Smoke and Memories (The Dark Sorcerer #3) - D.K. Holmberg Page 0,1

did, she no longer knew if that posed a problem for her. She had helped the Society.

“I could use your help,” she said. “Rather than sitting there, commenting on how little I know and how much I’m afraid, you could offer me some assistance.”

“How can I help? You made it quite clear that I’m not a sorcerer.”

“I think it’s the opposite. Every time I’ve asked for you to participate in any type of sorcery, you tell me that you aren’t a sorcerer.”

“I’m not,” Eva said, leaning back.


“What am I supposed to say? There’s no doubt that I’m not a sorcerer. There’s no way for me to use the kind of magic you possess. Even if I wanted to—and I don’t—I don’t have the years you’ve trained at the Academy to fall back on the same way you do.”

Jayna breathed out slowly. Years. When Eva said it like that, it brought home the truth of what she’d gone through, and the truth of what Jayna had abandoned by accepting this new responsibility. Years. That was what she had traded. All the time she’d spent at the Academy learning how to be a sorcerer, intending to rise within the Society so that she could use her abilities to suit their needs. Now all of that was gone. All of that was wasted. If she had remained at the Academy, she might have taken a post much like Char had taken—then what?

Jayna wouldn’t have been content. Even when she’d been at the Academy, she had a certain restlessness about her. It had come from a need to get moving, to keep digging, to learn more than what the instructors were willing to teach. It had come from her desire to try to find the answers that seemed just out of reach.

“You don’t have to look so sullen like that,” Eva said.

Jayna smiled slightly. “That’s funny coming from you.”

“I have reasons for my sullenness.”

“Just because you don’t remember what happened before we met? That isn’t an excuse.”

“I’m sorry, I thought my emotional trauma was a good enough reason for me to act this way.”

“Everybody has emotional trauma,” Jayna said. She flicked her gaze to the open spellbook resting on the ground nearby, and made a mental note of the pattern she needed to complete. She was close enough now that she thought she could hold on to the pattern, but she wanted to finish powering through the outline before she attempted the next part of it. It slowed Jayna quite a bit to have Eva sitting nearby, making comments, but she still thought she had enough control with this.

She neared the end of the pattern, then stopped.

She heard something. Jayna wasn’t entirely sure what it was, but she was certain it was out there. She looked up, out into the forest.

“Did you detect anything?” Jayna asked Eva.

Eva scarcely lifted her head. “If this is some way for you to delay things . . .”

The ring on her finger started to constrict, and Jayna frowned, starting off without even hesitating.

“What now?” Eva’s voice carried too loudly through the trees, but Jayna ignored it.

A dark creature.

There had to be one here.

They had come across quite a few different dark creatures in the forest since she had come to Nelar, but none over the last few weeks.

The ring stopped constricting.

So Jayna stopped. She was in a denser part of the forest, darkness surrounding her.

She waited, but the constricting didn’t return.

When a surge of heat came from behind her, she spun to see Eva approaching, practically floating as she made her way toward her.

“Did you find anything? You’ve been so restless these days, maybe it would be good for you to come across another dark creature. Perhaps not one of the dwaring,” Eva said with a hint of a smile, “but maybe hitarin or covis or—”

Jayna frowned. When the constricting still didn’t return, she started back the way she came.

“I haven’t been restless.”

“It’s only been my imagination,” Eva said, shaking her head.

She paused at the clearing, then returned to the pattern she had been working on.

There was no point in delaying this anymore.

Rather than trying to drag her foot through the rest of the pattern, she stepped away from it and onto a large boulder near the edge of the clearing, looking down upon what she had created.

As much as she hated to admit it, Eva might’ve been right. She had created a bit of irregularity with her halting movements. For the most part, the star looked to