Will shivered—the training room was cold in the early morning grayness; the fire in the grate was burning down, a fanged shadow of red and gold spitting colorful embers. Will could see two boys in his mind, sitting on the floor in front of the fire in this same room, one with black, black hair, and one whose hair was as fair as snow. He had been teaching Jem how to play ecarte with a deck of cards he had stolen from the drawing room.
At one point, disgruntled upon losing, Will had thrown the cards into the fire and watched in fascination as they’d burned one by one, the fire punching holes in the glossy white paper. Jem had laughed. “You can’t win like that.”
“Sometimes it’s the only way to win,” Will had said. “Burn it all down.”