Home > Bound by Magic (The Baine Chronicles #2)(15)

Bound by Magic (The Baine Chronicles #2)(15)
Author: Jasmine Walt

But when his robes swished across the floor in front of me, I couldn’t keep my eyes closed any longer. Nerves prickling, I lifted my head to meet his eyes, wondering what I would see. His face was as impassive as ever, but to my surprise there was no ire in his eyes – just contemplation as he gazed down at me.

“Come,” he finally said, holding out a hand.

I hesitated. “We’re not using the training room today?”

“No. I have something else in mind.”

I took his hand, and warmth flowed down my arm as he wrapped his strong fingers around me. He pulled me up in one effortless motion, and I wondered, not for the first time, about what kind of body lay beneath those blue and gold robes. He was strong, stronger than a man who relied so heavily on magic should be, and I was curious as to just why that was.

As soon as I was on my feet, the Chief Mage dropped my hand, then turned to leave, his robes swirling about behind him. My hand tingled as I followed, and though I itched to ask where we were going, I decided to keep my mouth shut. If he’d wanted me to know, he would have told me already, and I’d decided to do my best not to be annoying tonight.

I expected Iannis to take me somewhere else in the Palace, but to my surprise we headed out through the side entrance, where carriages and steamcars dropped off their deliveries. A horse-drawn carriage waited for us, and the driver hopped down from his seat to open the door, greeting the Chief Mage with a reverence and respect I’d never been able to manage.

“Okay,” I said as the carriage rumbled off, its wooden wheels bumping over the cobblestones as it made its way onto the smoother, paved road. “I can’t take it anymore. Where are we going?”

Iannis’s violet eyes gleamed in the dark interior of the cabin. “Somewhere I should have taken you from the very beginning of your apprenticeship.”

I tried to get him to tell me more, but he ignored my attempts to pry information out of him, so I sighed and settled back against the suede upholstery. The carriage took us up Firegate Road, and I leaned forward a little so I could look out the window as we drove across the bridge. The huge red towers soared above us, and using my eyes I traced the cables that stretched between them on either side of the carriage. Beyond the cables, I could see Prison Isle, the watchtower attached to the compound gleaming brightly in the darkness. The moon shining overhead was brighter still, already visible even though the sky was streaked with the lingering pastels of the dying sun. It was only half-full, but I felt the tug of its power. Shifters had a close relationship with the moon – Magorah actually meant ‘moon’s child’ in an ancient language – and when it was full we were able to shift faster and more frequently than usual.

Once across the bridge, the carriage turned onto a winding road that I recognized as the one that led up to Hawk Hill. My interest was instantly piqued – Hawk Hill was an excellent vantage point from which to view Solantha and the Firegate Bridge, but it was also frequented by mages, and wards at the top of the hill prevented anyone else from going past a certain point. Looking down at my hands, I wondered if I could breach them now, the way I’d temporarily breached the wards around Solantha Palace in order to save my cousin Rylan from his botched attempt to rescue me a few months ago.

But then, I had a feeling I wouldn’t need to force my way past these wards, not with the Chief Mage at my side.

The driver took us to the top of the hill, then parked in a safe, level spot to wait for us while we did… whatever it was we were doing. The wind tugged at my curls as I disembarked, bringing a faint touch of sea salt with it, and even more strongly, the burnt-sugar scent of magic. The hairs on my arms prickled at the enormous amount of magical energy here – I was unprepared for how strong it was, and I’d never felt anything like it anywhere else. Nervous, I turned my head to glance back at the bay. I had a feeling that whatever the Chief Mage was about to show me would change my life in some way, and I’d already been through so many changes in the last two months. Was I ready for another?

“Come.” Iannis’s voice pulled me from my thoughts. “Much as I would love to stand here and enjoy the view, my time is limited.”

Right. I followed Iannis up the hill, the soft grass rustling beneath my boots. The scent of magic grew even stronger, and after about ten paces he held up a hand.

“Repeat after me,” he said, and then he spoke a Word.

It took me three tries to get it right, but when I did, the air in front of us shimmered, like heat waves were suddenly rising from the grass. I gasped as a domed building suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and took an involuntary step back. It towered above us, crafted of some kind of strange blue stone that shimmered in the moonlight, with round, stained glass windows set into the walls.

“What is this place?”

“A temple.” The Chief Mage glanced back at me, amusement flickering in his violet eyes. “I didn’t realize you were frightened of buildings.”

“I’m not frightened,” I snapped, folding my arms across my chest. “I’m just not used to fifty foot structures appearing out of thin air, is all.” Holy shit, the mages had been hiding a temple here the whole time? What for? I wasn’t aware they even had a place of worship. I stared up at the structure, still flabbergasted that this thing existed. Golden runes shimmered along the edges of the dome, the windows, and the arch that framed the front door. The scent of magic here was thicker than in Solantha Palace, which was really saying something since the Mages Guild was housed there.

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