Skin Hunger: A Resurrection of Magic Summary
Since the chapters alternate between Sadima's perspective and Hahp's perspective, we're gonna lump each character's plot highlights in together.
Sadima's mom dies giving birth to her—oh, and because a magician that Sadima's brother, Micah, hired to help with the birth turns out to be a fraud. Sadima grows up with Micah and their dad on the farm, but Sadima realizes that she's different from them because she's always been able to hear the thoughts of animals. When she's fourteen or so, Sadima meets a young man named Franklin, who says he wants to work to restore magic in the world. He thinks her link with animals could be helpful with this, and he says to come find him in the city of Limòri if she's interested.
Sadima's dad dies a few years later, and her brother's going to marry this chick he's into. Sadima decides to go find Franklin in Limòri. There, she lives with him and Somiss, who seems to be in charge. Sadima cooks and cleans for them, and she also makes copies of Somiss's research notes for him (she can't read when she starts, but she eventually teaches herself to). Things begin to get weird when Somiss goes on this power trip and becomes paranoid about his dad being on his tail to make him stop researching magic.
Sadima wants to leave this clearly abusive situation, but she's fallen in love with Franklin and she can't leave without him. Someone sets their home on fire, and the three escape into the night, heading for some caves that Somiss thinks are the ancient home of magic.
Hahp is 11 when his dad (who seems like a huge jerk) takes him to the school of magic and basically just leaves him there. There are nine other boys, and the wizards tell them that only one will survive the training. Hahp gets stuck with the only boy who's a commoner, Gerrard. At first they're starved and not allowed to sleep—and then the psychological torture begins. The leader of the school, Somiss (that sounds familiar…) starts turning them against each other, and their main teacher, Franklin (that sounds familiar too…) begins to teach them to control their breathing and calm their thoughts in the midst of all this craziness.
Hahp passes the first few tests, such as learning to magically make food for himself so that he doesn't starve to death, and he also learns to move his thoughts into animals (thus saving him from a deadly snakebite—also a test, woohoo). Despite being repeatedly told not to help the other students though, Hahp throws Gerrard a lifeline. They eventually decide to secretly cooperate so that they can both survive the training and get revenge on the wizards who are killing boys as part of their training process.
What do these two plotlines have to do with each other? By the end of Sadima's story, we learn that Somiss wants to start an academy for magic. And that academy is exactly where Hahp ends up. How long has passed between their two storylines, and what happens to Sadima, Franklin, and Somiss in between the two timelines, though—that's a mystery.
- Micah runs and runs until he reaches town and can look for a magician in the crowded market.
- He sees an old lady in a black robe selling herbs, and he begs her to come and help his mother.
- The old lady ignores him at first, until people in the crowd start shouting that clearly he needs her help.
- She grasps his hand, and he notices her dirty yellowed fingernails, which he'll remember from then on.
- There's a switch from third-person to first-person narrator, and we learn that our "I" is Hahp, an eleven-year-old boy whose father decides to get rid of him by packing him off… somewhere.
- Hahp's mother tries to check in with him, but she's obviously afraid of his father.
- Hahp sees that one window in his father's mansion is lit up from within; that means that one of the servants, Celia, who's always been kind to him, is awake.
- Since Hahp's father breeds sought-after flying horses, he's pretty rich, which means there's a really fancy carriage to cart Hahp away. His parents ride with him, and Hahp thinks about how much he hates his father.
- Micah tells the magician that his mother needs help birthing. She asks for six silver pieces; he says they only have five.
- Their neighbor, Mattie Han, urges the magician to go help, saying that Micah's mother is a friend of hers.
- Micah and the magician ride in her wagon back to his family's farm. The magician counts and bites each silver piece before going in to help Micah's mom.
- Micah and his dad stay out of the way as instructed. The magician tells them that the baby and mom are fine, and she leaves, saying to let them rest.
- They talk about naming the baby Sadima, do some farm chores, and eventually go check on the new baby.
- What they find is horrifying: Micah's mother is dead, the baby is whimpering and cold on the ground. The pewter candlesticks are gone, and everything's been rummaged through.
- Micah doesn't even think before reacting: he picks up his baby sister and takes her into the barn. They sleep in the hay, with him curling his body around hers to keep her warm.
- The carriage flies over the city of Limòri, and Hahp hates all the poverty he sees. His mom tries to reassure him that maybe he'll like where he's going.
- Where's he going? The academy. Applications are done in secret.
- As the carriage flies up above the city, toward some cliffs, Hahp leans out and thinks of flinging himself from the carriage to his death. But he's too cowardly.
- Micah holds baby Sadima as his dad tells him to go do some chores. Micah's supposed to leave Sadima in the house, but he takes her to the barn so that she doesn't cry.
- He leaves her in a horse's empty feedbox while he does a bunch of chores, then he brings the goat's milk into the house.
