Of two things I was certain. One: everyone in the temple expected me to become the next head Air Mage. Two: it was the last thing I wanted.
I let out a grunt as I dodged a sudden burst of wind that was strong enough to topple the temple itself. All the while Master Kinzai was shouting orders at me, but never once did she lighten up the attacks. Still, I continued to move, countering her when I could.
"If you want to be the best, you must learn to acept defeat," she murmured. Or maybe she didnt. Maybe the words were only in my head. Either way, a moment later I stumbled and was unable to move away in time to escape the rain speckled breeze that hit me square in the chest, sending me sprawling backward.
A moment later, Master Kinzai stood over me. "Well done, Aither. Soon, you will be ready." I didnt bother to point out that I'd lost to her. That I always lost to her. Kinzai had some sick sort of wisdom, and in all my years as her student I had learned better than to question a single word from her mouth.
The blonde woman extended a hand to pull me to my feet. "Rest now," she commanded. "Levitate, perhaps, and find your inner peace."
I nodded, mumbling my thanks. Kinzai might have had more faith in me than anyone else in the temple. Letting her down...I couldnt even fathom. Turning away, I started off towards the bedchambers. I might have gone two steps when I heard the sudden clamour of hooves, and then a trio of horsemen burst into the Courtyard. I spun around, feeling a rush of power move through me.
Kinzai looked up to meet the gaze of the first rider, a black haired man with broad shoulders and a perfectly emotionless face. "Murtak," she greeted. There was a sort of solemn tone in her voice that I didnt like. "What brings you here?"
The man replied in a tone to hushed for me to hear. But I could tell that it was very, very bad. I shuddered as my mind inadvertantly travelled back to that day, the day the world had been shattered. I'd been young, so young. But I remembered. I remembered the screams of the fairies as their entire universe came crashing down. Fifteen years later and Evangeline was still gone. Our great queen had not returned to redeem the lands. I'd come to doubt she ever would.
No, we were doomed. We'd been doomed for a long time. And the sinking feeling within me alerted me that it was about to get much worse.