“Normal?” Master Hatim repeated. He was rubbing his hands together thoughtfully. “No. But then, what is normal for you anyway?”
They stood up and moved toward his desk. The classroom where Enaya had first begun to learn mage-craft was virtually unchanged, the rows of worn tabletops and creaking floorboards exactly as she remembered them. His desk was a large flat table with rickety-looking legs. Hatim dropped into an over-sized chair behind it as Enaya perched on the top of the first row of tables, her feet swinging.
“You are not normal, my Lady. No, don’t scowl at me,” Master Hatim went on. “You never have been! However ‘normal’ you thought you were before you entered the Goddess’s service, you can have no illusions about yourself now.” He leaned forward, bracing his arms on his desktop. The smooth brown skin covering his bald head caught the glare of the afternoon sun streaming in through open windows.
“You were born unique, Enaya Sawyer. You are a uniquely stubborn young woman with a uniquely bad temper. You have a unique way of speaking and of holding your head, cocked to one side like a little bird, just as you’re doing now—” Enaya straightened her head quickly and frowned. When Master Hatim smiled, he flashed a friendly gap between his two front teeth. It lessened the sting of his lecture. “And you are, of course, uniquely Talented. I don’t expect I’ll ever meet another mage with your ability.”
“So this Searching I’m doing,” said Enaya, “it’s just because I’m odd?”
“In a way, yes. It’s because you’re special.” Master Hatim seemed to brace himself for something before he continued. “It’s because— well Enaya, it’s because you’re an Oracle.”
Enaya’s eyebrows shot up toward the ceiling. Her rump slid a little off the desk, and she caught herself with one foot on the floor before she toppled. She could not respond to such an absurd statement and so she merely stared at him, waiting for the joke to finish.
“Oh, Enaya,” Master Hatim went on sympathetically, “you had to know. You’ve been around mages long enough to know how Powerful you are. What other explanation could there be?”
Enaya took several deep breaths and braced both hands on the desk behind her. “It’s one thing to wonder, Master, and another to be told.”