The Long Retreat No. 62

Falthejn raised an eyebrow, and Sif had the uncomfortable feeling that he saw right through her. “Though we grew up in different circumstances,” he remarked, “in many ways, you are very much like a younger me. You know very well what we talked about.” Sif remained silent, and Falthejn prompted, “Well?”

“Well, what?”

“What do you want to do? You have very little choice now that you’ve used magic in anger—”

Sif put in, “It wasn’t really my choice, was it?”

Falthejn shook his head. “It was. All I did was remind you that the choice was there to make.”

Sif tilted her head and gave him a look. “Did I have any other options?”

“You might have died,” Falthejn said baldly. “Not in a very pleasant manner, but more pleasant than do many magiker.” He returned her look with interest. “As I was saying, you have very little choice, but you do have a choice. You may decide to come with me to the Northlands, once we have escaped, to train to become a magiker. Your stunt with the ontlig armor would put you through the doors of the Skola der trollersmagiker—the conjurers—on the strength of the story alone.”

“What’s the other choice?”

“You may swear to me that you will never call on magic again. I will take your promise with me when I go north, and your name will be entered in a book. If ever you are found to be working magic, you will be killed.”

Sif walked in silence for a few steps. “A lot of my choices lead to death, don’t they?”

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