Chapter 29: Human Rebellion

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Two days later, I still hadn't received a response from the Monastery. Disappointment and anger seized my heart alternately. The White Sisters were many things, but I had never deemed them to be cowards. I craved a clear answer to the pile of questions that dominated my thoughts and dreams every day and night, and their silent refusal to give me that answer was like a thorn piercing my heart. I wondered whether Cain had been right and I had been but a chapter in their lives, a chapter that was now finally over. With every hour the clock struck, the naive hope that their response had been delayed for whatever reason diminished.

In the meantime, I had talked to Rowan about the Guild's and the Academy's contribution to the eradication of the Dragon race, and he had reacted in an equally baffled way as I had. As far as we knew, both organizations had erased the entire affair from history, and what was mentioned about the crusade in history books had been kept vague on purpose. At least they'd had the decency to feel ashamed about it, yet they were too proud to admit their mistake, even eight thousand years later.

To divert my thoughts away from my growing suspicion toward the Sisters, I had delved into my research of Dragons. Since that day in the library, I had spent every evening studying the books that Cain had given me until well past midnight. By now, I had discovered that it took more or less a month for a Dragon's egg to hatch, and it had to be kept warm by fire at all times. So, I had laid my egg into the fireplace in my room, turning it every so often to ensure that the scale became malleable on all sides so that the Dragon would be able to break it at the end of the hatching phase. Moreover, changing the egg's position stimulated the embryo's stiffened muscles after having been locked up inside for so many years.

It truly amazed me that it didn't matter whether the embryo in the egg was several days or several millenniums old; the little Dragon's magic would still draw upon the fire to feed its life energy until its power was strong enough for it to be born. The strength of a Dragon's magic was also the reason why they lived for hundreds of years. Knowing this, it seemed surreal that Iain Kingsley had killed so many of them with so much as a spear aimed at their eyes, a Dragon's sole weak spot.

A knock on my door startled me from my daydreams. "Come in."

Rowan pushed open the double doors, waving a sheet of parchment in his hands. It was good to see him back on his feet again, although his movements were still a bit stiff when he bent over to hand me the letter. "It's from Bethany," he explained at the sight of my puzzled face. His lips curled up into a wide grin that made my heartbeat speed up. "She wants to meet with us."

"Why?" I asked as my eyes scanned the brief note, which contained some hastily scribbled instructions to get to a mysterious location within the city. Watching him through my eyelashes, I took in the hopeful expression on his face and made the connection. "Do you think she has more information about your mother?"

"I think she can take me to her."

Rowan's genuine enthusiasm made my heart bleed. After so many years of uncertainty, he would finally have a chance of seeing his mother again. Being an orphan myself, I wondered what it felt like. "Why did you never tell me that your mother's a Seer?"

He shrugged, a sheepish look on his face. "I wanted to, but it was not my secret to tell. Besides, I didn't consider it relevant information since I long presumed her to be either dead or enslaved." Pain flashed in his eyes, but it was gone again just as quickly.

The mattress sagged when he sat down next to me, resting a hand on my knee. "You know, as a child, I was greatly interested in history and wars of the past, and my mother used to tell me stories about them. One time, she told me about Vallinstra and the future she had seen for the city not long after it had fallen into the hands of the Dark Sorcerers. Afterwards, she made me swear not to tell a soul about her gifts as a Seer. She feared that, if the Dark Sorcerers ever discovered her powers, they would come after her. However, it seems that they found her anyway." He rubbed his face, frustrated and troubled. "Apart from that one prophecy, she didn't have many visions, and certainly not any important ones. She's not nearly as powerful as Xia Jutín."

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