- When he gets back to the barn, there's a rat on Sadima's shoulder, with its snout right next to her face.
- Micah freezes and worries that it'll bite her, or scratch out her eyes. Why's it acting like that, anyway? It must be sick or something.
- The rat jumps down, and Micah kills it. Sadima begins crying, and she keeps crying til Micah comforts her.
- Hahp's dad keeps reminding him to sit up. The carriage lands, and they see wizards in black robes standing by a set of giant iron doors.
- Other carriages arrive, as does a messenger boy from the city below. The other boys all come from rich families, and they all walk inside the iron doors.
- Sadima's in the habit of waking up at night, sneaking out, and running around outside. She imagines the world out there, such as the big city of Limòri far to the west.
- On her tenth birthday, she goes for a night run and sees a lone wolf cub, who she wrestles with for a while.
- The wolf's mother comes back, but senses that Sadima doesn't mean any harm. Sadima goes home, starts milking the goats, and doesn't tell Micah where she's been. The last time she told him the truth, he told Papa that she'd been lying.
- Inside the cavern, Hahp's mom chatters about the other noble families there, and Hahp knows that he's the first of the Malek family to be brought to the academy.
- One wizard announces that it's time for the parents to leave, and that one boy will emerge as a wizard… or none will. Those who fail will remain there as part of the school.
- Hahp's mom and dad leave. His dad doesn't say goodbye or even look back.
- Sadima walks the herd of goats home, listening in on their thoughts about grass, corn, and water. She thinks about painting, which she loves to do but has to keep a secret from her father, who disapproves of anything not useful.
- When she gets home, Micah tells her that he talked their dad into letting her come with him to buy a horse. Off they go.
- In town, they see Mattie Han, who's all friendly and stuff, and is disappointed that Sadima never gets to come visit her and her daughters. Apparently Sadima's dad is pretty paranoid and over-protective. It's hard to blame him considering what happened to his wife, though.
- Micah and Sadima go to check out some horses, when Sadima feels a wave of fear wash over her. There are a bunch of men whipping a large gray horse. The owner says to get the horse out, and sell it for as cheaply as they can.
- Sadima walks into the corral, asks how cheap, and settles on a price of three coppers. Then she walks up to the horse, calms him down, and puts a halter on him.
- Everyone is staring. As they leave, Sadima tells the horse that he'll have a better life at their farm—she thinks that if people could feel the same pain animals felt, there'd be less animal cruelty.
- Micah tells her that what she did was stupid and dangerous, but Sadima knows the truth: she was never in any danger with that horse, he was just afraid of the men beating him. But she can never tell anyone that, since she's different from other people.
- The wizards tell the boys to line up in pairs. Hahp ends up next to the messenger boy, who stinks of fish. The pairs are all assigned to rooms in various parts of the caverns.
- Hahp gets stuck in a room with Fishboy, as he'd feared.
- One of Sadima's goats is giving birth, and it's not going well.
- Someone appears and shouts her name—it's a young dude in a black robe, which makes Sadima instantly wary. He says he wants to talk to her, and that his name is Franklin.
- He notices that the goat isn't doing well, and asks if he can help. Sadima says no, and that she's helpless too—and then he suggests that she try loaning the goat some of her strength.
- This intuitively makes sense to Sadima, since she's felt feelings and thoughts flow into her from animals before. This would basically be reversing the exchange, so she tries to give some of her strength to the goat, and it seems to work.
- The goat gives birth to four baby goats (aw…), and Franklin helps Sadima carry them partway back to the farm.
- Franklin tells Sadima that he lives in Limòri, and that his master, Somiss, is a brilliant man intent on restoring magic to the world. They talk about how she can hear the thoughts of animals, and how Franklin heard about her taming the horse and that's why he came to see her.
- He tells her to come see him in Limòri someday, and that maybe she can help them gather up the puzzle pieces to figure out magic again. If people could understand one another the way Sadima understands animals, maybe they could end war and violence.
- Hahp and his new roommate step into the dark room, which grows darker when the door slams behind them. The door won't open again.
- The boys talk as they start to feel around the pitch-black room. Neither one can find a lamp, and strangely, neither one can find the other either.
- They count out their paces as they walk toward each other's voices… but they still can't reach each other.
- Finally a wizard opens the door. They see that they're in a narrow room with two cots. Which is totally weird, given that they'd been pacing for a long time trying to find each other, and yet neither one had bumped into any walls or the cots.
- Sadima's dad dies on her seventeenth birthday. Mattie Han and her kids come to the funeral, and Sadima realizes that Micah has fallen in love with one of the daughters, Laran.
- Soon after, Micah announces that he'll marry Laran and Sadima says great—this'll make it easier for her to leave.
- She explains her plans to go to Limòri, but Micah gets angry and says he's glad their father is dead, since he could've never stood the heartbreak of Sadima leaving to find magic when a magician killed their mother.
