Chapter no 29: The Doors of My Mind

The Name of the Wind

UP ONTO THE ROOFTOPS and back to my secret place, I wrapped myself in my blanket and cried. I cried as if something inside me had broken and everything was rushing out.

When I had worn myself out with sobbing it was deep into the night. I lay there looking at the sky, weary but unable to sleep. I thought of my parents and of the troupe, and was surprised to find the memories less bitter than before.

For the first time in years, I used one of the tricks Ben had taught me for calming and sharpening the mind. It was harder than I remembered, but I did it.

If you have ever slept the whole night without moving, then awoke in the morning, your body stiff with inaction. If you can remember how that first terrific stretch feels, pleasant and painful, then you may understand how my mind felt after all these years, stretching awake on the rooftops of Tarbean.

I spent the rest of that night opening the doors of my mind. Inside I found things long forgotten: my mother fitting words together for a song, diction for the stage, three recipes for tea to calm nerves and promote sleep, finger scales for the lute.

My music. Had it really been years since I held a lute?

I spent a long time thinking about the Chandrian, about what they had done to my troupe, what they had taken from me. I remembered blood and the smell of burning hair and felt a deep, sullen anger burning in my chest. I will admit I thought dark, vengeful thoughts that night.

But my years in Tarbean had instilled an iron-hard practicality. I knew revenge was nothing more than a childish fantasy. I was fifteen. What could I possibly do?

I did know one thing. It had come to me as I lay remembering. It was something Haliax had said to Cinder. Who keeps you safe from the Amyr? The singers? The Sithe? From all that would harm you in the world?

The Chandrian had enemies. If I could find them, they would help me. I had no idea who the singers or the Sithe were, but everyone knew that the Amyr were church knights, the strong right hand of the Aturan Empire.

Unfortunately, everyone also knew that there had been no Amyr in three hundred years. They had been disbanded when the Aturan Empire collapsed.

But Haliax had spoken of them as if they still existed. And Skarpi’s story implied that the Amyr had begun with Selitos, not with the Aturan Empire as I had always been taught. There was obviously more to the story, more that I needed to know.

The more I thought on it, the more questions arose. The Chandrian obviously didn’t kill everyone who gathered stories or sang songs about them. Everyone knew a story or two about them, and every child at one point has sung the silly rhyme about their signs. What made my parent’s song so different?

I had questions. There was only one place for me to go, of course.

I looked over my meager possessions. I had a rag blanket and a burlap sack with some straw that I used for a pillow. I had a pint bottle with a cork in it, half full of clean water. A piece of canvas sailcloth that I weighted down with bricks and used as a windbreak on cold nights. A crude pair of salt-dice and a single, tatty shoe that was too small for me, but that I hoped to trade for something else.

And twenty-seven iron pennies in common coin. My rainy-day money. A few days ago it had seemed like a vast treasure trove, but now I knew it would never be enough.

As the sun was rising, I removed Rhetoric and Logic from its hiding place underneath a rafter. I unwrapped the scrap of treated canvas I used to protect it and was relieved to find it dry and well. I felt the smooth leather in my hands. I held it to my face and smelled the back of Ben’s wagon, spice and yeast with the bitter tang of acids and chemical salts mingled in. It was the last tangible piece of my past.

I opened it to the first page and read the inscription Ben had made more than three years ago.


Defend yourself well at the University. Make me proud. Remember your father’s song. Be wary of folly.


I nodded to myself and turned the page

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