Disclaimer: Alas, everything belongs to Tamora Pierce. Except of course the plot.

Chapter 1


Daine walked through a gigantic forest. The path she followed curved in every direction, making it impossible for her to see what lay ahead. Rounding an especially large bend in the path, she came to a large clearing.

Looking around, her heart stopped. Standing in the middle of the clearing was Ozorne. Lying in front of the large Stormwing, in a pool of blood, was Numair. Despair gripped her as she looked at Numair's dead white face. No! she thought. This couldn't be true. She had killed Ozorne herself. She clearly remembered the badger's claw entering his flesh. And yet here he was, her love lying before him with a dagger in his chest.

"He was strong for a mortal," he commented nonchalantly. He stepped over Numair, making his way towards her.

She tried to back away as he approached, but she couldn't. She was frozen in shock. Though her mind told her, ordered her, to run, her body wouldn't obey.

"You're…you're dead," she hissed. "I killed you myself."

"Did you? Are you sure?"

"Of course I am, you filth." She reached out with her magic, looking for animals that would help out of her current predicament. There was none.

This astonished Daine. This was a forest! There had to be animals around here somewhere! She tried harder. Still nothing.

"He didn't last long," he said. "Longer than I expected, I admit, but not long."

She glared at him and tried to step backwards again. She couldn't, and this scared her. It was like something else was controlling her body and she was just a passenger tucked away in her mind.

"I wonder how long you will last?" he continued. "It's not like you can do anything to me now. Your feet refuse to obey you. Your wild magic is unable to help you. Revenge is so sweet." He grinned down at her.

He was a mere five feet away. She didn't know what to do as he came still closer. She threw her hands up, the only thing she could do to defend herself from him.

She was surprised when he blew up. Just blew up. She fell to the ground, all the spells on her released with Ozorne's downfall. She stood up, looking around to see who had finished off Ozorne. No one was there except Numair. And he was in no condition to have helped her.

Tears clouding her vision, she ran to her side. Her fears were confirmed. She laid her head on his chest, sobbing.

After a while she stood up, her mind numb. But she had to figure what had happened to Ozorne. Holding the badger's claw, she called out hopefully, "Badger?"

She received no answer. As she expected, she would have to solve this puzzle herself.

She recalled what had happened. Ozorne approached her, she threw up her hands, he blew up, and she fell to the ground, the spells released.

Maybe I blew him up? she thought. No, I couldn't have. I'm a wild mage. And besides, nobody can blow things up with their hands. Can they?

She decided it couldn't hurt to make sure. She looked around for a suitable target. Seeing a small tree, she carefully repeated the hand movements she had made earlier. The tree blew up.

She sat back down next to Numair. She was shocked. She couldn't do something like that. It was impossible.

Suddenly she felt a tugging on her body, and she was pulled way from the forest. Slowly the scenery blurred until it was just a blur of gray.


She opened her eyes slowly, groaning against the light.

"Daine?" she heard a familiar voice ask, the one voice she wanted more than anything else to hear.

"Numair," she whispered faintly, but he still heard her and went to her side. As she tried to sit up, Numair pulled her into his arms. "I'm so glad you're awake, Magelet," he said quietly before kissing her lightly on the lips. As he started to pull away, Daine gently pulled his head back down again, kissing him fiercely.

"Magelet, you don't know what you do to me," he told her as he pulled away again. Seeing that there were tears streaming down her cheeks, he gently kissed them away. "Daine, what's wrong?"

"Nothing, just a bad dream."

"No dream you ever had before caused you to cry."

"In the others you weren't dead," she whispered, hoping he wouldn't be able to hear her. But he heard her clearly.

"What are you talking about?"

She decided to tell him the truth. After all, it wasn't real, just horrible. "I was walking through the woods and I came to this clearing. Ozorne was there and…and…" he voice broke. She was unable to go on.

Numair held her tightly, trying to give her comfort. "It's okay, Magelet. I'm here."

After a few moments she continued. "You was lying on the ground in front of him, a dagger in your chest," she whispered, crying into his shirt.

"Daine, I'm not dead, and I don't plan on dying anytime soon. Ozorne's dead. We're safe from him."

"Is there any mages who can blow stuff up with their hands?"

"Of course not. That's impossible."

She nodded, glad that she didn't have such a destructive power. "Well, anyway, Ozorne stepped over you and walked over to me. I couldn't move, couldn't call animals to help, couldn't shapeshift. When he was a few feet away from me, I threw up my hands. He blew up. I went over to you, thinking maybe you were still alive. You…you weren't." She had to stop again, she was crying to hard to get any understandable words out. After a few moments, she continued. "I tried to figure out how he had blown up. Nobody else was there. I thought maybe I had done it, so I repeated the motions, aiming at a small tree. It blew up as well. Then I was pulled back into the darkness."

"It's okay, Daine. It was just a dream."

"Was it? Maybe Gainel was trying to tell me something."

"Daine, I'm not dead, am I?" he asked, putting her hand over his heart.

"No," she answered, feeling his heart beating reassuringly against her hand.

"And Ozorne is, isn't he?"


"Then the dream can't be real."

"What about my blowing things up?"

"That's impossible. Nobody can blow things up with their hands Magelet."

"I want to make sure," she told him, trying to get up.

"Daine! What are you doing?"

"Making sure that I can't blow things up with just a couple of hand motions."

"And just what do you plan to experiment on?"

"Think anybody will miss that?" she asked, pointing to a small, black vase that held a bunch of wildflowers.

"Probably not. But you shouldn't be getting out of bed yet."

"I'm going to do it anyway."

He groaned, realizing that he had no chance of winning when she was being stubborn. He walked around to the other side of her bed, supporting her as she got out.

She was surprised at how weak she was. "How long have I been out?"

"Five days. It's just a few hours before noon. I myself just woke up about an hour ago."

"And you were wanting me to stay in bed?"

"Well, my case was different. I couldn't rest until I checked on you. You woke up right after I got here."

"Well, I won't be able to rest until I have made sure that I can't blow things up." She repeated the hand motions she had used in her dream, Numair's arms wrapped around her from behind. The vase shattered.

Numair gasped. "That's impossible!"

"It's not anymore."

"But you're a wild mage. You shouldn't be able to do that," he said leading her back to the bed.

"Maybe the gods gave me another loan of power?" she asked, thinking about her experience with the graveyard hag.

"No, kit, this is all yours," the badger answered her as he appeared in front of them.

"What do you mean?" she asked him quietly.

"Your new power comes from you, nobody else. The other gods and I believe that your little trip to the Divine Realms awakened more of your power. You will probably continue to find more of your power until you reach your full potential."

"How? In my dreams?"

"No, that was a one time thing to help you see what was going on. The rest you will discover by accident."

"But what if I do something I don't want to? What if I had blown up Numair instead of Ozorne?"

"You can only do what you want to. Nothing will happen that you don't wish to happen."

"Are you sure?"

"Do you like that picture?" he asked, pointing to an ocean scene on the wall.

"Yes," she answered, unsure of where this was going.

"Blow it up."

"I don't want to!"

"Try," he ordered.

She tried. Nothing happened.

"See?" he told her. "Nothing will happen you don't want to. I have to go now. Bye Kit, Numair."

He disappeared in a flash of silver fire.