When Lucia woke up, it was to a memory.
"I'm Nixon Ore; I'm studying to master all things earth. Rocks, clay, dirt, and metals of all kinds. You name it, I can find a way to use it." the boy was huge, almost like a giant compared to Lucia, even though she wasn't really short.
Funny, Nixon's introduction hadn't changed. But hadn't she met him when he was sitting on the ground? Why was he standing up this time? Was it just a strange dream?
"I'm Lucia. I'm. . .on my way to do some work with my brothers." it wasn't a total lie. Maybe she could dodge this academy student and get what she came for.
"Really? What kind of work? Is it hard? I'll do anything to advance my training."
"It's not that kind of work." Lucia turned to leave. She would have to find the information another time. Maybe an hour later, when the students weren't in the building.
"Wait, you can't go. You were looking for a book, right?"
"Yeah, so what?"
"Is it this one?" Nixon produced a volume titled The Violence of the Crows.
Lucia squinted at the title. It was what she needed, but why did this guy care? He was so annoying! "Let me have it, please."
"Not until you answer me!" Nixon yanked the book out of Lucia's reach as she tried to take it. He laughed as Lucia tried to jump. "No matter how powerful a mage you are, you can't do anything about how you're built, so you won't get the book until I get an answer."
"Give it to me now!" Lucia jumped, her fingers barely touching the book. "I don't have time for this!"
"Why, is it a matter of life and death?" Nixon inquired.
"Actually, yes!" Lucia jumped and grabbed the book, but missed by just a little bit. The volume fell to the floor.
"In that case, I can't stop you from taking it." the tall boy informed Lucia. "It was nice to meet you, Lucia, but if you need the book that badly, I can always get to know you some other time."
"That'll be hard."
"I doubt I'll remember you if we ever meet again. I'm about to do some pretty crazy stuff. But thanks for trying." Lucia picked up the volume, then walked away. "Nice to meet you, Nixon." she called over her shoulder.
When the flashback was over, Lucia found herself staring up at Nixon and Soren.
"Did it work?" she asked. "I can't remember what happened after we came in here."
"What do you remember?" Soren asked.
Lucia took a minute to think. After she met Nixon, she had left the Academy libraries to show her brothers the book she had found on the Crows, a violent group of magic users they had been asked to exterminate. They had underestimated the newest generation of Crows, and the battle had been won at a great cost: the lives of her two brothers.
Lucia had been so unsure of how to face her father, so grieved at the loss of her family. After a week of wandering lost in the mountains south of her home, she placed a level five memory seal on herself so that she would forget everything.
The battle came back in flashes. The Crows were dead, she was certain. But how could she face her father, the Hero and Defender of Magic, alone?
She began to sob. "Zane and Jim are dead, Uncle Soren. We underestimated the Crows. I couldn't take it."
"Jada, go and find Lord Keane." Soren ordered, not looking at Lucia. "My horse is at the Sitting Duck."
"Alright." Jada immediately left the hut.
"Uncle?" Nixon looked at Soren in surprise, then at Lucia. "So you're. . .Magistra Princess Lucia Keane?"