- She packs her things and leaves, since Micah's too upset to say goodbye.
- A wizard carrying a torch leads Hahp and his roomie through twisting, turning tunnels; Hahp starts trying to remember all the turns but can't keep them straight.
- They enter a room with the other boys and a wizard, who tells them to take off all their clothing. The pile of clothing catches fire and burns.
- The wizard tells the boys not to help one another—and then he disappears into thin air.
- Hahp follows his roomie back to their room, where they find lamps and scratchy black robes; there are also two books on their cots.
- Hahp is terrified, but he manages to fall asleep anyway.
- Sadima walks west, bartering for food when she can and gathering it otherwise, and bathing in streams.
- In two weeks, a woman in a carriage asks Sadima where she's going and offers her a lift the rest of the way to Limòri.
- The woman, who's named Kary Blae, makes small talk with Sadima, and tells her to come see her on the hill where she lives if she ever needs help. Sadima hops out at the marketplace where she's to ask about Franklin.
- Hahp wakes up when a wizard pounds on the door. The boys use the chamber pot and rinse with water from a faucet, and then they follow the wizard down the tunnel.
- For a moment, Hahp thinks about his roomie as Fishboy… and then the boy turns to him, addresses him by his full name (Hahp Malek), and says that his name isn't Fishboy, but rather Gerrard da Masi. Whoa, what? How did he know about the nickname Hahp used in his head?
- They step inside the room and see the boys sitting in a half circle around a wizard. He looks very old and possibly crippled.
- He says that the boys will begin to master their thoughts, and also that his name is Franklin.
- Sadima wanders around the packed square, and finally sees a woman in a black robe and decides to talk to her. The woman introduces herself as Maude Truthteller, and she talks about how Franklin and Somiss live nearby.
- Maude leads Sadima to their place, urging her to flirt with Somiss because apparently he's too serious.
- Sadima goes inside the multi-story building, finds the green door as instructed, and knocks. Franklin opens the door but doesn't recognize her at first. Sadima reminds him that they'd met three years ago, and he helped save her goat.
- Somiss is very cold at first, saying only to call him again when his scheduled appointment arrives; Franklin says that it will take time to convince Somiss to keep her around.
- Sadima offers to sleep on the floor, and she begins to clean the kitchen while Somiss talks to a man who's paid to bring him news of the royal family (which is also his family).
- Living in darkness makes it impossible to know when the sun rises or sets, so the wizards wake up Hahp and his roomie to go to classes with Franklin.
- Classes with Franklin are about learning breathing patterns and emptying their minds—which is hard to do when you're starving, since the wizards never feed them.
- As much as he hates his father, Hahp just wants to go home.
- He starts reading the history book that's in his room. The first section is about the first Age of Magic. Wizards were super-powerful back then, but a bunch of kings felt threatened so they convinced the common people that wizards were evil, and then wizards were hunted and killed.
- Hahp slowly but surely starts to get the hang of Franklin's breathing lessons, even though weird stuff keeps happening, like blurs that he sees out of the corner of his eye. Are they being watched?
- Sadima cleans the kitchen until Franklin comes in to talk to her. Somiss wants her to go, but Franklin thinks that if Sadima cooks and cleans for a while, he'll come around.
- She sleeps on a few blankets on the kitchen ground, then gets up and makes breakfast for everyone.
- Somiss glares a lot, but eats his food and then goes back to his room—according to Franklin, he's in there working all the time.
- Sadima goes to the market for dinner ingredients, and Somiss seems to soften up a bit. Cooking and cleaning is stuff that she's used to, and if she has to step carefully around Somiss, well, she's used to that too from living with her dad. Maybe this could work.
- A wizard leads the boys to a huge room with a giant multifaceted jewel on a pedestal. Franklin appears and has a brief exchanged with the scary pale-eyed wizard (whose name is Somiss). Then Franklin leaves.
- Somiss tells the boys that they will learn to use the stone, or they will die. Then he makes a big tray of food appear, and he vanishes.
- Sadima listens in when Somiss interviews people. He's after old songs and rhymes. Sadima tries to help him by stacking papers, but Somiss gets annoyed at her.
- Franklin returns from the market and says he'll try not to leave Sadima alone with Somiss again.
- Then Franklin hugs her and says that everything's been better since she came, and that he's happier than he's ever been.
- The boys all freeze when faced with all that food, and someone says they should take turns.
- Then Gerrard dashes in and gathers a bunch of food. The other boys gang up on him, and he gets punched a few times before managing to get away.
- Hahp gets some food too, but he's more worried about escaping the fighting. He only gets a loaf of bread, some fruit, and some cheese, though, because he didn't think to use his robe to carry a lot of food the way Gerrard did.
- Realizing how much of a coward he is, Hahp begins to cry.
