The day before tomorrow

“Are you all right?”

He moves his pile of parchment and I put the bottle on the table. Shadows are heavy beneath his eyes and his shoulders slump under his hide tunic. He looks bone tired. I stop myself from smiling. Funny for a Magician.

“Fine,” he mutters, covering his writing with a fresh piece of parchment. I know better than to look, anyway. He takes the bottle and downs half of it. “She’s at that point.”

“She?”

He sits back in his chair and the old wood creaks. “The woman who has me sitting here, writing. Writing that she won’t even let anyone see.”

He scrubs at his heavy face and lets out a slow sigh. “Tomorrow I’ll probably look different, Shena.”

“You seem to change day to day, getting worse, if I may say so.”

He laughs, something hollow, brittle. “Tomorrow.” He lifts his bottle and salutes me. “You’ll see.”

I wring my apron, it’s none of my business, but… “You’re a Magician, sir. How can anyone tell you what to do?”

A real smile touches his mouth and a spark of fire flashes in his disconcertingly silver eyes. “You’d think that, wouldn’t you.” He shakes his head. “She’s different.”

His spine straightens. “You know, what Shena? Damn her. Grab a bottle and sit with me. My tab,” he says as I hesitate.

I look back to the empty bar. Jerem is asleep in his usual chair. The tavern is dead.

“All right.”

His fingers lightly touch the parchment and the writings hidden beneath. There’s a bleakness in his gaze that twists my insides. “And if you would, you can tell me about Fen Dakis…”

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