Anna and Byron sat uncomfortably next to one another, making it almost a point not to make eye contact with one another. They were in one of the smaller rooms of the castle, the room lit by what little daylight there was in combination with the two lit torches.
Krane and Hal did not look pleased and it was Anna who spoke first, bursting under the Masters' stern gazes.
"It wasn't Byrons fault," she said, not surprising both the older men.
"We haven't made any remarks, stupid girl." Krane answered and Anna's face turned bright red. The young girl was timid, with a good heart and a small gift for sorcery but naive. "Now listen carefully because repeating myself is not something I enjoy doing," Krane stepped forward, his robes sweeping the floor as he knelt down. "Tell us what you were doing sneaking around the dungeons."
"And try not to hold anything back Anna, no matter what Byron has said, we are more than aware this isn't the first time you've both been down there." Hal said, inputting gently.
The stark difference between both sorcerors was apparent in their personalities and the way they looked. Hal was older, kind and helpful, with a silver head of hair. He was shorter than Krane, and looked ready to help, unlike Krane who's expression only held gloom. The only thing similar about them were their robes; long, mud coloured and with specks of green in wild patterns.
Anna breathed in, looking at Byron who shrugged. "It really was my fault," she said. "I overheard the medicine woman talking about witches and the last winters, they said that the herbs they used to make medicine weren't growing and that witches must have been coming into the Kingdom and spraying death and decay on them."
"That's an old wives' tale, witches don't cross through the borders of Hamlin and they haven't in hundreds of years." Hal begun but Anna shook her head furiously and this finally nudged Byron into speaking out.
"Then why are the herbs dying out?" asked the young man, visibly agitated. Byron had many good qualities about him. He had a good memory and excelled at learning to sense changes in magic, he could almost feel it but his bluntness and lack of subtly was not one of his good qualities. "Are you going to tell us it's the winters? That might fool the rest of the Kingdom and maybe even the King but you can't tell us, when you've been teaching us to hone it out, that this isn't unnatural. If it isn't witches then it's something else, you should be preparing us and praising us for having the ability to tell, not treating us like children and pushing us into the shadows."
Krane grimaced as he stood, turning from Byrons wild and angry brown eyes. He faced Hal, giving the older Sorceror the chance to assess the situation, but Hal appeared disheartened and looking at him, Anna felt her own heart begin to sink.
"You're right," she confessed meekly. "We have been sneaking into the dungeons, we've been going through your library in Gallaha too, Master Hal."
Hal's expression turned to one of blank acceptance. "My library?" he repeated. The words, suddenly unable to move as the explication of what Anna had said dawned on him. "That isn't possible.. you children couldn't have.. unless.."
"We wondered if you knew." Anna continued, her voice cracking at the confessions that were coming lose from her lips.
The Gallaha library was ancient and old, older than even the great castle itself. Back before the settlers had found Barosnis as a prosperous land, a certain point held a pillar of of strong sorcery and since sorcery was mother natures first child and pure gift to humanity, entrusting the ability to very few it only made sense that it contributed to the bountiful land of Barosnis that the first settlers had stumbled upon.
The rivers were plentiful in fish and the soil was rich in growing vegetation. When the settlers found it, the people of the land, who believed strongly in the nature of welcoming, accepted them to their land warmly.
This was the beginning of how the two very different groups of people came to coexist peacefully; the people of the land and the magic, and the travelling fighters who were long-since searching for a home. Sorcerory healed the ill that had come with the travellers and they lived well together for a long time. Slowly and inevitably tensions begun to rise and the appointed chiefs of both people came to the agreement that a room was to be built around the pillar, entrusted to one person who could only allow those he chose to pass.
Centuries later the room, located in the heart of the castle, now known as the library in Gallaha, was entrusted to Hal. And since Anna and Byron had entered, daringly attempting what very few in recent times had, and had slipped under Hal's nose, there was only one cause and it dawned on them all at once. All three sets of eyes turned to Hal and a wrangled sob forced itself free of Anna.
"Master Hal.." Byron said, his voice no stronger than a whisper.
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