- Franklin warns Sadima never to go in Somiss's room—not even to clean—and then he walks her to a nearby well so that she'll know where to fetch water.
- They talk about Somiss: he comes from a wealthy family, and his mom sends him money, but his dad's worried about the king learning of his activities.
- The problem is that kings don't want people doing magic, so this hobby that Somiss pursues could be very dangerous.
- Since Sadima has been listening in on the interviews Somiss conducts, she tells Franklin that Somiss should be asking not only for songs, but also for information on when they sing the songs and what they mean. Franklin agrees to pass this on to Somiss as it should be helpful.
- Sadima talks with a Gypsy woman at the well, and Franklin tells her about how the Gypsies speak the old language, which might have some links to magic. Somiss tried to learn it from them, but a bunch of Gypsies beat him up.
- Hahp eats all his food, and reads more of the history book. The Founder of the academy had been trying to recover the old language of magic—he'd been of royal blood, but his family didn't trust him and tried to kill him multiple times.
- In class one of the boys complains about being hungry, and Franklin says he'll show them to make food after the next class.
- Hahp and Gerrard argue about what the wizards are doing: Hahp thinks the wizards are crazy, while Gerrard thinks the wizards are doing everything for a reason, to prepare them for something.
- One morning when Somiss is gone (trying to mooch off his mom), Franklin asks Sadima to try copying some marks on paper. She doesn't know how to read or write, but she picks up copying pretty fast.
- Franklin is delighted, saying this'll convince Somiss to let her stay, since Somiss always needs more copies made of his research notes.
- Somiss comes in all pissed off because his mom has cut him off (since his father suspects something). So now they don't have any money.
- Franklin has Sadima demonstrate her copying skills, and Somiss is wary at first—turns out it's illegal for commoners to learn to read and write—but Franklin argues that Sadima can just copy the marks without knowing what they mean.
- Somiss agrees, but only if Sadima swears to keep what she's learned a secret.
- Franklin is elated that Sadima can stay. He says they'll change the world, eliminate poverty, and make sure no woman dies as Sadima's mother did… and then he kisses her.
- Franklin leads the boys into the room with the giant jewel, calling it the Patyàv Stone. He tells them to imagine the food in complete detail. A giant tray of food appears—and then Franklin turns it over, and the food vanishes when it hits the ground.
- He instructs each of them to think of a toy they loved when they were small. Hahp imagines a blue horse that'd been his favorite toy. Franklin instructs him to touch the stone when he's holding every detail of it in his mind.
- In a flash of light, the blue horse is sitting on the platform. Franklin is gone. The boys cheer.
- The more Sadima walks around Limòri, the more she realizes she's a total softie. All of the beggar children break her heart, but then, there's barely enough money for her, Somiss, and Franklin to eat.
- She steps into a cheese shop to look for work, and the owner decides to hire her since she grew up on a farm and they need to replace the owner's sister who's about to give birth.
- The owner's named is Rinka, and she tells Sadima that she and her family are Eridians, meaning they've taken a vow of honesty.
- When Sadima tells Franklin that she found work, he's happy for her. He says he found a job too, but he won't tell her what it is since it'll make Somiss angry. Still, Franklin says that he's really glad Sadima is with them now.
- He doesn't kiss her again, even though she wants him to. She lays awake at night and wonders: is she pretty?
- The boys take turns trying to summon things from the stone. Hahp tries, but then is afraid of starting another fight. He hates the wizards for basically turning the boys into animals.
- He wonders if the sole surviving boy will turn out like the flying horses his dad raises, with cold, dead eyes.
- He remembers a time when he'd snuck into the stables to watch a wizard enchanting a horse so that it could be fly. He'd been hiding and eating apples.
- The memory of the apples is so vivid that when Hahp touches the stone, a crate of apples appears.
- There are enough apples for everyone, and the boys begin to take them—but then Somiss appears, calls them fools, and questions whether Hahp means to help them or to keep them weak.
- Franklin and Sadima talk about how hungry they are; Sadima doesn't mind so much, since she's used to it from growing up on a farm.
- What Sadima doesn't understand is why Somiss's father and the king feel so threatened by his research—wouldn't having the ability to use magic to heal people be a good thing? Franklin points out that if Somiss could actually do that, people would follow him and not the king.
- Franklin says that Somiss wants to accomplish great things, in part to win his father's love. Since Franklin's known Somiss since they were toddlers, it makes sense that Franklin would know this about him.
- Then Franklin invites Sadima to see what his secret job is: he's telling fortunes with Maude Truthteller. No wonder he wants to keep it a secret from Somiss, who thinks those people are just taking advantage of the gullible.
- Turns out Franklin can catch hints of people's thoughts, in what he calls "silent-speech" (kinda like telepathy). This makes Sadima nervous—since she thinks about Franklin a lot—so she leaves.
