In part two of Stolen Moments, Mantisia learns all she can of magic from the doomed Sarbeth. Mantisia has a plan to free him from the bargain with the eternal Valinah, maybe at the cost of her own short life. The conclusion of Lindsey Duncan’s mythic fantasy. SY
Mantisia, Age Twenty-Three
We came to the city of Sherig two days later. Sarbeth had ten tomes of magic with him; I had memorized every word. I had never concentrated on something so intently, and the gestures of power flowed through my veins. I could lift small objects with a thought and create illusions that danced in the darkness.
He was a patient teacher, always gentle with corrections, and he understood the furious pace of my mind. I devoured every scrap of history and lore. The pride in his gaze was a light, and I felt I could speak to him in a look, as I had once imagined Silt did—words of hope, words of discovery and words of the future. It was a future neither of us had, and it bound us.
I had two hours before dark, two luminous hours of freedom. I toured the city, gone mad with sensations. I heard the sussurus of fabric as people drifted past; saw fraying ribbons of paint on signs and wall-murals; tasted brick-dust and baker’s yeast on the air. Every scene—things that flashed past others as nothing more than dim impressions—was an endless story.
Mantisia experiences time differently to everyone else, and it slips away faster than grains of sand. Sacrificing her years, she journeys into a world she barely knows to face a force she cannot possibly understand. First part of Lindsey Duncan’s two-part mythic fantasy. SY
Mantisia, Age Seven
Time is more important to me than it is to anyone else. My mother says that’s impossible because I haven’t had as much of it, but I have. It’s all bunched up into a tiny space, like when you curl in your limbs and tuck your head to hide from the world. You still know you’re there, though. People talk to me about seasons and tell me it’s summer, but that doesn’t really mean anything to me.
I don’t want to talk about me. I want to talk about Sarbeth and his sideways-turned leg and his dog, the pretty hound with silver fur. The hound is important because they’re best friends. They can talk to each other by looking. Anyone can, if you know how to listen to eyes. I’ve been teaching myself, because there’s so much space in my head when I’m the only thing moving.