‘What happened to you, Ira? I need to know.’
He tucks her hand behind her ear, and she sits up, wiping her eyes and preparing herself for everything Ira has to say. He sighs, knowing that look on her face as well as do.
He’s not escaping the question.
‘I don’t know year it would have been, but they came for me shortly after Father passed. I managed to escape from their first few attempts, and I had just enough time to cast an enchantment that would hopefully save us all someday. I couldn’t be sure if it had worked, but they followed my power as I cast the enchantment and took me from the mountain top just after I finished. They’ve had me imprisoned ever since.’
‘All this time?’ Mags is horrified. ‘I thought you had died but they had you all this time.’
‘Yes. I had something they wanted, and they weren’t going to let me die until I gave them what they wanted.’
‘What could they possibly have wanted to badly?’ Blaine stepped back to the end of the bed, apparently tired of remaining still and quiet.
‘Me,’ I say, stepping back to the bed. ‘The enchantment that Ira mentioned is the spell that created me. It was a spell to combine the strongest aspects of the elements as a gift to someone to one day use to bring peace. It worked, but not necessarily as Ira planned. It didn’t create a power to be found by someone strong enough to weild, it a created an entire person imbued with the power he created.’
Derek’s face lit up with revelation.
‘That’s why there are no Elementals in your bloodline.’
‘Yes,’ Ira nods, glancing apologetically at me. ‘I’ll be the first to admit that this is not what I envision my enchantment to be, but I don’t regret my choice. I can apologise that I can’t predict what you will become or how much more hardship you will have to endure before we find peace.’
‘You at least know what Gwen is and can help her understand. That is more than any of us have been able to offer her,’ Anya says, stepping back into the conversation.
‘I’m sorry, is no one else stuck on Gwen being a literal magical being full of power that is supposed to bring peace? Because I’m still stuck there,’ Oliver squeaks.
‘Not really, Olly,’ Anya shrugs. ‘We all knew she was going to be something great, she had way too much power to be someone irrelevant to the world. It’s not so much of a stretch to me that she was enchanted into being.’
And she really does sound entirely unconcerned.
‘It doesn’t even worry you, Gwen?’
‘Not really. I’ve been through more than enough in the last few months to bother with a hypothetical destiny. For all we know you’re supposed to bring peace and I’m just meant to be the battering ram that helps you do it.’
Olly looks sceptical as all get out, but he seems to be more at ease with how little I care about being created by magic. There are worse things and there’s no point being worried by it. I already exist and I’m already here so I’m not going to bother obsessing aout how to I fot here to begin with.
Although, the whole birds and the bees thing should really be reassessed if you can apparently just create people out of thin air.
‘Come on,’ I say, shoving everyone out of the room ‘Mags and Ira clearly have some catching up to do and we’re getting in the way.’
‘We’ll talk later,’ Ira says, turning back to Mags and taking her hands.
I inform the other healers that Mags will be unavailable for a while and that they will need to cover for her before we leave the infirmary.
‘Well, that was unexpected,’ says Derek, who will undoubtedly be awarded Understatement of the Year.
‘How do you think they know each other?’ Oliver asks, holding the door open for the rest of us.
‘Not sure,’ says Anya. ‘Lovers maybe? Do you think they were married or something way back in the day?’
‘Not lovers. Their interaction was more familial than romantic.’
‘I’m inclined to agree with Blaine. I would guess siblings or childhood friends,’ I reply. ‘But we’ll find out soon enough. I’ll ask Ira when I see him later.’
We walk in silence until we reach the small oasis that our apartments are built around.
‘How did you meet Ira?’
I was waiting for someone to ask.
‘He was in the cell next to mine. He had to do a lot of work to find his way through the mentalism that Garret had used to trap my mind but it as an incredible relief when he did. He helped me as much as he could to break through and find my power again.’
‘Find your power,’ Blaine says. ‘How so?’
‘The mentalism Garret developed to trap minds could be used in a few ways. Andrew showed us one of those way – trapping people into servitude by electrocuting and causing excruciating pain if they deviated from their orders. The one he used on me was more involved. It cut me off from my power completely. If I tried to use my power, even the simplest of things, then my mind and body would be electrocuted and immobilised for hours. It’s why it took me so long to escape – I had to figure out how to break his mentalism.’