- Hahp thinks he's the only one of the boys who's eating, though he can only manage to summon apples. After a while, they begin to upset his stomach.
- One of the boys asks Franklin when they'll be given food, and whether Somiss had been exaggerating—Franklin says nope, he wasn't.
- One boy says that if their fathers had known about this, they'd never have sent their boys there, but Franklin replies that their fathers were told that they'd probably never see them again.
- Hahp thinks about how much he hates his father some more.
- While Sadima helps Rinka make cheese, she says that at home they use herbs. According to Rinka, they can't afford herbs, since only royal families are allowed to sell them in the city.
- Oops—Sadima has her own stash of dried herbs, since she didn't know about the law.
- Rinka says that as an Eridian she believes that the fruits of the earth and the mind should be shared by all people. This reminds Sadima of the Gypsy woman she'd seen at the well, and they start talking about the old Gypsy songs.
- Turns out Rinka's mother was a Gypsy, and so Rinka knows a bunch of their songs. She begins to teach them to Sadima.
- It's pay day and Rinka gives Sadima a few extra coins, saying she's worth it. Sadima cooks a nice big meal for everyone and Franklin happily kisses her.
- Somiss, however, has decided to stop eating, since he believes it clarifies his thoughts. This doesn't seem like the best idea ever.
- Hahp thinks about food while his stomach cramps and while he sits through Franklin's classes.
- He gets stuck in the stone room one day, since he still gets lost and usually has to follow Gerrard back to their room.
- An idea takes root in his mind: the toy horse had seemed magical to him when he was a kid, and the apples had been part of a memory that had included magic, too. So he tries to recreate the feeling of magic but with the image of griddle cakes instead.
- There's a flash of light and some weird noises, and suddenly the griddle cakes appear. Hahp devours them, and then when Gerrard walks in to try out the stone (still no luck), Hahp follows him back to the room.
- Sadima sings the Gypsy songs she'd learned from Rinka to Somiss, and he writes them down after questioning her about them.
- Franklin suggests getting Somiss out into the forest to restore his appetite. Turns out that Somiss asked Franklin to fast for eight days so that they'd be on the same page.
- Sadima feels bad for Franklin, so she ladles up some soup for him. Franklin begins to eat a little as they talk.
- Somiss appears, throws the bowl of soup against the wall, and chews out Franklin. Sadima leaves to sit in the dark kitchen, hearing their voices but not their words.
- After a class with Franklin, Hahp finally figures out how Gerrard and the others are keeping track of the confusing turns in the caverns: they're making up nonsense rhymes using words that start with l and r to keep track of the lefts and rights.
- In the room with the stone, Gerrard and Hahp have their longest conversation to date: Gerrard confesses that he never had a toy, so he can't imagine one fully enough to manifest magically.
- Hahp asks Gerrard what the best meal he ever had was. It was a bowl of fish stew that a rich lady had bought him.
- Hahp tells Gerrard to imagine it while touching the stone. It works, and Gerrard wolfs down the stew after Hahp makes a spoon for him to eat with.
- But then Somiss appears and glares at them, and Gerrard says that he knows that Hahp helped him, since how would a poor kid from the streets know how to make a beautiful silver spoon appear?
- Franklin and Sadima convince Somiss to come spend a day with them outside the city, not working.
- Somiss loosens up and is actually laughing and smiling and stuff.
- Sadima brings her paints and spends time painting trees while Franklin and Somiss explore the forest like boys. They find a stone staircase, which might be a remnant of an ancient stone city they'd heard about—Somiss swears everyone to secrecy about it.
- Hahp and Gerrard are eating (though they try to keep it a secret from the other boys), and it looks like a few of the others have figured out how to eat too. Somiss appears and reminds them to stop helping each other if they want to live.
- Franklin leads the boys through breathing exercises, and one time he appears to Hahp in a vision and says that he's been waiting for both Hahp and Gerrard. Hahp doesn't have a chance to ask what he means.
- Sadima spends part of the day alone because Somiss and Franklin have gone off somewhere (neither would tell her where).
- An old lady comes back with some songs for Somiss, so Sadima offers to learn them and pay the woman a few coins.
- Her name is Hannah, and her family's song for lengthening lives apparently helped family members live to be really old (like eighty or ninety, which is rare in this world).
- Sadima shares these songs with Rinka at work. Then Sadima asks Rinka about love, saying that since her mom died, she didn't have anyone to tell her about this kind of stuff (by which we think she means the birds and the bees a.k.a. gettin' it on).
- When Franklin and Somiss return, Sadima sings Somiss the songs, which he writes down. Later Sadima makes copies for Somiss—this time, however, she makes an extra copy to keep for herself.
- Sadima wakes up in the middle of the night, hears Somiss moving around, and then goes to check on the copies. He's replaced her three identical copies with three other copies that are identical to each other, but different from the first set. Weird. Why would he make those changes? What's he hiding?
