Home > Burned by Magic (The Baine Chronicles #1)(17)

Burned by Magic (The Baine Chronicles #1)(17)
Author: Jasmine Walt

The apprentice led us down a carpeted hallway, and as we passed by several open doorways I caught glimpses of crystal chandeliers, rich, colorful drapes and carpeting, and parquet floors. The number of rooms bordered on ridiculous – the Chief Mage could house a third of Solantha’s homeless population based on what I’d seen so far.

I bet that would just mess with his magical energy, I sneered inwardly. Having a bunch of humans and shifters running around breathing his sanctified air.

The hallway branched off into a separate wing of the palace, and my nose wrinkled as the scent of magic intensified abruptly. This must be where the Chief Mage does most of his work, I thought apprehensively as Elgarion stopped outside a set of double doors made of dark, heavy wood.

“Prepare yourself,” he told me sternly. “We are about to enter the audience chamber.”

Well la-dee-dah, I thought crossly as he turned to open the doors – and then nearly swallowed my tongue as I was ushered into the room. I was expecting something smaller, like a fancy office, but this chamber was more like a hall. Tall, gleaming mahogany columns held up the soaring ceiling, and the walls, of pale pink granite veined with gold, gleamed in the warm glow of multiple lamps. A long blue and gold carpet carved a path through the center of the parquet floor, and the guards escorted me to the other side of it, where a tall man dressed in dark blue robes awaited us behind a large desk made from the same pale pink granite as the walls. Standing off to his right was Director Chartis, who stared imperiously down at me, his arms tucked into the folds of his dark green robes.

As I was hauled before the Chief Mage, I shoved aside my awe and anxiety and conjured up the simmering resentment from earlier so that I didn’t show weakness. And then I met the eyes of the man who held my fate in his hands.

“Iannis ar’Sannin, the Chief Mage of Solantha,” Elgarion announced, as if the Chief Mage needed any introduction. I fought the urge to roll my eyes as the apprentice bowed low. “Sir, I have brought the prisoner you requested.”

As if, I thought irritably. All you did was meet me at the door and walk me up a flight of stairs. The guards had done most of the work, and as usual, a mage was taking the credit.

The Chief Mage said nothing as he studied me impassively, and I stared back, not knowing what else to do. He’s handsome, I thought, and was immediately annoyed with myself. But it was true. Hair the color of dark cherry wood framed his oblong face, and though his nose was a little too long to qualify as classically handsome, his sharply defined cheekbones and strong jaw still placed him firmly in the good-looking camp. But it was his eyes that were truly arresting – they were an iridescent violet, unlike anything I’d ever seen in my life. The only people I’d heard of who had eyes like this were the Tua, a magical race of beings who lived an ocean away, and were so reclusive they were rarely seen unless they chose to show themselves.

Umm, hello??? You’re standing before a high-level mage who can change his appearance at will. He could make his irises rainbow-colored if he wanted to!

I snorted, both at the image and at myself for getting caught up by the Chief Mage’s looks. Without his magical glamour he probably looked like any other human on the street. This display was just another way of trying to show that mages were better.

The mage in question arched an eyebrow. “Is there something that amuses you about this situation, Miss Baine?”

I bristled at his cool, slightly condescending voice, which carried a whisper of a musical accent. “I’m just wondering why you don’t drop the glamour and show me what your real face looks like.” I shrugged. “No reason to impress the criminal, right?”

A flicker of surprise disturbed the austere expression on his alabaster face, but before I had time to gloat at the reaction I’d caused, the guard on my left punched me in the kidney. Hard. A gasp flew from my lips as the left side of my body exploded with pain.

“Show some respect!” the guard growled.

Like hell. “That. Fucking. Hurt!” I snarled, baring my fangs at him. Before he had a chance to hit me again, I raised my knee high and brought my boot crashing down on his foot, scraping my heel along his shin as I went. The big bastard howled, and I used the opportunity to jump away from him. The guard to my right moved forward, and I swung my right elbow up as he closed in, smashing it under his chin. He staggered back into the third guard, who had to pause mid-rush to catch the guy. The sharp ring of steel caught my attention as the fourth guard drew his sword and aimed it at me, prepared to deliver a killing blow.

Fuck, I thought as I turned to face him. I could really use my crescent knives right now. They were great for catching an opponent’s weapon. I raised my manacled hands, thinking the best I could hope for was that his sword would slice through my chains so I could regain full use of my hands, because my magic sure as hell wasn’t going to step in and save me this time.


We all froze as the Chief Mage slammed his open palms against the stone desk, the sound reverberating off the granite walls. His violet eyes burned with cold fury as he turned to the Director, who’d stood off to the side next to his gaping apprentice the entire time, watching the fight. “Get them out of here.” His voice was as frigid as Solantha Bay in the middle of a snowstorm.

“Yes sir.” Director Chartis motioned toward the two guards who were still standing to collect me, and I bared my fangs at them, fully prepared to be dragged back to my cell kicking and biting.

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