The cliffside park belonged to Prince Lysander, but he didn’t seem to visit it often. Ádan had brought Korin here once, and it seemed as good a place as any for Korin to think.

Below, Triome spread out like a beautifully crafted model. To the east, the docks reached their long fingers into the glittering blue ocean. To the west, it sent feelers and pockets of civilization into the jungle. And to the north, it stretched further than Korin could see. The bright colors and patterns of rooftops and flowers that had so startled Korin when he’d first arrived now looked like home.

He’d spent most of the day at Marta’s, engaged in healing. The work had been easy, relaxing, and—most importantly—distracting. It had given him a break from the questions that had been swirling in his head for days now.

Teriad would have approved of the work. Teriad, who believed Korin’s gifts were best used, as Teriad’s had been, healing anyone who came to him. Person by person, life by life.

Teriad had believed that every life mattered. He’d focused their work on the people who had no other resources, no one else who could help them. Who couldn’t afford the doctors or wizards who charged huge sums of money for their skills.

And Korin believed in that mission. He, too, wanted to help everyone he could. But the trouble was, he was only one wizard. Even if he healed every person who found him, who knew to come to him, there would still be suffering, sickness, death all around.

Sheluna, now. She was all about the big picture. She had grand, sweeping ideas. Blue sky magic—pushing the limits of what they understood, of what they could do. How much potential was there? How much could Korin accomplish if they worked together, challenging each other? Could he find new ways to help people? Magic that wasn’t limited by one-on-one?

But if he threw in with Sheluna, what else would he be signing up for? She hadn’t talked about it since that first day, but Korin hadn’t forgotten that she wanted him to challenge Loukanos. And Korin had been angry enough to think that sounded like a good idea, but with more time and distance…

The last thing Korin wanted was to be dragged into another war. The last thing he wanted was to be put in a position where he was forced to kill another person. And he was afraid that’s where any path with Sheluna would eventually lead him.

Frustrated, Korin pushed his hands back through his hair and fell back onto the grass. The same circles in his mind. Over and over, back and forth over the same ground. And it was getting him nowhere. If only—


It was good he was lying down, because the paralyzing force of the voice in his mind stopped everything. For a moment, he couldn’t even breathe.

When he finally gasped a breath again, it was enough to grit out, “Leave me alone!”

Korin, you must help! He needs you. Now.

Her voice held a mix of command and panic. Korin could feel it like his own fear. He scrambled to his feet. “Who needs me?” he asked, certain he already knew the answer.

Images flooded his mind. And Korin took off at a run.


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About the author

Barbara J Webb


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