- Hahp continues to make food for himself, but feels super-guilty about eating when the other boys are clearly starving.
- He thinks about trying to rally the boys to fight back, but he doesn't know where their rooms are. The wizards are good at keeping secrets.
- The next time they go to class with Franklin, one of the younger boys simply isn't there.
- Sadima feels especially bad for one of the beggar children, a boy with a scar on his throat, so she works out a routine to give him some money discreetly so the bigger kids don't notice and steal it from him.
- On her way home from work, she starts to look at the letters on the shop signs, basically teaching herself to read. She meets up with Franklin, but doesn't tell him this.
- Franklin warns her to keep an eye out for the king's guards, since Somiss fears that they'll be sent after him any day now.
- As they reach their place, a boy who's about nine or ten runs down the stairs, his mouth bleeding. Somiss emerges a couple seconds later, chasing him.
- In the next class, two boys are missing, and Hahp wonders if they're too weak to walk, or dead.
- Then one of the boys (Levin) tells Hahp that Tally (another boy) has died. Hahp realizes that when the wizards said the boys would become "part of the academy" they meant it literally: their bones would be stored somewhere inside the academy.
- Franklin goes to help Somiss catch the boy, and Sadima goes inside. That's when she notices the blood: spatters and droplets around the table in the main room.
- She cleans it all up, and then peeks inside Somiss's room. The room is really dusty and cluttered… and the bed sheets have blood on them.
- Somiss and Franklin return, and Somiss is flipping out about how the boy must've been sent by his father. He apparently looked like a Marsham, which Franklin should've known, since Somiss's father buys a dozen of them a year.
- Are you a little confused right now? Yup, us too.
- In the next class, Franklin guides the boys through their breathing exercises, and then tells them to move their thoughts from their minds into their bellies. This is strange, but Hahp kinda figures it out.
- Hahp also has a fantasy about coming home once he's a wizard, and his father being nice to him because he's afraid of him.
- Sadima and Franklin talk about the boy, and Franklin finally reveals that he also belongs to the Marsham family—his parents sold him to Somiss's father as a slave.
- Franklin explains that Somiss is brilliant but temperamental and spoiled, and since the time when Franklin was three years old (just a year older than Somiss), it's been his job keep him happy.
- Sadima asks Franklin to consider saving up money with her so that they can buy his freedom, but he says that he doesn't think Somiss would agree to sell him.
- Somiss comes home right then, excited because a Gypsy woman gave him a book written in the Gypsy language (which apparently they're pretty secretive about).
- A while ago, Somiss and Franklin visited a Gypsy camp and were beaten up for their curiosity. But Franklin saved a little boy from falling into the fire, and this book was from the little boy's mother, given the book to Somiss as thanks and as revenge against her father for ordering the attack on them.
- Somiss leaves again, this time because he has family responsibilities for King's Day tomorrow. Sadima asks Franklin to consider what she's said (about leaving together). That night, and every night after, she sneaks into his room while he's asleep to sing the long-life song she'd learned over him.
- Franklin instructs the boys to move their thoughts from their bellies to their toes. Weird, but Hahp sorta manages it.
- Even weirder, he sometimes hears Franklin telling him encouraging things, but only in his head. Is Hahp going crazy from fatigue, hunger, and stress?
- When Hahp goes back to the room he shares with Gerrard, he finds his history book on his bed… where he definitely hadn't left it. Is he losing his mind, or is someone sneaking into his room?
- Every night, Sadima begins to look at the songs she's copied for herself and figure out what the letters mean.
- The next day is King's Day, a holiday involving feasts and parades and stuff—but Sadima and Franklin have to work on copying the Gypsy book.
- Sadima decides that after the book is copied, she'll leave. She'll go back to her hometown, Ferne, and open a cheese shop. She'll remember Franklin, but she'll also move on.
- They make some major progress on figuring out the manuscript, though, and Franklin is so happy that he tells Sadima a secret: Somiss wants to open a school so that boys can learn magic and no one will ever go hungry again. Sounds nice, right?
- Sadima steps out on the balcony to watch the parade go by after they've been translating for a while. She sees the whole royal family, and then Somiss with his family. He looks pissed to see her, so she ducks back inside; she decides not to tell Franklin about it.
- Hahp decides to go have some food, but when he tries to make griddle cakes, nothing happens. He hears someone laughing at him, too.
- Gerrard is in the stone room, but he's bent over a book and a bowl of fish stew. Is Gerrard laughing at him? Is it someone else?
- Hahp tries to make apples appear and succeeds. He takes some back to his room—but even though he's alone, he hears someone laughing, which really freaks him out.
- He runs back to the stone room, tells Gerrard that he'd heard laughing in the room. Gerrard mutters "Thank you," which Hahp interprets as meaning that Gerrard is grateful for the confirmation that he's not alone in hearing things.
