The Chained Adept
Penrys's past is unknown, but she's got a better grip on her future: find out where she came from, discover what happened to her, and figure out how the unremovable chain around her neck makes her different from other wizards. What any of this has to do with the renewal of an ugly war between neighboring countries, half a world away, is just something she'll have to sort out, along with the rumors of wizards where they don't belong. Assuming, of course, that no one removes her as a threat before she can find her footing. All she wants is a firm foundation for the rest of her life, with a side helping of retribution, and if she has to fix things along the way, well, so be it.
The Chained Adept
Penrys waited in Zandaril's company while the Commander made certain that the threatened attack was not about to materialize, based on the reports of his returning scouts as they continued to come in.
She glanced at her oh-so-polite custodian. It's not like I can go anywhere, from the middle of an armed camp. That they know of, anyway. Guess they don't see it that way. In spite of herself, she yawned and belatedly covered her mouth.
At Zandaril's raised eyebrow, she protested, "I've come west a great distance, so my night just got a lot longer."
She left it at that, not wanting to admit that the shielding had also had its cost. And just why did I have to stop at holding three under my mind-shield? Where did that limit come from?
"Who was in the mirror?" she asked him, quietly.
"Menbyede of the Rasesni."
"I've read about them-they're your neighbors to the west, aren't they? Who's this Menbyede fellow?"
He narrowed his eyes at her suspiciously, without comment
"No, I don't know," she said, answering the unasked question. "Hey, I can name several colleagues from the Collegium who will vouch for me and where I was last night. Um, this night."
"And what should we do with you while we wait for messages to go and return, all the long way?" Zandaril said. "Or perhaps you have a better means of communication?"
His eyes slid to the spot where the mirror had been.
She swallowed and decided to resume her silence. As if to contradict her resolve, the smell of the hot, bitter bunnas sitting untouched on Chang's crowded camp table made her stomach growl, audibly. She was always hungry after a prolonged effort, but it was food she wanted, not that foul stuff.
That's not actually a bad idea, though-using a mirror to cross distances. How did they attach sound to the vision? How do they focus it? How far can it go? And how do they send an attack through it, like the one I shielded?
She settled down to ponder ways and means, her fingers itching for something to write on.
With the camp on high alert until daybreak, but no enemy detected, Chang finally returned his attention to her. Two of his officers stood behind him and waited. She could feel the suspicion radiating off of them.
"I would like an explanation," he said. It was little short of a command.
May as well tell them part of the truth, anyway. Not that they're likely to believe it.
"I was at my workshop, at the Collegium. Working on my..." She paused. "You see, I made this bendu , a device, kind of a detector, a ryskymmer , like a bound-circle, only the reverse..."
They looked at her blankly. These are Kigaliwen, and they don't have the terms.
She started over. "Look, if you take a defined space, like a big box, you can cancel out the magic inside the space." She framed the concept out with her hands.
She glanced at Zandaril. He was nodding as if he'd heard of the theory.
"Most people stop there," she said, "but I thought if you could set it up right, you could use it to find active magic somewhere else."
Zandaril stopped nodding, but she pushed on anyway. "And if it's big enough..." She spread her arms wide to illustrate. "You could maybe go where that magic is." If you were fool enough to stand on the inside of it.
There was silence for a moment, broken only by the spitting of the cressets outside.
"What, seven thousand miles?" Zandaril raised both eyebrows this time.
"Well, I had it set up to look for the biggest activity it could detect. I didn't think it would go further than the Collegium. After all, there's plenty there for it to find. And besides, I wasn't trying to use it-the full-scale version wasn't working yet."
Didn't think about what I was doing. Idiot.
Zandaril said, "So t