Page 57

“So . . . not to sound mean or anything, but why did Finn want you to help?” I rubbed my arms, hoping I didn’t upset him by asking.

“Because I’m strong.” Tove tossed the stone aside, apparently tiring of it. “And he trusts me.” He looked back at me. “So let’s see what you can do.”

“With what?” I asked, confused by the abrupt change of subject.

“Anything.” He spread his arms wide. “Can you move stuff?”

“With my hands, yeah.”

“Obviously.” He rolled his eyes. “You’re not a paraplegic, so I assumed you were physically capable.”

“I can’t do much. Just persuasion, and I haven’t used it since I’ve been here.”

“Try.” Tove pointed to the chandelier dangling above us. “Move that.”

“I don’t want to move that,” I said, alarmed.

An image flashed in my mind. The painting I had seen in Elora’s room, all dark smoke and red fires around broken chandeliers. Except the image in my mind seemed much more vivid, as if I could smell the smoke and see the fire raging, casting new shadows in the painting. The sound of glass shattering echoed in my ear.

I swallowed hard and shook my head, taking several steps back from the chandelier. I hadn’t been underneath it exactly, but I wanted to get farther away.

“What was that?” Tove asked, cocking his head at me.


“Something happened.” He studied me, trying to decipher my reaction, but I just shook my head. It felt like too much to explain, and I wasn’t sure that I hadn’t imagined it. “Interesting.”

“Thanks,” I mumbled.

“I hate to do this, since you look so frightened, but I need to get you out of my head.” He looked up at the chandelier, and my eyes followed his.

My heart raced in my chest, and my throat felt dry. The crystal shards twinkled and chimed and started to shimmer. I took several steps back, wanting to yell at him to stop, but I didn’t even know if he’d listen. Then the whole chandelier started to sway, and I couldn’t hold back.

“Stop!” I shouted, my voice echoing through the front hall. “Why are you doing that?”

“I am sorry.” He exhaled deeply, and looked back down at me. I kept my eyes locked on the chandelier until I was certain it’d stopped moving. “I had to do something, and there was nothing else in the room I could move, except for you yourself, and I didn’t think you’d like that either.”

“Why did you have to move anything?” I snapped. My panic had started to fade, replaced by a pulsating anger, and I clenched my fists at my sides.

“When you get frightened like that, you project it so intensely.” He held up his hands, pushing them out to demonstrate. “Most people can’t hear it or feel it anymore, but I’m particularly sensitive to emotion. And when I move things, it helps focus me. It kinda shuts off the noise for a while. You were too strong. I had to silence it.” He shrugged. “I’m sorry.”

“You didn’t need to freak me out like that.” I calmed a bit, but my words still came out hard. “Just don’t do that again, please.”

“It’s such a shame.” Tove watched me, looking both bemused and rueful. “They won’t even be able to see what you really are. They’ve all gotten so weak that they won’t be able to tell how powerful you are.”

“What are you talking about?” I momentarily forgot my anger.

“Your mother is so powerful.” Tove sounded almost awed by it. “Probably not as much as you, and maybe not as much as me, but it’s in her blood, crackling like electricity. I feel her walking through a room, and she’s almost magnetized. But the rest of them . . .” He shook his head.

“You mean the other Trylle?” I clarified, since Tove insisted on being so cryptic.

“We used to move the earth.” He sounded wistful, and his whole demeanor had changed. He was no longer pacing or looking around, and I realized that moving the chandelier really had done something to him.

“Are you speaking literally or metaphorically?” I asked.

“Literally. We could make mountains, stop rivers.” He moved his arms dramatically, as if he could do those things now. “We created everything around us! We were magic!”

“Aren’t we still magic?” I asked, surprised by the passion in his voice.

“Not the way we were before. Once the humans created their own magic with technology, the dependence switched. They had all the power and the money, and we started to depend on them to raise our children,” he scoffed. “Changelings stopped coming back, when they realized we didn’t have that much to offer them anymore.”

“We came back,” I pointed out emptily.

“Your gardener, who makes the flowers bloom, she’s a Marksinna!” Tove pointed to the back of the house where the garden lay. “A gardener! I’m not one for class, but when one of the most powerful members of your population is the gardener, you know it’s a problem.”

“Well . . . why is she a gardener, then?” I asked.

“Because. Nobody else can do it.” He looked at me, his green eyes burning with something. “Nobody can do anything anymore.”

“You can. I can,” I said, hoping to alleviate whatever distressed him.

“I know.” He sighed and lowered his eyes. “Everyone’s just gotten too fixated on the human system of monarchy. With designer dresses and expensive jewels.” His lip curled with disgust. “Our obsession with riches has always been our downfall.”