- Hahp tries to make griddle cakes again, and this time he succeeds. When he goes back to his room, the history book is mysteriously on his bed again—so he opens it and begins to read.
- Sadima and Franklin talk about the latest copies that Somiss is obsessing over. Since they can't read the Gypsy script yet, Somiss is having Franklin use different colored inks in the hopes that marking the most frequently-occurring characters will help them figure out which ones are vowels.
- Sadima offers to help Franklin with the copies, and then Somiss bursts in and is all cranky; he tells Sadima to keep copying, even though she's already done her share.
- He also tells her to never go out on the balcony, because someone might see her and associate her with him.
- Oh, and she has to cut her hair because it's too distinctive (being red and all).
- One time, Hahp makes a bunch of bread and cheese appear. He wanders through the tunnels, finds a totally empty chamber, and hides out for a while. The thought that the wizards have no clue where he is makes him really happy.
- Rinka gives Sadima a cap that hides her hair—and Somiss startles Sadima at home, telling her that the cap looks pretty on her.
- As long as Sadima keeps the cap on at all times when she's out, Somiss is okay with her not cutting her hair. He tells her this while standing inappropriately close to her.
- Somiss also tells Sadima that if she ever leaves, Franklin will be sorry—Somiss will make sure of it. That's a pretty creepy threat.
- Hahp begins to hide food in various parts of the tunnels. He names the first little chamber he'd discovered Hope Hall.
- He reflects on the history book they have to read, which is pretty boring—reading all about the Founder and how he figured out how to translate the old language because he was such a genius is a total snore.
- At one point Hahp begins to wonder if he can make soap. He tries, and succeeds. After he takes his first real bath since his arrival, he sees that his old robe has vanished, replaced by a soft green robe instead.
- Hahp realizes that he's been growing taller… How long has he been here?
- Sadima begins to save money. She realizes that she loves Franklin, though it seems like she can't leave with or without him
- She also starts to make an extra copy of each of the songs to stash with some of her work things at Rinka's place. When Somiss is gone she makes copies from his personal files, which are always just a little different than the texts he gives her to copy.
- Once she learns the updated song for long life, she starts singing it over Franklin at night.
- After the next class, a new wizard tells Hahp to come with him. This guy has a wicked scar across his throat. He says that he's named Jux, and that Franklin has said that Hahp is ready to move on.
- Jux take Hahp to an underground forest and sends him into a glass enclosure. There's a venomous snake inside—Hahp's task is to not die.
- A snake comes to check out Hahp, and Hahp can tell that it feels threatened by him. He manages to send a thought into the snake's body though, telling it that he's not a threat.
- The snake goes back into the bushes, and Hahp throws up.
- Rinka's sister comes back to work with her baby, and Rinka tells Sadima that she can come in fewer days each week. (Don't worry—she'll still get paid the same because her cheeses have been selling so well. Yippee.)
- Sadima thinks about how she needs to get Franklin to leave with her before Somiss kills him out of anger or overwork.
- She asks Franklin to talk a walk with her on one of her days off, and he pretty much refuses, saying he can't. He's been coming home dirty and tired, and when he strips off his shirt to bathe, Sadima sees large red welts on his back.
- After the snake incident, Hahp returns to his room and reads the history book. It's talking about how after the age of magic, magicians saved scraps of magic in songs that they taught to their children.
- Hahp can't even imagine a world without magic; his father buys magic to do everything for his business and around the house.
- In another part of the book, it describes the four forbidden practices of magic: carnal acts, silent-speech, teaching magic outside the academy, and betraying any of the four vows. The punishment for all of these is death.
- Gerrard comes in and starts talking. He's been trying to make soap, but can't figure it out.
- Hahp finally realizes that he's grown up with this stuff all his life, but since Gerrard came from such a poor background, he can't imagine soap in enough detail to make it. He offers to let Gerrard borrow his soap, just to memorize the details.
- Sadima pressures Franklin to tell her what Somiss is planning, but he refuses, saying that Somiss would just hurt her.
- Again Sadima asks Franklin to go away with her—they could buy a farm, have children—and Franklin looks like he wants to say yes, but then he refuses. After all, he belongs to Somiss (technically, Somiss's father), and Somiss wouldn't let him go without a fight.
- Talk about an awkward conversation.
- The next time Jux comes for Hahp, the goal is to make a swarm of ants leave alone a glob of honey. Failing at this also means dying.
- Problem is though, that it's tough for Hahp to send his thoughts into the tiny minds of the ants. A few get the message, but there are too many of them.
- Hahp takes off his robe and lays down with the ants, trying to commune with them. They start biting him—and that's when Jux tells him just to leave. No death penalty on this one, huh?
- Hahp is about to eat something when a wizard fetches him. He joins the remaining students, and Somiss tells them that they must all memorize the first song—and until they manage to recite it perfectly, they will go hungry.
