Itsak perches on the edge of the couch, a shy smile on his face. He is short for his eight years but long limbs hint at hint at height to come.
I hand him a cup of tea and take my own seat in the armchair opposite.
Itsak sniffs the tea, swirling it around in the cup. “What is it?”
He smiles, properly now. “I know that. Is it medicinal?”
I shrug. “You tell me.”
He smells the tea again, inhaling the steam deep into his lungs. “Black tea…cinnamon…vanilla. Good for digestion and inflammation.” He peers up at me over the rim of the cup. “Are you ill?” There is concern in his deep brown eyes.
“I just like the taste.”
“Oh,” he says, the smile breaking across his face once more, “I haven’t met anyone else who actually enjoys drinking tea. I usually have to force it into my patients. Dirty leaf water, they call it.”
I can’t imagine the small boy before holding down an adult and forcing them to drink medicinal tea. “I’m a recent convert myself,” I say with a laugh. “You are certainly very knowledgeable about the healing arts. Who trained you?”
“My uncle,” he replies, taking a sip of tea.
I recognize the gesture; it’s one I use myself when I’m trying to swallow the anxiety bubbling in my throat. “You miss him?”
“I’m sure he’s fine, Itsak,” I say gently.
Itsak nods, still skeptical.
“Tell me about your village.” I prompt him. Maybe talking about it will make him miss it less.
“They’re not bad people. Not really. But-”
“They thought I was touched by the gods.”
“I hope you didn’t let it go to your head,” I jest. The joke falls flat.
Itsak looks up from his tea and his brown eyes are piercing. The look reveals the iron in spine. He’ll need all the iron he can get in the days and years to come. “They wouldn’t let us live in the village. We lived in a hut half way up the mountain and whenever someone needed help, they would wait until the last moment before they summoned us. The patients would be half dead. I could have saved more. But they were too afraid to let me.”
“Oh,” I say quietly.
Itsak drinks his tea.
“Then why did you help them, if they treated you so poorly?”
Itsak sighs, “I’m a healer. I heal. I can’t not heal someone who needs it. I’d rather die myself.”
Who will it be next week…?
Jahinda has devoted her life to Memset, the goddess of war. Chosen as a Finder, she eagerly awaits the chance to prove herself.
Kalegos has magic but in Lygea, magic is a death sentence. Sent to live with an elderly scholar, Kalegos buries his magic, focusing instead on scrolls of history and languages. But what is buried cannot stay so forever.
Zri is the son of the legendary Miri, the woman who planned and executed the assassination of the previous Four, corrupt leaders who held Erelda under their thumb. When the Sacred Flame names the next Four, Zri struggles to live up to his mother’s reputation.