26/366 – A Problem

Continued from 25/366 – Azariah (Cont.)

Though there wasn’t much for food in the house, Morn’s mother made a small array of dishes ranging from the simple quick bread to the roast meats that he had remembered from his childhood. At one point, Morn checked to see if she was using magic to create some of the dishes but found that she was actually doing all the work by hand.

“This is amazing,” Morn said through a mouthful of pudding, “I didn’t think that we had anything like this in the house.”

“There were plenty of staples. It’s just a matter of proper skill to turn them into food,” she replied with a smile.

“Can you do some magic for me?” Morn asked.

“I can try,” she replied, “but I’m not sure it’ll work.”

Morn watched her wave her hands in a small pattern and extend her hand toward a lamp. His eyes flicked to the light, but the flame continued to flicker away merrily. When he looked back at his mother her face showed a small level of frustration as she repeated the gesture and tried once more.

“I don’t think I have it anymore,” she replied, looking down at her hands. “I don’t understand. I don’t feel it at all.”

“That’s because I took it,” Azariah said, stepping through the doorway carrying what appeared to be a wooden crate. “Seemed like the smart thing to do.”

“Y-you took it?” Morn’s mother asked.”Why?”

“It’s the thing that killed you,” Azariah said, setting the crate on the floor, “I didn’t want you kicking the bucket all over again because you were stifling your innate abilities.”

“They were a part of me,” Morn’s mother said, visibly upset. “It doesn’t feel right.”

“It didn’t seem right to give you a gift that you squandered to the point of self-destruction,” Azariah replied with a shrug as they began going through the contents of their prize. “Does anyone need anything from this? I won it in a bet in D’Shar. Poor sap clearly didn’t see me coming.”

Morn found himself so focused on his mother’s plight that he didn’t hear them say anything. Instead, he stood from his seat and walked around the table to his mother’s side.

“It’ll be okay, Mom,” Morn said.

She shook her head as tears welled up in her eyes. “You don’t understand. The element is a part of who you are. This is more than just magic. There is a bond between the elements and the sorcerer that can’t be replaced. Having this taken is like having a leg removed.”

“Azariah, can you give it back?” Morn said, turning to them as they placed wine bottles on the table.

“I could, but why would I? She wasted her gift. I think she’ll do fine once she gets used to it. It’s not that bad, I assure you,” they replied, disappearing once more into the box.

“How would you know?” Morn’s mother screamed. “When have you ever been without your magic? You can’t just go meddling with people and their nature! I did what I did to protect my family, and-”

“You died denying that which made you who you are,” Azariah said, suddenly severe. “Do you know what it’s like to be locked away from the world for eons with nothing to keep you company but small enchanted items with no personality? Having magic means nothing when you can’t access even a simple two-directional conversation.”

“Please give it back,” Morn said. “For me.”

“I gave you your mother,” Azariah replied.

“You gave me half of my mother,” Morn shot back. “Can’t you see how this has impacted her. She needs it.”

Azariah stopped for a moment and considered the scene before them. Morn could see them genuinely thinking about how upset his mother was and what he was asking.

“I’ll consider it,” Azariah said.

“Let’s go to bed,” Morn said, taking his mother’s hand.

Morn’s mother cried quietly the entire way up the stairs to his father’s room. When he pushed the door open, he found that the bed was covered in clothes. He thought for a moment and realized that he hadn’t seen his father sleep in his room since his mother had died.

Morn turned his mother around and led her to his room. He sat her on his bed and helped make her comfortable before he closed the drapes and knelt next to her.

“I’m sorry, Mom,” he whispered.

“I don’t know if you ever will get the connection to the elements, but never take it for granted, Morn,” she replied, pulling his head down to kiss him on the forehead.

“I won’t,” he replied before standing, “I love you, Mom. I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” she said, “I’m sorry I’m a mess. I’ll get better, I promise.”

Morn nodded and closed the door. He walked down the stairs to find Azariah in the kitchen, still arranging the wine bottles with cheeses and cured meats with candles lit. They looked up at him expectantly when he entered.

“Are you actually going to consider giving her back her magic?” Morn asked, sitting across from Azariah.

Azariah nodded, “Yes. I am considering it. Can you give me a better reason than she did for giving it back?”

“You heard her,” Morn said. “Surely, you can hear her pain. It isn’t like she was ashamed of who or what she was. She wanted to protect us.”

“She wasn’t sick, Morn. I saw her history when I brought her back. She told you and your father that she was sick because her magic was eating her from the inside. She refused to use it until it nearly destroyed her, and in the end, it did,” Azariah said. “Even as a god, I can’t watch someone neglect a gift as special as hers.”

“What gives you the right to take it away, though?” Morn asked.

“What gives you a right to ask me anything? What gives anyone the right to beg a god for help in healing or smiting or vengeance?” Azariah said, “I know I seem like I’m unfocused most of the time, but it’s the price I pay for being a god. I can hear the thoughts of people miles from here begging for change in their lives or the world. It’s not my job to do anything for them, yet they plague me with their neverending requests. Where does the right to intrude on my thoughts come from?”

Morn thought for a moment, “Did you ever think that maybe you hear those thoughts and prayers because that’s how you were made? It’s not a right, but a responsibility. It’s the same for my mother. Her magic is a part of her like those prayers are a part of you,” Morn said. “When you got locked away, was it better to not have the thoughts and prayers? I remember you saying that all you wanted was a two-way conversation.”

“That’s different,” Azariah said.

“I don’t see the difference,” Morn replied as he stood up and walked out of the room.

Morn continued walking right up to his father’s room. He spent two hours hanging and folding the clothes on the bed before he changed the sheets and curled up in the middle before sleep finally took him.

Continued 27/366 – A Problem (Cont.)

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