Anya Collins sat on her new bed, cross-legged, staring out her window. It looked out on the tower, the tallest building in this new city (certainly the tallest Anya had ever seen!), and the kindly old man in robes who had given her a tour when she’d first arrived had proudly proclaimed that it was the tallest in Faran. Anya believed him.
He’d apologized that she couldn’t have a room in the tower itself, like the young mages who were training there, but explained that due to her condition she’d be unable to use their gates to travel instantaneously floor to floor, but be forced to use the stairs. Anya didn’t mind. She couldn’t imagine being that far from the ground.
Her twin, Ella, was living in the tower. The mages had managed to cure her, to remove that thing that had lived inside her for so many months. Finally, she was laughing, smiling, and eating once again. Ella was back to normal…almost. The long months had been hard on her, and she was quieter now, and got a distant look in her eyes at times. When the mages had tested her, they’d found she’d had a talent of her own; an infinity for fire magic. Some thought that her time being possessed by the fire elemental had changed her, while others argued that she must have always possessed this aptitude in order to have survived her ordeal. In any case, they agreed that with the proper training she might become one of the foremost Pyromancers of this age.
They’d offered to take her in, to teach her, to feed her, to clothe her, to house her. But most importantly, it meant she could stay close to Anya. And so they’d agreed.
Anya’s days were long and busy, but no longer and busier than when she would rise before the sun to milk the heifers. Some here thought her to be gifted and blessed by fate, while some described her as cursed, or an aberration. But they all valued her. Even the few others here like her. Obdurates.
Anya had tried that word upon her tongue. Obdurate. Something she had been since birth but had only recently learned of. It guaranteed her both employment, and a comfortable life for the rest of her days. She was getting more and more used to it as the days passed. And she had Colewyn Flint and his companions to thank for that.
Anya regretted the last words she’s had with Colewyn. In the heat of the moment she’d thought that he’d only been looking out for himself, that she’d simply been a tool a means for an end to him. But everything he’d done had only served to help Anya and her sister, to keep them safe, and to bring them to a better life. She hoped she’d be able to see him again, so she could thank him properly this time. Perhaps one day she’d even be able to repay the favour.