“Have you thought about how you will make your way in the world, child?”

Rafaela frowned. “I thought I would be like you, mistress,” she said. “Traveling around and healing people.”

“With your skill at healing?” Carlisa burst out laughing; a red flush rose in Rafaela’s cheeks. “No, child,” the sorceress continued, still chuckling. “You seem to be better at breaking things than putting them back together.”

“Well then, what? And stop calling me child,” Rafaela burst out suddenly. “I’m almost seventeen. I’m a full woman! I am your student, your servant even,” and oh how it rankled her to say the word servant, but she managed to spit it out without changing her tone, “but I am not a child!”

Carlisa sighed, an amused look on her face. “And how old do you think I am?” The question brought Rafaela up short; she started to stammer something, but the sorceress held up her hand. “Never mind. It’s not polite to guess at a woman’s age, mage or no. But believe me when I say that compared to me, you will be a child for years yet.”