The wicked heroine, p.82
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       The Wicked Heroine, p.82

           Jasmine Giacomo


  “Many of your earliest memories have been covered up, Sanych,” Cheriya said, leaning back and removing her hands from the girl’s head. “I am sorry.” The woman clasped her hands in her lap, looking away.

  “Covered up. Here at the compound, you mean. You know who did this.” It was not a question. Sanych hadn’t enjoyed the feel of Cheriya walking quietly down the halls of her memories, and she had no idea what the Silver Hand was looking for, but the expression on her face said more than enough.

  “Yes. I sensed them through the hidden memories. You have two Hands in your memories: Shayin Ahousi has passed away, but Shalin Ebie is still here.”

  “Let’s go see her.” Sanych rose to her feet.

  Shashei Cheriya led the way through the cool grey marble hallways. They found Shalin Ebie alone in her room, spinning wool on a fine new spinning wheel. The room smelled faintly of lanolin. Cheriya explained what Sanych had remembered, and what she herself had found in Sanych’s mind. The elderly woman looked up at Sanych.

  “It’s come to this, I see,” she said, gesturing for the girl to sit. “By the hearth, I’ll be glad to let this secret off my tongue. A friend of your family brought you and your cousins here as small children and had Shayin Ahousi test you to see if you possessed the innate spark of magic. You were the only one who did. Your family friend knew of your ability to remember things, and didn’t want you to know you could grow up to do magic here in Salience. Didn’t want anyone else to know you could do it, either. Said it wasn’t safe for you.”

  Sanych was stunned. What family friend? She had cousins? She was going to be a mystic? Only if I stay here in Salience, she reminded herself. Her eyes flicked from side to side. “That must be why we left Salience, then. To keep me from finding my gift.”

  “Have any gifts manifested in you since your arrival here, child?” Ebie asked kindly, setting aside her wool. “You’re about the right age for it.”

  “No,” Sanych replied, shaking her head. “I’m the same here as I was at home. In Vint,” she added.

  “I see.” Ebie sighed heavily, her wrinkled face sagging in sorrow. “Your family friend was right to protect you. What’s coming must come. But if you know of it, then they might know of it. And if they know of it, your death is their easiest out.”

  Sanych’s heartbeat sped up.

  Ebie continued, “She warned me you might find me one day. Now I’ve said my piece for the sake of my conscience, but since your gift is still slumbering, I must redo my old work. Stay, Cheriya; I’ll have to do you next.”

  As Sanych opened her mouth to ask what she meant, Ebie squinted at her, and Sanych’s world went blurrily blank.

  Minutes later, Sanych and Cheriya made their way back across the compound to Sanych’s guest room.

  “I’m sorry she couldn’t be of more help, Sanych,” Cheriya said.

  “Not as sorry as I am. If only she could have given us something, anything at all!” She made small fists of frustration and banged them rhythmically on her thighs as she walked.

  “Well, the aged are prone to bouts of enfeeblement. We can’t say we didn’t try.”

  “I guess I’ll never know why that building looked so familiar to me. I could have sworn…But she was right. I should focus my attention on finding Meena. She’s the most important person in my world right now.”

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