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Shalara's Quest Book Cover Illustrated by Tabitha Mulhern Christine's oldest daughter"Shalara, dear," said Lady Kendra. "We have also made plans for your summer. Your music
teacher will continue to work with you until August. He will come three days a week, one day
for harping, one day for singing, and one day for song-writing. Master Sonora feels you have
great potential as a musician, and will make a fine addition to the Musician's Guild's roster of
apprentices!" She smiled broadly. Shalara took a deep breath, and gripped the edge of the table.

"Mother and Father. I know you mean well, but I do not care to join the Musician's Guild. You
know my heart and soul is set on being in the Sorcerer's Guild. I want to help people! I want to be
a Healer!"

"Shally, Shally," her mother sighed wearily, leaning her head on her hands. "We've been over this
so many times! I know what you want, but you have to understand that people can't always do
what they want. You can't see, honey! How would you mix medicines or read spells? It just won't

"How do you know?" Shalara cried out, so full of frustration that she could feel the hot tears
pricking behind her eyes. "You won't let me try!"

"Mistress Talia, the head of apprentices for the Sorcerer's Guild, doesn't feel you could do the
work," her father answered quietly. He exchanged a sad look with his wife.

"How does she know?" demanded Shalara. "She doesn't know me! She didn't come to see what
I can do! I already know many plants by their smell, by the feel of their leaves, by the way they
grow!" Shalara was seething. Her throat was swollen and she could hardly swallow.

"Honey, we understand how you feel, but--"

"NO! You don't! How could you possibly understand! You can see! No one ever told you couldn't-

"This is hardly a discussion for the whole hall to hear," interrupted Lord Dysart, glancing around at
the assembled household. Some of them were looking sideways at the family; others were staring
at them, openly interested in the drama. "Please finish your dinner, and we will talk about it later
in the family room."

Shalara felt like she'd been slapped. I can't even tell them how I feel without being treated like
a two-year old having a temper tantrum, she thought to herself. She clasped her shaking hands
together in her lap. I can't eat another bite, she thought miserably. Beside her, she could hear
Tally's knife and fork busily clacking as she finished eating. Even Tally doesn't really understand,
Shalara thought bitterly. She's getting what she wanted, with their approval and blessings!

"May we be excused, Father?" asked Talara.

"Yes, girls," he said. "Please join us in the family room in a little while, and we will discuss this

Back in their room, Talara exploded into speech. "I can't stand this! It is so unfair! This is what
you have always wanted to do and they won't even let you try!" She strode back and forth across
the spacious room. "There must be something we can do to change their minds--but what?"

"They'll never change their minds," Shalara said flatly.

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