Well that certainly wasn’t amusing,” Magorian hissed once we were alone. He’d lead us back to his little cabin and sat us down on kitchen stools rather aggressively.
“Do you have any idea what could’ve happened had you crossed?”
“No we didn’t,” I said. Bevan gave me a look, but I ignored it. “No one does, cause no one will tell us!” I was more angry than scared, pushing the sight of the red clouds to the back of my mind.
“None of you are authorized to know that,” he said, “and your little excursion today proved you never will be.”
“What do you have to hide anyway?” I asked incredibly. What could this city be hiding?
Magorian ignored my question. I looked around at Bevan for support, but his eyes were fixed determinedly on the clay floor.
“Both of you are being suspended from Association,” Magorian said, his voice retaining some fixed calm.
Bevan’s head snapped up. He looked disbelievingly at Magorian as he asked, “For how long?”
“Until the marks fade,” he said. At first I thought he was talking about the red clouds, but then I felt a sharp pain above my navel. Bevan let out a sharp gasp of pain and I knew he felt the same sensation.
I pulled my shirt up to see glistening red scars had appeared there, in the shape of an ancient symbol.
I glared up angrily at Magorian. My navel now bore the mark of disgrace.
“That will be all, Bevan” Magorian said, “I trust you’ll find the door.”
I stood up to leave with him, but Magorian made an angry gesture and told me to stay behind.
With apprehension I watched Bevan disappear through the blue door that led to Magorian’s vegetable garden.
I looked back at Magorian. He had folded his arms on the table. I expected to be told how disappointed he was in me. I figured he should’ve kind of expected it.
“How many times have you crossed the barrier,” he asked, with the air of interrogating the village drunk. His eyes were steely, and colder than I’ve ever seen them. I didn’t quite understand why he was asking me this question. Surely he knew the answer?
“Only once,” I answered him tightly, determined not to brake contact with those light grey eyes. They now looked disbelieving, as though I was purposely wasting his time or lying.
“How sure are you of that?” he asked, his face drawing closer to mine.
“I’d think I’d remember being blasted onto my ass like I just was,” I said.
to my surprise he let out a sigh of relief. He still looked furious, but his eyes lit up a little.
“Why?” I asked, moving my head closer to his. “What does it matter?”
Magorian looked for a moment as though he wouldn’t answer me, but then he sighed again and said, “Sage Barrow and The City of Adwen have co-existed peacefully, these last hundred or so years, but that peace is very frail. The Sages and City Elders have long since agreed to keep their distance. We have decreed that if any of the inhabitants of each other’s dwelling cross the boundary on Fiery hill three times, the other could claim him or her for their own force, meaning-“
“If I cross the barrier two more times I become one of them,” I said calmly, after all, I’d only crossed it once.
“But what’s so bad about it?” I asked, suddenly extremely curious again.
“Astrid,” Magorian’s voice had snapped back to a hiss again, “You are not to have ideas or relate what we have discussed to anyone. Understood?”
“But the villagers have a right to know so they won’t –“
“Not all of them are as ventures as you Astrid,” he answered, then, “You may go, now.”
He stood up and left through another door that lead to the rest of the little cottage.
Now that I was alone it struck me how weird it was. Hardly anyone could say they’ve been to the home of a Sage Bearer. I’d expected something much more lush than this, but I guess it modesty comes with the whole being wise thing