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For those needing to catch up, here’s the Table of Contents.
A Decision Too Late
Mistress Nora was eating alone in her study.
This is probably an example of me not thinking ahead, Sharna thought when Mistress Nora’s infamous eyebrow arched at her entrance.
“Sharna, good morning. Do you need something?”
She halted about three feet from the breakfast tray set up by the window. The sun was already warming up over the ocean, and it cast ribbons of silver over the room.
“I don’t want to be here anymore.” It slipped out more easily than anything she’d ever said to the woman.
Mistress Nora put down her cup with a delicate plink and pursed her lips in silence for a moment.
Sharna felt the words spill from her mouth like diamonds. “You know I’ve never belonged here. I’m not cut out for it, and it’s like trying to squeeze me into a dress that’s too small. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the Mansion or the Mages, but I’m not supposed to be one. I know it, and you know it. Why keep trying? Just so I can fail and bother everyone? I want to go home.” Her nostrils flared as she gathered her breath back up for another argument, but Mistress Nora put up a hand.
“No need. While your argument lacks eloquence, or even logic, it’s unnecessary. The Doe Mothers were told of your…encounter, and the loss of The Stalks. They agree with me, and apparently with you, that you are not Mage material. They feel you’ve learned enough to know the dangers of your ability, but will never achieve mastery over them. While there is a lengthy appeals process which I assumed you would want to utilize, if for no other reason than to make a show for your parents, I can see you are not interested.”
She picked up her cup again. “You are dismissed.”
Sharna was having trouble processing all of Mistress Nora’s speech. They’d managed to turn it around so she wasn’t quitting of her own volition? Now, everyone would say she’d failed instead of simply acknowledging she had chosen a different path. She’d waited too long! Her parents would be notified. The other girls would be told she’d been expelled. It was too much.
She wandered back to her room through drafty hallways and the sounds of lessons. Where would she go? She couldn’t go home. Her parents would be livid. She had no skills. No money. No talent. No plan. She had a flash of desperation as she considered hiding in the Mansion somewhere like a mouse, and then laughed at herself.
Her mother would take her in. She might put on a good show, but surely she wouldn’t turn her own daughter out into the streets. She had a few possessions she’d gathered carefully over the years. As she stowed them in her bag, she lingered over each one to remember its personal value and draw out the inevitable moment she left. Should she say goodbye to the other girls? They’d been with her the last twelve years of her life. She remembered Naia calling her Daffodil and Barbetta’s smirk. Nope. Let them wonder and tell stories. It wouldn’t matter anymore. She was free.
(I’ll be traveling next Saturday, but will try to get the next scene posted on time.)