Liadran went to bed still thinking about it. She couldn’t sleep, tossing and turning as she continued her persistent self analysis. Finally just past midnight, Liadran closed her eyes and the answer came to her.
The next morning she barely managed to wake herself up in time. She got up, bathed, dressed, and ate breakfast. Awnan ignored her yawns and her obviously sleep deprived eyes. “Well? Do you have an answer?” he asked when she returned from taking care of their dishes.
“I think so,” Liadran said. “I think it’s because I don’t want things to change. While I didn’t practice magic, I could pretend I was just here to read books and learn that way. I was still Artan’s younger sister and his ward, and I could go home someday. But I can’t go home because I’m not just that little girl anymore. I’m going to be a mage. I’m going to be somebody important and I don’t want to be somebody important.”
“Let’s take that and break it down then,” Awnan said. “First, you are here to learn what I have to teach you. Some of that will be from books. The rest will be from practical application of what you learn from those books and other lessons I teach you. There is nothing stopping you from going home once you’re fully trained. You could easily return and be your brother’s house mage, though I would recommend highly against it. People would think you’d weigh in more favorably in his direction if something came up that you had to arbitrate. As to being important, you don’t have to be important to be a mage.”
“I thought mages were the most important people in the empire, except for the High Lords and the Imperial family,” Liadran said.
“We hold a great deal of power, but there are far more of us who prefer to keep to the background and focus our attentions on our studies rather than do anything to draw unwanted notice,” Awnan said. “I’m a mage and a spell weaver, and that’s enough notoriety for me. I study, I take the occasional apprentice, and when something is needed that fits my specific abilities I take care of it and go back to my preferred obscurity.”
“So I can read and study if I want when I’m trained?” Liadran asked.
“There is a great deal of material to study in this coven house, and even more in Lythan if you are good enough to go there to continue your studies,” Awnan said. “You will find much to keep yourself busy with if you choose to go that route.”
“But I’m still going to be someone different. I’m not going to be me anymore,” Liadran said.
“Who are you? You’re a child yet. You haven’t discovered who you are. You have preconceived notions of who you think you should be, perhaps some idea of who you wanted to be, but you are still discovering yourself. Don’t set your life in stone so early, Liadran. No one knows what the gods have in store for them,” Awnan said. “Now, come with me to the work room.”