continued from 23/366 – Azariah
Morn smiled at his mother and silently thanked the gods that Azariah had managed to bring her back for him. He was happy they would be home soon, but darkness crept into the back of his mind when he thought about it. His father wouldn’t be there. He couldn’t share his excitement with him. His chair would be empty.
“What’s on your mind,” his mother asked. “There was a change just then.”
“I’m thinking about Dad,” Morn admitted. “The things that would be different-”
“Don’t start that again,” Jaque said.
“Don’t be an ass, Jaque,” Celeste said.
“I’m just saying that I know that you’re sad about your father. I can’t imagine what it’s like, but it’s a paradox to talk about not breaking the statue. It’s only because of the broken statue that your mother is here,” Jaque said. He then stuck out his tongue at Celeste. “I’m not an ass by looking at the logical conclusions. Master Scaine has also stated that it wasn’t your fault entirely. There are too many variables and decisions that were made that had the potential to change the outcome.”
“It sounds like you’re an ass,” Master Scaine chimed in.
“It’s alright,” Morn said. “I know what Jaque is saying. His words could be a little less sharp, but I think his heart is in the right place.”
“Thank you,” Jaque said.
The lift stopped at the top, and Master Scaine led the group through the upper floors of the monastery back to the graveyard outside. Without a word, he closed the iron gate after the others had stepped out and vanished back into the darkness.
“I don’t understand why he’s so nervous about you,” Celeste said to Morn’s mother.
“He’s not entirely wrong in his paranoia,” she replied as they began walking toward the entrance to the graveyard. “Sorcerers are often very dangerous, and not all there mentally. There is something about the magic that seems to get into their heads.”
“Do you know a lot of sorcerers?” Jaque asked.
“I know what the magic did to me if I kept it bottled. It’s easy to fall prey to it if you don’t release it often enough,” she said.
“How are you going to find out if Morn is one?” Celeste asked.
“Usually, there are signs early on. An affinity for elements is generally where it starts, but I didn’t notice any when Morn was young. There is also a fairly consistent number of things that happen to you, or around you, that can’t be explained except through magic,” she said. “So the best way that I can think to find out is to take a trip and make a few stops along the way to check if he has elemental affinities.”
“You’re going to leave?” Celeste asked, walking past the guardhouse.
“Not right away, but eventually if Morn wants to check. There are plenty of cases in my family of the magic not passing to the next generation. None of my sisters had magic, and mine didn’t manifest until I was in my mid-twenties,” she said.
“I got it!” Jaque cried suddenly, “I figured it out.”
“What?” Morn said, turning to look at him.
“Where I know the name Azariah from, it’s the name of one of the gods,” Jaque said.
“I’m sure there are plenty of people named Azariah. Isn’t it considered good luck to name your children after gods?” Celeste said.
“I don’t know,” Jaque said, “Azariah was a god of chaos. I’m not sure that many people would want to name their son or daughter that.”
“That’s probably a fair point,” Mrs. G’Lair said with a smile. “I don’t know that I would want a toddler named after a chaos deity. The house would always be a wreck.”
Morn smiled a the image in his head of a terrible toddler destroying their toys and making villagers run from them as they giggled.
“It’d be an adorable child though I bet,” a voice said behind them. They turned to see Azariah sitting in the grass, picking blades and blowing them into the wind. “I think Morn might have the right idea.”
“Azariah!” Morn said.
“Yeah, I decided I’d been in there long enough without company. You were such a good sport that I figured I’d come here to visit,” Azariah said.
“You’re Azariah?” Jaque asked.
“In the flesh, so to speak,” they replied with a smile.
“What do you mean by that?” Jaque shot back.
“I think I mean, I’m not entirely flesh per se, but I’m also not not flesh,” they said, poking their thigh. “It’s kind of complicated.”
“Are you a wizard?” Jaque asked.
“Nope,” Azariah said, getting to their feet and skipping next to Morn.
“What are you then?” Jaque asked.
“I think that’s a long story, and one that I don’t really like telling in public,” they teased. “Where are we going?”
“We were heading home,” Morn’s mother said, “and I suppose I should thank you.”
“Oh, your son is a magnificent young man. I can’t wait to see what he does next!” Azariah said. “Do you suppose he’ll do anything else today?”
“Like what?” Celeste asked.
“I don’t know. Anything. Anything at all. I’m just curious if he had any plans really,” they said.
“My only plan is to go home and spend time with my mother, so I can find out if I’m a sorcerer,” Morn said.
“Do you want to be?” Azariah said, moving much too close to Morn’s face for comfort. “I could probably do something like that.”
“Sorcery?” Jaque asked.
“Make him a sorcerer,” Azariah said.
“So, he’s not?” Morn’s mother asked.
“Hard to say, really. He could be, he couldn’t be. There are a lot of possibilities here,” Azariah said. They began mumbling quietly to themself while moving a finger through the air.
“Can I ask a question?” Jaque said.
“I mean, that’s kinda the point, isn’t it?” Azariah replied.
“Are you a woman or a man?” He asked. “I’m not trying to be rude, I just can’t tell.”
“Why, do you find me attractive?” Azariah said, pretending to fluff hair over their shoulder. “I’m kidding, it doesn’t really work like that with gods.”
“What do you mean?” Jaque asked.
“Let’s walk and talk,” Azariah said, “I want to see Morn’s humble abode.
“The short answer is that gods aren’t really anything, other than gods, of course. We don’t really land anywhere on the male-female spectrum. We don’t exactly need to procreate or reproduce. Though now that you mention it-” Azariah trailed off, cocking their head to one side.
Morn watched as Azariah suddenly popped out a chest under their shirt. “What do you think? Too much? Yeah? No?” The chest shrank, and a massive bulge appeared on the front of their pants. “How the hell do you walk with these things. Nevermind. It’s not worth it.” The bulge vanished just as quickly.
“You really are a god,” Jaque said.
“That’s kind of what I was getting at, yeah,” Azariah said. “What were we talking about again?”
“Nothing,” Jaque said, averting his eyes.
“Whether you were male or female,” Celeste answered.
“Ah, yes. I think the better question here is whether or not you think of male or female when you think about the zombies around here. Is it preferable to be chased by the same sex or the opposite sex? Or do you simply think of them as animated dead things that really don’t matter?
“What about rivers and mountains? Are those male or female? Oh. My. Me! Are the peaks the males and the valleys female? I bet it must feel so wrong to walk across them!”
Morn’s mother laughed, Celeste snorted, Jaque turned red, and Morn’s jaw dropped open.
continued 25/366 – Azariah (Cont.)