Sigolene knew from the moment her eyes snapped open at dawn that the bindings suppressing her magic powers were going to break. She debated telling her stepmother, Viwale, but the house was in chaos preparing for the day’s celebrations and she could not get the woman alone. It was a foolish decision as a citizen of Rykubo, because all magic was banned. Now she stood, bent over the edge of the dock, pretending to be sick in hopes of holding herself together. It was no use. The trembling started deep in the pit of her stomach and sped through her body in painful waves. Sigolene tried to concentrate on the glittering blues of the deep water splashing around the dock, but the magic was causing her to see things. She smiled at the woman in the water and relaxed. If her bindings broke right now, at least she would not have to suffer through the long day of stuffy ceremonies and boring speeches. She was Admiral Oronato’s eldest daughter and she would be whisked away down the Rykubo River to the Osjillium Palace in the woody realm of Lingel before word of her embarrassment could get out. Sigolene yelped as her power broke through with a bright blue spark.
“Sigolene!” Viwale swooped down and gripped her shoulders. “Why didn’t you say anything?” Viwale’s voice was sweet and full of concern. Sigolene shrugged and leaned into her embrace. Viwale’s face was placid and smooth like onyx with a beautiful wide nose and full lips that glistened with a pale green gloss. She gestured gracefully to one of her attendants who dug in the folds of his plain grey tunic and fished out a small silver box.
Viwale’s nimble fingers pried open the box and plucked out one of the large pastel pills. The pills were green Osjillium, a stone mined in the far off land of Essia, with the power to absorb and neutralize all magic. In its pure form, green Osjillium was flakey and soft enough to chew or mix with pigments, water, and metals. The stone featured prominently in the architecture and decor of the Rykubo people and every subject wore at least one piece of jewelry featuring an Osjillium stone. The process of hardening Osjillium was the guarded secret of the priestesses who tended the Osjillium Palace deep in the woods of Lingel and who performed the Osjilget. The Osjilget was the required binding that suppressed all magic in a living being. Refusal to undergo the ritual meant immediate imprisonment. Sigolene was among the unfortunate whose bindings did not hold and so she returned to the palace time and again to have the Osjilget.