Chapter 31: Teachings of the Darkness

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Rowan and I had our first real fight that same evening, right after he had officially introduced me to his mother—which had been more than stressful enough already. He knew that I was wary of the rebels, yet he failed to understand why. In his eyes, the rebels were the good guys and the Dark Sorcerers were the villains. When I accused him of not being able to see past his hatred for the Dark Sorcerers, he stomped out of my room, slamming the door so hard it shook in its hinges.

Not that I didn't understand where his hatred came from; on the contrary, I often felt it myself. However, that didn't mean that the Dark Sorcerers were the only dictators in this kingdom, and Taylor Ford was nothing if not another dictator in the making. During our conversation at the Lair—the abandoned basement where the rebels gathered—I had sensed a profound loathing of anything magical radiating off him, and without needing to look into his mind, I knew that he would do the exact same thing to Sorcerers, both Light and Dark, as the Dark Sorcerers had done to non-magical people.

But Rowan saw none of that. How could he, when he had grown up with the same ideology as the one with which Ford had been raised, with which I had been raised? We had all been made to believe that the Darkness represented evil—which it did—yet no one ever mentioned the flaws of the Light. Not once had Rowan questioned the fact that by blowing up the Onyx Tower, innocents would be killed alongside the target. By now, I was convinced that not every Dark Sorcerer was necessarily bad in nature and some of them probably fought their Dark magic as much as I did. Were they guilty too? Did they deserve to die? Nothing could ever be as black-and-white as everyone always wanted us to think.

I cried myself to sleep that night. Not just due to my argument with Rowan, although it had broken my heart to shout at him like I had, but also because for the first time since I had left the Monastery, I truly felt destiny at work. It was as if I no longer had any say in the course my life was taking, as if someone had taken over the reins and was steering in the direction opposite to where I wanted to go.

The next morning, a servant was sent to my room to guide me to the library for my first session with Cain. I had no idea what to expect and as a consequence, my nerves were all wired up, although the prospect of finally learning more about myself sparked my enthusiasm at the same time. Nevertheless, the memory of my fight with Rowan still hung over me like a dark thundercloud filled with impending rain. Despite our different opinions regarding the rebellion, I was determined to make amends later that day.

It would make an interesting initiative, considering I had never been good at apologizing.

Cain stood by one of the large windows when I entered the library, his purely black hair gleaming in the sunlight. As I approached him, it struck me once again how broad and tall he was, making me feel as small and insignificant as an ant. My feet barely produced a sound on the marble floor, but Cain's magical senses perceived my presence anyway. He spun around and smiled at me, a genuine smile.

"Good morning, Kenna. Did you sleep well?"

I shrugged. "Well enough. What are we going to do today?" I asked quickly to chase away the memory of my wet pillow, soaked with silent tears.

His eyes glimmered; my evasive answer hadn't slipped his notice. "Have you read the book I gave you?"

I knew he wasn't referring to the scientific research on Dragons. "I'm halfway through."

For a moment, he appeared to be almost impressed. "You're a fast reader. If you've read that much already, that saves me a long lecture about our customs here in Vallinstra. And I assume you already have a broad idea of the function of the three towers thanks to your upbringing in the Monastery, am I right?" I nodded, so he continued, "Good. Is there anything else you'd like to know before we get to the more practical side of your training?"

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