“Do you know why you are here?” the stern man asked. He was tall but heavyset with longish white hair and a goatee. He did not look like a spy. He looked more like an innkeeper.
Kevon shifted uncomfortably on the wooden bench. “I believe so,” he said.
The old spy’s eyes flashed with anger. “You will address me as Master Sadao, understood?”
“Yes, Master Sadao. I’m sorry.”
“Respect, Kevon, respect. Nothing is more important. Now tell me why you are here.”
“I am to learn the ways of the anthrang, Master Sadao.”
“No, Kevon. You are here because of your mother.”
His mother. Kevon looked away.
He didn’t want to have anything to do with his mother. Not any more. Not after what he had found out about her.
Master Sadao turned on his heel and walked across the office. He snatched up a globe from a shelf of the large bookcase that took up nearly one wall.
“Tell me of the lands of Tomira,” Master Sadao said. He put the globe behind his back so Kevon could not see it.
“I don’t understand—”
Like a bolt of lightning, Master Sadao covered the two yards between them and smashed his hand down on the bench with a loud crack.
Kevon jumped, startled, and nearly toppled off the bench.
“MASTER SADEO, if you please!”
“I’m sorry, sir. Master Sadao.”
“Stop groveling, boy. And answer the question. The lands of Tomira…”
“Yes, Master. Ummm, Triscar, of course. Kaarna, Harion, the Wilderlands…”
“And the proper name for the Wilderlands?”
“The Tengan Empire, Master Sadao?”
“Close. The Tengan Territories. Continue.”
“Good. What else?”
“Yes, yes. The Isle of Thindrel, where who lives…?”
“I don’t understand the question, Master Sadeo.”
“Thindrel has but one city, and everyone who lives there is of one group.”
“Forgive my ignorance, Master Sadao, but I do not know.”
“Good, Kevon, good. If you do not know a fact, just admit to that. We will return to Thindrel in good time. Anything else about the lands of Tomira? Did we miss anything?”
“The Forgotten Lands, Master.”
“Yes, very good. Although the average citizen of Harion does not know much about them, so we will not spend too much time on them either. What do you know about the Forgotten Lands?”
“Not much, sir. They are somewhere far to the west, where the storms are born. No one really goes there, and I don’t think anyone lives there either.”
“That’s not entirely true, but it is good enough. Anything else?”
Kevon thought hard, tried to review what he knew of the world. Started with Triscar, of course. Then pictured each land, floating in the ocean. He couldn’t think of any other continents or islands.
“Sit here at the desk,” Master Sadao said. He had set out a large square of slate and a piece of chalk.
Kevon sat down.
“Can you draw?”
“No, Master. My friend Iseo is a skilled artist, but I am not.”
“No matter. You will do your best.”
“I…I don’t understand…Master.”
“Draw the world, Kevon. Like you are making a map.”
“Master Sadao, I have no knowledge of mapmaking—”
“I will not judge you on your artistic skill, Kevon. Just do your best. And don’t forget to label each land. You do know how to write, don’t you?”
And with that, the tall spy left the room. He took the globe with him.
Kevon looked down at the slate. He thought for a while. Then he tentatively scratched out what he thought the world looked like.