The Seeing


Mirabel Bromithius never asked to have magic. It was all just kind of thrust upon her at birth. She always knew she was destined for something great, but being the return of a lost magical race was not exactly her first choice.
Her powers have never really been too exact, anyway. First light would dance on her fingers--then a glass would shatter.
One day, in a fit of anger, she accidentally kills a man and burns down a tavern, and the Royal Guard believes Witches like her must be hanged. Mirabel manages to escape to a safe place, only to discover that she's not the only one with powers.
They're Belqs--powerful, supernatural humans--and they live under a river. They're more surprised to see her there than she is.
The only way to stay with them and avoid persecution from the Royal Guard is to train like a warrior, for something she'd never believe was coming.

Something bigger than the Belqs.

Bigger than the Royal Guard.

The Keepers of the Mountains have awoken. And they're hungry.

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3. Prologue 2

*Garra Schoolhouse in Serpia, twelve years later*

 

“Haven’t you got anything better to do than be a complete waste of space?” jeered the voice of the most irritating pest Mirabel had ever known. She rolled her eyes, setting her half-torn schoolbook on the table. “Haven’t you got anything better to do than stick your head up your arse?” she shot back. “Bugger off, Rodder. I haven’t done anything to you.”

          “You haven’t done anything about those ugly, old books of yours, either. Must be a shame to be a poor man’s daughter.” Mirabel clenched her fists and swallowed hard. Don’t lose your temper. That’s just what he wants, she reminded herself.

          Rodder grinned impishly. He picked the book up roughly by its cover; as he did so, all the pages slid out and onto the floor, scattering across the classroom. He looked at her superiorly. “Now, if your father had any money, you could get that fixed.”

“Don’t talk about my father,” Mirabel growled, feeling her self-control slip through her fingers.

This time, Rodder laughed, loud and boldly. “You’re right. There’s nothing interesting about him, anyway.”

“Rodder, if you don’t shut your mouth—”

“I mean, who wants to hear about a metal-bashing, dirty-handed widower?”

In a moment’s flash, he was on the floor of scattered pages, Mirabel on top of him, her hands clasping his throat tightly. The other students began to yell, and Rodder’s face turned red as a cherry, his eyes bulging.

Rage flared in Mirabel’s mind, obstructing her better judgment. She shrieked in frustration, swallowing the urge to weep. Rodder always went far, but this time he had done it. Her father was the most hardworking, lovable person ever. She stiffened her grip, and began to hear Rodder gasping for breath. Mirabel was about to let go when a pair of coarse hands yanked her from the ground.

 

***

“I have had enough of you this year, Mirabel Bromithius,” Headmaster said to her in his office, shaking his head. “Why is your first instinct always to fight?”

Mirabel shrugged. “That’s just how I’m made up, sir.” She really didn’t know why she always lost her patience so fast. This was the seventh time in the past few months that she had been sent to the Headmaster for attacking someone or being smart to a teacher.

The man exhaled sharply. “Whatever it is, I have called your father.”

Mirabel’s eyes widened. “What?” The last thing she wanted was for him to be even more stressed. As soon as it was revealed, her father stepped in. For a moment, he looked old and tired. His blue eyes were weary, his hands dirtied and coarse from a hard day’s work of blacksmithing.

Bromithius took off his hat and sighed. “My apologies, Headmaster. I’ll have her straightened out when we get home. Tomorrow everything will be spick and span.”

Headmaster’s eyes sought the floor. “I’m afraid there will be no ‘tomorrow’ for her. The school cannot handle her misbehaviours. As of today, Mirabel is expelled from Garra Schoolhouse.”

Bromithius closed his eyes in shame and pleaded. “Please, sir. Can’t you do something else? I don’t have much of an education, I can’t teach her anything. Please.”

Headmaster shook his head adamantly. “The first thing you can teach her is how to behave herself. I’m sorry, but it’s too late. You may leave now.”

 

***

Mirabel walked in silence beside her father. It was painful silence, and her tongue burned to say something, but she couldn’t think of what to say.

“In my defense, Rodder was—”

“Mirabel, I don’t want to hear it,” Bromithius said. His voice was quiet, but his face showed his disappointment. “I told you so many times; control yourself. You’re sixteen. You can’t get everything you want by throwing a tantrum!”

“Papa, it wasn’t a tantrum—”

“Not a tantrum? You nearly killed that boy! And you got expelled! Do you expect me to take time off from my job and teach you?”

“No, I can come to work with you. I know almost everything about weapons. I don’t need an education. Girls never get as much schooling in this kingdom as boys, anyway.”

“Exactly,” her father said. “And that is why you must take what you can get. My job is not rewarding. I want to see you become better than me, not stuck in the same place.”

She sighed. “I don’t like school. I feel like there’s something more out there for me, Papa!”

He stopped walking and turned to face her. “There is nothing for us, we are common village folk. For angel’s sake, at least once, do what your mother would want for you!”

At the mention of her, Mirabel’s heart stung. It hurt to hear her father say something like that. “Do not play that card on me!” she cried out. Her mother was a sore topic for her, especially as she never knew exactly why things had played out the way they did twelve years before. “You’re being unfair!”

He stared at her firmly. “Well, when I die, you can do whatever you want.”

Then he continued his way home.

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