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Here is a preview of a Patreon exclusive scene: When Valentine suffers from terrible nightmares of his past, Timothée tries to distract him by recounting the tale of how he met Yvaine, the black cat.
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This chapter takes place after chapter18 but before chapter 19.
In Which Timothée Finds Friends in Strange Places
Timothée couldn’t sleep. There was no specific reason why. It was late in the morning, but the sun was safely hidden behind the black curtains in their dorm room. Despite the wind rattling the shingles atop the Cauldron, his bed was warm, blankets soft and not scratchy. Yvaine was curled tight against his legs, safe and sleepy. And Valentine Sun’s breathing was raspy and rhythmic; he couldn’t be plotting Timothée’s doom in his sleep. Actually, maybe he could. That seemed like a very Val thing to do.
Regardless, Timothée should be comfy and cozy enough to drift off to sleep.
Maybe that was the problem. Despite having been at the Academy for several weeks now, he still wasn’t used to this.
Warmth. Regular meals. His own bed, instead of an always-damp couch, using Marion’s apron as a blanket, while his sisters slept cramped together in a single bed.
The Dark Stars complained about sharing rooms and getting hand-me-down uniforms. And sure, that wasn’t fair compared to the royal treatment the Morning and Evening Stars received.
But it was so much better than life on Enola Avenue.
Timothée delicately turned over so as not to disturb Yvaine. He needed to get some rest. He had potions class first thing in the evening, and he wanted to do well. Professor Barracus was gruff and a little intimidating, but there was something kind behind the hard lines of his face. Timothée wanted to impress him.
If he couldn’t have magic, he’d make the best potions. He’d learn to master alchemy.
Something Khalid had said wandered into his mind: ‘There are two ways to find magic: understand nothing and understand everything.’
Professor Barracus wasn’t a Starling, but he understood the inner workings of adder’s tongue and feverfew, and the shards of an eggshell hatched under a crescent moon.
On the other hand, the witch who lived in the shoppe beside the bakery had made her living on tea brewed with lemon just by calling it a love potion.
Timothée’s hand drifted to the choker he was forced to wear even at night. There is magic inside me. If this came off…
People would die. That’s what would happen.
People like the guards.
But what if I could control the shadows? What if I’m just like—
No, he couldn’t think in what-ifs. He would drown in them.
Timothée sighed and buried his head in his pillow. His lack of sleepiness was made all the more annoying by the fact Valentine was peacefully passed out across the room.
Or at least he had been.
Timothée sat up, peered through the murk. Their room was lit by the dying purple embers in their fireplace.
Val’s body was silhouetted by violet light, his slight frame tossing and turning beneath the blanket. Two fists, clenched so tight they were ghost-white, gripped the bedsheet.
Most nights he seemed not to sleep at all, but when he did…Timothée often wondered about Val’s dreams. He would often twitch or mutter in his sleep, sometimes in a language Timothée didn’t recognize.
But tonight…this seemed worse than ever before.
Valentine’s lavender hair thrashed across his face and pillow. “Kri…br…it’s me. I’m…still here.”
“Val?” Timothée whispered. Who was he talking to?
Val’s back arched from the bed, blanket cascading to the floor. “I won’t draw my—!” His voice was a broken cry.
Timothée whipped his feet out of the bed, earning an angry yelp from Yvaine.
END OF PREVIEW
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