Out where rock outcroppings yearn to become mountains, there was a town cursed with no magic.
In this town, there was a family.
In this family, there was a girl.
She was nine, almost ten, Mara. Childhood hadn’t completely lifted its veil. She had an older brother, Ivan, who was fourteen, and whose voice was changing. Elsewhere, puberty would have signaled all sorts of preparations – acceptance into a special group home as much for his safety as for the general public – while his Unique Gift manifested. Watchfulness. Guidance. Training.
But not here.