28/366 – Fifteen days

Continued from 27/366 – A Problem (Cont.)

There is a moment in every person’s life where they learn something that strikes fear into the core of who they are. For Morn, the note his mother was staring at was one of those moments. His mind raced over a thousand ideas at once to figure out the problem while purposefully leaving the reality of a span and a half out of his mind.

“Fifteen days?” Morn’s mother said, reading the note for the third time. “What am I supposed to do with that? Where can we find an elemental stone?”

“I don’t know,” Morn said, feeling the familiar panic rising in him mingling with the rage. “But we can find one. I know it.”

“I can help,” Celeste said, “I’m sure Jaque would as well. Maybe his teachers know something about them.”

“Let’s start there,” Morn said, “Do you want to come with us, Mom?”

“I-I think I’ll stay here,” she said. “Just in case. If I’m going to die again, I’d like to do it here.”

Morn nodded.

“We’ll be back before you know it,” Celeste said. “Let’s get to Jaque so we can see what the wizards know about it.”

Morn hugged his mother tight. He committed to memory the feeling without realizing that was what he was doing. She kissed him on the forehead and looked at him with a burning intensity he had never seen before.

“You can do this,” she said, releasing him. “Hurry back.”

“We will,” Morn said as he followed Celeste out of the house.

They practically ran down the street toward Jaque’s house, passing the quiet, unassuming houses in his neighborhood. Celeste reached the door first and pounded on the wood furiously until the moment Jaque’s mother answered the door.

“What is all this noise about?” she said.

“We need to talk to Jaque,” Celeste said.

“Now, please,” Morn added.

“I don’t know-” she began.

“JAQUE!” Morn yelled through the door, surprising the woman before him. “Sorry, Ma’am.”

Jaque came around the corner carrying a book in his hand, “what’s all this about?”

“We need your help. Morn’s mother is going to die,” Celeste said.

Jaque snapped the book shut, grabbed his coat, and kissed his mother on the cheek with a quick goodbye as he passed. He walked in the direction of the library.

“How’d you know?” Morn asked.

“When you come to me for help, it usually pertains to research. What are we studying? Why is Morn’s mother going to die again? Where’s the god? What happened?” Jaque replied.

“Azariah is gone, but before they left, they left a note telling us that my mother needs an elemental stone to get her magic back. Without it, she’ll die in fifteen days,” Morn said.

“Elemental stones? You’re sure?” Jaque asked, stopping in the street.

Morn nodded, “Do you know something about them?”

“They are super rare. A lot of wizards seek them out because of the pure magic they contain. They are rumored to be created by sorcerers and elemental beings, but no one has been able to confirm their origin, just that they exist,” Jaque said. “I don’t know that we’ll be able to find one.”

“How do you know all that?” Celeste asked.

“I did a presentation on them last year for my evocation classes,” Jaque replied.

“Do you know where we could start looking at least?” Morn asked.

“Let’s go see Archmage Koldian. If anyone knows where to find them, it would be him. He’s managed to locate twelve in the last fifty years or so,” Jaque said, turning right off the road heading for the Stonefire District of the town.

Morn and Celeste followed Jaque, who, despite spending little of his time exercising, managed to outpace them to their destination. Jaque used the knocker mounted on the door to knock and waited patiently for a minute or so before a servant answered the door.

The man before them was old and decrepit. Liver spots covered every inch of visible skin from his hands through the top of his bald head. His clothes were finely made, pressed, and tailored for him in the simple black and white that was traditional of servants of his stature.

“Yes? How may I help you?” he asked.

“Jaque Plonton to speak to Archmage Koldian,” Jaque said, looking over his shoulder at Morn and Celeste, “and two guests.”

“One moment, please,” the servant said as he closed the door.

Morn paced on the porch. He tried to calm himself down, but he knew deep down that unless he hurried, his mother would be dead, and the hug she gave him would be the last for the rest of his life. Twenty minutes passed before the door opened once again.

“The master will see you now,” the servant said, motioning for them to enter.

The entrance looked nearly as grand as the one Azariah had made for Morn earlier, which was far more impressive since a god hadn’t created it. Above them hung a crystal chandelier in an ornate pattern resembling constellations of the night sky. To the left and right were rooms with closed double doors, painted the same flat white color of the walls.

“This way, please,” the servant said as he led them through the door on the right.

The sitting room they were led into was lined with books floor to ceiling on built-in bookshelves. There was not an inch of space remaining on any of the shelves. In the center of the room sat several velvet chairs and lounges that looked like they belonged to royalty and not a wizard.

“Welcome to my home,” Archmage Koldian said as he entered the room from another door. “What brings you here, Jaque?”

“My friends may be able to explain bet-” Jaque began

“We need an elemental stone,” Morn said, “or my mother will die in fifteen days.”

“An elemental stone? How interesting? I assume you came to me because of my success locating them in over the past few decades?” he replied, sitting on one of the lounges.

“That’s correct, sir,” Jaque said as he shot Morn a look.

“Do you still have one?” Celeste asked.

“No, unfortunately,” the Archmage replied. “They have all passed through my possession to further the council’s research at the capital. Is there one, in particular, you are looking for? Why does your mother need one?”

Morn paused for a moment, unsure as to whether he should tell him the truth. He didn’t know what would happen if the wrong people knew about his mother.

“It’s okay, Morn,” Jaque said. “You can tell him.”

“My mother is a sorcerer,” Morn said. “She died a long time ago, but recently came back, but without her magic.”

“Interesting,” the Archmage replied, “you have my attention. Tell me everything from the beginning.”

Continued 29/366 – Fifteen Days (Cont.)

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