Arinda Tolerably well, thank you.
So tell me about yourself. How long have you been with the Circle of Mages.
Arinda Oh,I’m considered a mere infant to the Circle. I’ve been here about six years or so.
Now the book is about your transition into the Circle, so we should probably steer clear of too much about that. Tell me about your life before the Circle.
Arinda Blech. Must we talk about that?
I take it that it wasn’t a happy life?
Arinda No, it wasn’t. Girl magickers live a dreary existence. It’s driven into our heads that we’re not wanted in society. We’re unlucky because we’re thought to attract mages, and the reason we attract mages is because of the binding, so it’s naturally thought of as something unspeakable and shameful, thus, we are unspeakable and shameful. So we’re hidden away lest anyone find out that the family has produced a wretched magicker girl.
But that doesn’t apply to the boys?
Arinda No, not exactly. Magickers are different from the rest of the Kyn. We’re a lot more powerful and, of course, people don’t like that which is different from them. But since the boys don’t attract mages and once they’re trained they’re no longer a menace to anyone, they’re acceptable, whereas girls are not.
That doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Arinda I never said it’s sensible. It’s just the way it is, and the Kyn accept that.
But then how are magickers born to Kyn families?
Arinda Oh, Cullen explained this to me once – let me see if I can remember right. He said that being a magicker is a recessive trait – it can skip generations or hit every time, depending on how strong the trait is. But you have to have it in the family, or your line produces no magickers.
So you could have generations of average Kyn, and then suddenly get a magicker?
Arinda Right, or you could have magickers in generation after generation. He said that those families used to marry only among magickers, keeping the bloodline strong. That practice is relatively outdated, though, and most lines are fairly diluted now. Plus, for some reason, the trait favors males more than females, which is why females are relatively rare.
How rare are they?
Arinda It’s hard to tell because they are so hidden away. They are truly subclass citizens.
And this is how you grew up?
Arinda I… well, I don’t think my parents realized what I was. My nanny kept that secret and terrorized me with what would happen if I ever told anyone. I never questioned it, because I’d been told that, well, I guess from birth.
How did she come to be there? Did your parents engage her?
Arinda I don’t really know that. She was always there.
Your mother never explained?
Arinda My mother and I are not on the best terms. When we talk, we don’t talk about ‘before’.
I see. Well, what sort of education did you get?
Arinda Well, because they didn’t know I was a magicker, my mum insisted on sending me to school, even though Nanny was furious about it. So I got at least a basic education, which is probably more than most other girl magickers get. But it was still nowhere near what I needed, and Nanny refused to let me study or have anything to do with the other kids.
That doesn’t sound like much fun.
Arinda It wasn’t. I hated it. The kids made fun of me because they thought I was stupid, and the school teacher… well, I don’t think he actually liked his job. He never really made an effort to help the kids. You either did the work or you didn’t, you learned it or you didn’t. He was never enthusiastic about it at all, the way Jahx is. When I first went to Vespith, I was baffled by that. I couldn’t figure out why Jahx cared whether I learned or not because I’d never had a teacher who did.
He was saying just yesterday what a brilliant student you turned out to be when you’d decided you wanted to learn.
Arinda Oh, I wanted to learn a lot more than he realized for a very long time. I was just terrified to. Nanny had told me that if my teachers thought I was smart, they’d find out that I was a magicker. Which I can see now makes absolutely no sense, but then I had no choice but to believe her. I was always trying to pick up anything I could without anyone noticing. Nanny would have had a stroke if she’d known.
It’s fortunate Jahx found you then.
Arinda The situation was not ideal, but in the end, I agree. I would never have had the opportunities I’ve had if he hadn’t. I would have gone on as I was, eventually probably becoming something like a scullery maid or a nanny to squelch other poor kids. But that’s all a story for another day.
Thank you for talking with us today Arinda!
Arinda My pleasure!