Continued from 28/366 – Fifteen days
Morn sat in the Archmage’s library, explaining as much as he could in as much detail as he could. By the end of the tale, Koldian was flipping through books on the shelves, tossing some to Jaque and replacing others. Morn, Celeste, and Jaque waited as the Archmage mumbled to himself throughout the process.
“Ah, Ha!” Koldian cried as he pulled a badly cared for book from one of the top shelves. “It was hiding behind a few other books on the subject.”
“What was?” Jaque asked.
“This book is the reason I was able to find as many elemental stones as I did before. It contained detailed accounts of another much older wizard seeking them out. Using her system, I was able to devise a mathematical equation starting from a particular point to find another-with a margin of error, of course,” Koldian said, walking in front of Morn. “If what Azariah said is true, that elemental stones are created when a sorcerer dies, then it would account for one of the many variables I hadn’t quite ironed out yet.”
“You’re saying that we can find my mother’s stone?” Morn asked.
“Most definitely,” Koldian said, “Jaque, grab the map from the case hanging by the globe, please, and all of you follow me to my office.”
“This isn’t your office?” Celeste said, looking at all the books.
“No,” Koldian said, “this is one of my libraries. It makes keeping dangerous knowledge separated easier if it’s not all in one place.”
The four of them walked through a quick series of halls to another lavishly decorated room lined with books. This room was different in that there was a large table in the center with a desk set off to the side. There was only a single chair in the room that Koldian quickly pushed aside as he motioned for Jaque to hand him the map case.
“Thank you,” Koldian said as he unclasped the case and withdrew the map before unrolling it on the table. “This is a map of Colkirk. You can see here, this is where we are. Do you recall where your mother died previously?”
Morn was taken aback by the bluntness of the question but recovered enough to bend over the map and point to a section of it outside the walls. “I believe it was somewhere out there. I was young, so I’m not entirely sure.”
Archmage Koldian produced a series of rulers, squares, and compasses, measured many different details of the map before snapping his fingers, conjuring a floating blackboard. He proceeded to rattle off numbers and measurements in rapid succession that threatened to make Morn dizzy. The blackboard became covered in a colossal equation before the group’s eyes.
“Now, what is the result?” Koldian asked without turning around.
“six degrees east, two north. 734 paces, sir,” Jaque replied as he inspected the board.
“Not bad, not bad. It will be close then. Does it have a depth anywhere?” Koldian asked as he turned around. “It should have depth.”
“A depth?” Jaque asked.
“Nearly every elemental stone is buried in some capacity when it’s found. The fifth I found was nearly four thousand feet beneath the surface lodged in a subterranean cavern’s wall. It was a fascinating ordeal to retrieve it,” Koldian said. “Once we located it, that is.”
“You’re saying that there is a chance that we won’t make it to it in time then,” Morn said. “If the stone is that far down, there’s no way we’ll retrieve it in time.”
“You may not have to,” Koldian said, “there are methods, my boy. I do have one request to further this endeavor.”
Morn leaned forward, waiting.
“I would like to speak with your mother,” Koldian said. “Had I known she was a sorcerer before she died, I would have had so many questions for her that only she would be able to answer.”
“Like what?” Celeste asked.
“This isn’t the time for questions,” Morn said. “I appreciate all your help, but we need to find the stone as fast as we can.”
“Well, I’m coming with you,” Koldian said.
“I don’t know that I want you with us when we find it,” Morn said.
“Why is that?” Koldian asked. “Did I not do what you asked of me?”
“You did, but I don’t want to risk losing it if we can find it, and I don’t know that you won’t take it,” Morn admitted.
“I can promise you that the only person that will take that stone is your mother. I will find far more now that I know how they come to existence. I’ll be the leading researcher at the Academy once I can prove my hypothesis,” he said, “I swear it on my wizard certification.”
Morn thought it over for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that Koldian would be their best chance of finding the stone and getting back to his mother in time.
“Fine,” Morn said, “but if I see anything odd-”
“It’ll already be too late,” Koldian said with a friendly smile. “Archmages are nothing to be trifled with. I assure you my intentions are pure, and I will not inhibit your mother’s salvation for my academic pursuits.”
“Please, stop embarrassing me,” Jaque said.
“Sorry,” Morn replied, “I’m just worried.”
“Let’s get a move on!” Celeste said, “Walk and talk, boys, walk and talk.”
“She’s right,” Koldian said, “We should get going if we’re going to do this.”
Koldian grabbed a robe and a staff before leaving the house trailing behind Morn, Celeste, and Jaque. His robe appeared to be made of a delicate material that reflected the light in odd patterns as it swayed around him. The staff looked as though a giant mummified finger toped with a pearl had been plucked from the desert.
“Lead away, dear students. Let’s find this elemental stone by dinner,” Koldian said, practically skipping up to them. “It’s been some time since I’ve been on an expedition, let alone one as close to home as this one.”
Continued 30/366 – The Dark Place