Demetrio matured, aged and got married all in one go. Aurelia had finally, after being married nearly three years, met a kindred spirit. Somebody who kindled her spirit. Juno to her was like a bird of paradise, but one who regarded this earthly life as absolutely her oyster. And Juno finally had her companion, twofold.

And she obviously found out everything her new relations knew about Magic. Which wasn’t a lot either, unfortunately. Rolf had come to Demetrio on his thirteenth birthday and informed him of his witching license class A straight, adding grudgingly that this meant that in addition to standard witching he could mind-read. Demetrio hadn’t been as overwhelmed as Juno, mainly because he and Aurelia had had each other to talk to and experiment a little with. He’d managed to extract from his robe-clad visitor that he and his sister were the only Magic folks not just in their village but on the whole island. Rolf also let slip that he put some kind of shield ’round himself when visiting the homes of foundling witches and warlocks who also held class B – which he said Aurelia did and for whom and her endorsement on class A, he added sniffily, he wouldn’t return – in order to protect them from most of his strong Magic field that would otherwise knock them out. Checking himself after that, Rolf barely touched on the fact that there was a price to pay, but did toss in the counsel that the siblings were best off staying where they were and lead as normal a life as possible within their community.

It could be called pretty ironic that he gave this advice to two people who hardly needed it. You’d struggle to find a more self-contained place in the western world than the village was at the time. It had no electricity, no telephone, no newspaper. The next settlement was a day’s walk away up in the mountains. It had no electricity, telephone, paper or running water. The island was basically the tip of a volcano sticking out of the sea, and consisted of nothing but mighty steep cliffs carved through by deep valleys. There were no sloping hills and no plains. Almost everything was vertical. The capital on the northern shore beyond a craggy line of peaks was a world away back then. A world of which the village was the all-encompassing centre to its folk.