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Lady Sandrilene fa Toren sat in the room that was her study in her uncle’s palace. In her hands she held a thread circle, one that included four lumps spaced equally apart. It was a symbol not just of her first magical working, but of the magical bond she shared with her foster-brother and two foster-sisters, who had been away from home for months. Today was Sandry’s birthday, and she missed them. Normally she could have reached out through their connection without even touching the thread, and spoken with them, magic to magic, but not in the last two years. They had traveled far beyond reach, into lands and experiences Sandry couldn’t share.

“Daja at least should have been here,” she said and sniffed. “She was supposed to come home a year ago. But no. She wanted to see more of Capchen, and Olart–“

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