- On her next free day, Sadima leaves home as though going to work, but she actually waits for Franklin to come out so she can follow him.
- He goes into the woods carrying a heavy bag.
- She's about to turn around to go home when she hears high-pitched voices. What are children doing out there?
- The boys all figure that that no one is capable of making food anymore; Hahp returns to his room to study, but decides to look at the history book instead of the song book.
- He reads about the four vows that every graduate of the academy must take: lifelong cloister, lifelong silence, lifelong celibacy, and lifelong poverty. Those sound… not awesome.
- Hahp works on memorizing the first song. He and the other boys have to recite it for Somiss, who has corrections for everyone—so no one gets to eat yet.
- Hahp just wants to get away from the academy, maybe run away or kill himself or something—anything is better than this.
- Sadima watches Franklin climb into a cave; later, he climbs out. She goes in to investigate.
- Once she gets inside the tunnels, she hears whispering and then finds a cage full of boys, including the beggar boy with the scar across his throat.
- They tell Sadima that they get fed regularly so long as they stay quiet. The man with icy eyes (a.k.a. Somiss) was the one to bring them there.
- Horrified, Sadima promises to return later.
- In one class, Franklin tells the boys that they've been there for a year, and this will be their last and first class. Whoa.
- Hahp tries the ants-and-honey task again, and this time he thinks to project a thought onto the honey to make it seem poisonous. That does the trick.
- Jux looks at him like he's an idiot, and pours a handful of sand over the honey, telling him not to waste magic. Turns out there are no rules for how to accomplish these tasks.
- Gerrard also comes back from his task, presumably having faced the snake—there's blood on his robe.
- The boys have to recite the song for Somiss again, and Gerrard has the fewest corrections. Hahp gets angry because if the boys were allowed to help each other, they'd learn it faster… and no one would have to die.
- Sadima bumps into Franklin in the forest; he'd seen her footsteps and waited for her.
- She's so pissed off that she tries to fight him, while he's trying to hold her in place so she doesn't do anything stupid.
- Again she asks him to leave with her: they can free the boys and run far, far away. Franklin refuses, saying that Somiss would just find more boys to use, and that without Franklin there, he'd be crueler.
- Here's the deal: Franklin believes that Somiss loves him, as much as he's capable of loving anyone but himself. Franklin helps keep Somiss human, so if Franklin leaves, what'll stop Somiss from turning into a monster?
- Franklin realizes that he should've killed Somiss when they were young, before all this could happen… but now he can't. Sadima promises to stay and help Franklin, but only if he agrees that she can kill Somiss if it comes to that. He agrees to it, and they return to town.
- Gerrard gets the song right at the next recitation, so he's allowed to eat.
- Jux comes for Hahp, and tells him to let hummingbirds out of a glass enclosure. Hahp figures out how to do it, and even guides them toward some food—Jux seems annoyed at how helpful Hahp was.
- At the next recitation, Hahp still sucks at pronouncing the first song. He returns to Hope Hall, but all the food he stored is gone.
- Sadima wakes up at night and has a brief chat with Franklin—apparently some Eridian Elders might help Somiss on his project.
- Then Sadima smells smoke—someone's lit the building on fire. Somiss gathers his papers, Sadima makes sure to grab her saved up money and shawl, and Franklin helps carry stuff.
- They escape through a hatch in the ceiling and cross over some roofs.
- Somiss finds a carriage with horses still attached, and they all hop in.
- Has Somiss ever driven a carriage before, growing up like he did with servants to do everything for him? We think not. But they somehow manage to get to the edge of town before he tilts the carriage off the road.
- Only Gerrard is doing well with memorizing the songs. Somiss decides to punish them by giving them three days to study—and no food the whole time, of course.
- Hahp talks to Gerrard once they're back in the room. At first he just says that he hates the wizards, but as they talk more, Gerrard reveals that he can't move his thoughts yet.
- Then Gerrard asks if Hahp will help him. This surprises Hahp—but he agrees. They vow to destroy the place together, and as they clasp hands, Hahp realizes that their skin touching is something he's missed. He's been hungry for human contact.
- Gerrard helps Hahp learn the first rhyme and pronounce it correctly. After studying, Gerrard feeds Hahp fish stew, too. A wizard comes for them, and Hahp realizes that he is no longer so afraid.
- Sadima and the others are tossed from the carriage when it crashes. She looks for Franklin while Somiss freaks out about pulling the papers free from the wreckage—Franklin is hurt, but not terribly.
- Somiss gathers his papers while Sadima and Franklin push the carriage into a pond. Then Somiss leads them to the caverns, saying that he found the ancient home of magic. The Gypsy songs pointed toward this place, and so this is where Somiss plans to rebuild magic.
- Grinning wildly, Somiss leads Sadima and Franklin into the darkness.