits, but that was all.
She would never care about him the way he cared about her. How many times did he want to fool
himself into thinking she would change her mind? How many times did he want to be here? Suddenly he
knew the number.
He turned around bent his head to the wind, back to the Gate. It hurt to walk away--he ached
because he wanted her and he ached because he didn't want to want her.