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"I'd like to learn what I am, and how to control it."

Professor Nazar Sefarian did not look surprised when, three days later, Blayre entered his office, dragonling in tow.

Azure, slunk in, blue scales shining in the light of the window. She stood on her hind legs and lifted her snout to the top of the Professor's desk, big sapphire eyes, shifting from side to side. With an excited trill, she extended her neck and grabbed a shiny metal statue from the desk in one swift movement.

"Azure!" Blayre chided. The dragonling had recently begun to take a liking to all things sparkly and shiny. And it was becoming a problem.

Azure's ears went back, and her nostrils flared. She whined piteously, and the old professor laughed. "So, the bit about Dragons liking shiny things is true," He turned toward his back room, "Sebastian! Get out here and transcribe for me."

There was a rustling of papers, and the sound of a heavy object dropping, followed by cursing.

"Try not to break anything on your way in here!" Professor Sefarian called to his grandson.

Sebastian appeared, looking unusually disheveled. "Sorry grandfather, I was looking for that scroll you requested."

Nazar waved his comment off. "Write this down," and proceeded to ramble off random details about Azure and her recent affinity for his cat statue and other shiny things.

When he stopped and looked at her expectantly, Blayre had almost forgotten why she had come to him in the first place.

"Well?" He said.

Suddenly self-conscious with Sebastian in the room, she spoke quietly. "I would like to learn," She said. "To use my Sense more effectively. If you are willing to teach me."

"Ah! That!" the professor laughed heartily. "I am not willing to teach you – simply because I am not the right instructor for this type of learning."

So why had he bothered to offer? Blayre felt herself becoming frustrated.

"However! I know just the person. I will arrange for a meeting."

Sebastian rolled his eyes, and Blayre covered her mouth with her hand. Sebastian was fastidiously proper, and this was the first she'd seen him break his mannerly appearance.

Professor Sefarian took no notice of him, now absorbed in his pen and notebook. Sebastian motioned for Blayre to follow him out of the office.

"As you can probably tell, Grandfather can be quite idiosyncratic at times. I will make sure to arrange a meeting for you. I believe I know just the person he's thinking of. In fact," he scrutinized Blayre for a moment, "You show some resemblance to her. But I guess that would make sense if you are of the same mountain heritage."

It was Blayre's turn to scrutinize, "How do you know?" But realization dawned on her before he could answer. "Caval," She sighed.

"Yes, Caval." Sebastian agreed as they strode down the hall, Azure weaving ahead of them, distracted by the occasional gold wall sconce. "You're being quite hard on the fellow."

Blayre took in a deep, calming breath through her nose. The scent of warm sea air permeated everything, even in the building. She was growing accustomed to it. Just as she was growing accustomed to the freely used magic all around her. Or desensitized. She thought to herself. For if she focused on it at all she would become easily overwhelmed.

Her Sense was as good as useless here.

"I might be," Blayre agreed. "I just need more time."

"Time, I've found, is never on our side." Said Sebastian darkly.


The woman who sat in the library waiting for Blayre was small statured, with bronzed skin and raven-black hair streaked with silver.

She wore a beaded necklace with a blue crystal hanging from it.

Except for a few extra lines in her face and gray in her hair, the woman was just as Blayre remembered.

Blayre froze, as her two worlds collided. For Teacher, or Professor Amalea Leadottir, as Sebastian had called her, had been a bright point in Blayre's younger years. Teacher had been the one to make Blayre's strange ability to sense magic seem almost normal. Teacher had turned a terrifying unknown into something that she could learn and master and use. But, of course, Marianna had taken that all away.

"I was wondering how long it would take you to find me here, Blayre. Come, sit."

The older woman motioned to the red leather arm chair positioned beside her own. Blayre, still too astonished to speak, slowly walked to the chair and sat beside her former educator.

"You've grown into yourself, young lady." Professor Amalea said, scrutinizing her up close. "I tell you it was a shock to hear that you of all my former pupils were here. Once I heard they'd sent you off to the Capital for proper training, I thought it was all lost. But it wasn't. You've kept your secret all this time."

"Until now," it came out bitter cold as the mountain air. "Professor." Blayre added as an afterthought.

"Until now," Professor Amalea agreed. "Though, child, it is not so terrible for people here to know, is it? It did bring you to me. If you are willing, we can perhaps finish what we began so long ago."

Though she was no longer a child, there was something comforting in Amalea calling her one. Because, even if she was not a child, Blayre often felt as uncertain as one when presented with all of the choices in front of her (or lack thereof).

"I would like that," Blayre agreed, the icy coldness that had been inside of her since Caval's betrayal, beginning to melt ever so slightly. Purpose. She had something to work toward now.

"Good. Let's start with a review of the basics." 

A/N: There are going to be some inconsistencies here from Book 1, for those who have it fresh in your memory. This "teacher" character, was for whatever reason very vague to me when I was writing UNMARKED, and now in book 2 she has become far more real and detailed! I will be going back into my edits of book 1 and making things more consistent! 

And this makes me question how authors can publish a first book in a series without writing any of the sequels yet! I find out so many things about my characters and feel the need to change so many things as I continue writing!

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