“You seems the most likely one, yes,” the woman still did not look up from her bowl. “And I knew that once you discovered your magical abilities, you would come looking for answers.”
“I suppose you were right,” Leylina said slowly.
“But why did you come to me?” The woman asked.
“Because...everyone in the kingdom is afraid,” Leylina told her.
“Afraid of what?”
“Afraid of beauty. Because there is beauty in magic.”
“So you believe that they are afraid of magic?”
“Yes. They believe that those who can perform magic are cursed, and bring unfortunate happenings to occur.” Leylina explained.
“And you thought I was different.” Leylina could not tell, but she thought the woman was smiling.
“I - yes,” she replied. “I had only heard rumours of your existence. People of the kingdom call you Dalaia. ‘Cursed one,’ in the Ancient Language. You are a myth. They say that you a thousand-year-old performer of magic, and you spend your days lurking in your tavern, here, in the city. I presumed that you would be able to help me,”
“Help you?” The woman hissed menacingly. “Why would I do that?”
“I’m not entirely sure, to be honest with you,” Leylina said confidentially. “I suppose a good reason would be because...you and I...we are...”
“The only ones left?” The woman inquired.
“Yes. That was what I presumed.”
“Let me tell you something, child. Take a seat,” she pointed to a chair next to herself. That was odd. Leylina could have sworn that chair wasn’t there only moments ago. Nevertheless, she sat down.
“You and I,” the woman, Dalaia, began. “Are so very different. I, indeed, am a performer of magic. And I am indeed cursed. I have also lived for thousands of years. A long time ago, me and my race were called Cursed Ones. This was because when we were born, we were born in darkness.”
“What do you mean, ‘born in darkness?’”
“I mean that we were born as evils of this world. We were rejected in society. Us cursed ones could live for thousands of years. We could perform dangerous magic. We were twisted and evil, some said. People considered us vile. Our voices were hoarse and horrible. Our powers were beyond imaginable. We were outcasts of our own world.” The woman said.
“Why are you the only one left? The only one we know of?”
“We were killed off,” Dalaia said. “We became extinct, even though we are supposed to be immortal. I now, indeed, am the only Cursed One that I know of that remains. Such power and magic does not exist in this world. Soon, magic will disappear altogether due to people’s hate of beauty, as you say.”
“You’re telling me that I am not a Cursed One?”
“You are most definitely not. Your abilities are microscopic compared to the abilities my brethren possessed.”
“How do you know what I can do?”
“I know a great many things, Leylina. And something I know is that I cannot help you. I also know that to expose your power would be putting you and your family in immense danger.”
“What should I do?” Leylina asked in desperation. “I have to have answers! What does this all mean?”
“What is it exactly that you can do? What are your magical abilities?” Dalaia asked.
“Well...it’s complicated,” Leylina replied. “I can do simple things, like swish my hand over something and make it glow temporarily. But I can also...I’m not entirely sure - it’s like I can read words, and travel inside of them.”