continued from 38/366 – The Power One Needs (Cont.)
“I can’t believe you told them about the lake,” Master Scaine fumed as he paced his office. “It’s irresponsible to tell anyone that doesn’t need to know.”
“There’s something different about these three,” Koldian argued, pointing to Morn, Celeste, and Jaque, who sat looking like scorned children. “You can’t deny it.”
“I don’t know if that’s true,” Master Scaine said, “There’s no guarantee that we can keep them safe if they get that close.”
“You were saying just a few months ago that there is a chance that whatever is coming from the lake is coming because of one of them or their classmates,” Koldian said. “Something is happening here that none of us can pinpoint, and this may be the easiest chance we have to test your theory without moving every person in the town at once.”
“These three hardly account for a high percentage of their generation in the town. My theory was that it could be any of them, not one of these three,” Master Scaine said, walking around his desk and falling into his chair. He took a deep breath to recompose himself. “It isn’t smart to bring them out there right now. There’s been an escalation in encounters with the things from the lake. Too many people are involved now.”
“Maybe it’s escalating for a reason,” Morn’s mother, Helem, said. “Maybe whatever is creating these things is speeding up because something is going to happen that we don’t know about. I’ve already accepted that I can’t stop them from going, so I may as well go out with them.”
“You don’t understand, Helem. What if something happens to one of them, or worse, all of them. What if we’re overwhelmed by the time we get there, and we are walking into a slaughter. Do you want them to see that?” Master Scaine asked.
“No one made me aware of the issues before I died,” Helem replied, “I could’ve helped.”
“We weren’t aware of your powers,” Master Scaine said, “Otherwise, we likely would have asked you to help. Does anyone know where Azariah is? Maybe they can help us?”
“I sent Azariah away,” Morn said, looking down at his feet.
“You sent them away? How?” Master Scaine asked.
“I told them I didn’t want them around anymore. I yelled at them when they tried to change my house,” Morn replied.
“When’s the last time you saw Azariah? Did they leave you any clues on where they were going?” Master Scaine asked.
“I saw them when I touched my mother’s elemental stone,” Morn said. “They didn’t tell me anything.”
Morn could see the fury boiling just beneath the surface of Master Scaine’s otherwise emotionless mask as he looked at everyone in his office. Master Scaine pinched the top of his nose and closed his eyes for a minute.
“There’s a lot that can go wrong if I take you out there,” Master Scaine said, leaning his head back onto his chair.
“There’s more that could go wrong if we don’t at least try,” Helem said. “What if this isn’t even the worst it’s going to get? What if they make it past the people fighting them and reach the town?”
“There are many things to consider, but this complication doesn’t exactly help things,” Master Scaine said.
“Morn said that he overheard you talking about this before,” Koldian said.
“Really?” Master Scaine replied, opening his eyes and looking at Morn. “I wonder when. I can promise you, I never told him about it.”
“I-It was the night the gargoyle broke,” Morn said, “when I was on the wall. I saw you with the shadow person.”
“The shadow person?” Master Scaine asked before realizing what Morn was saying, “You mean initiate Gordean. I see. I should have questioned you a little better when we talked about that night.”
“Would it have changed anything, really?” Koldian asked. “Had you known that he had an idea that something was happening outside the walls, would you have changed course on anything you had planned?”
Master Scaine paused for a moment, “No, you’re right. Things are the way they are now because of the way things worked out. I’m sorry I lost my temper.”
“So, you’ll let them accompany us out to the lake?” Koldian asked.
“I will go with you all,” Master Scaine asked. “How are you feeling, Helem?”
“I’m feeling much better,” she replied, flicking her wrist at a torch burning in a sconce. The torch snuffed out instantly.
“Good. Do you think that we can keep them safe out there?” Master Scaine asked.
“I think that if they are going to go, with or without our permission and supervision, that we should at least go with them to keep them safe,” Helem replied, relighting the torch with another flick of her hand.
“Any chance you could try to reach Azariah, Morn?” Master Scaine asked.
“I can try, but I’m not sure that they will respond,” Morn said.
“We’ll leave first thing in the morning then. I think you all should spend the rest of the day preparing for a fight if the reports from the front lines are anything to go off. I’ll need you to try to reach Azariah, Morn. If we can get them to come back, maybe they can do something about this.”
“Thank you, Master Scaine,” Celeste said.
“I’ll prepare some spells that I think might be useful,” Jaque said.
“Actually, Jaque, I think you had better come with me. I’m going to show you some spells that are traditionally off-limits to students. If you’re strong enough to prepare them, perhaps you’re strong enough to use them,” Koldian said.
“We’ll meet at the North Gate then?” Helem said.
“At the North Gate, at dawn,” Master Scaine said. “I’ll inform the council and get some additional guards and initiates ready to come with us. I want to be absolutely sure that things don’t turn for the worst out there.”
“Can you step outside for a minute, kids?” Helem asked. “I need to speak with Master Scaine on a more private matter while I’m here.”
Morn, Celeste, Jaque, and Koldian stepped out into the hall of statues. The statue just outside still gave Morn a shiver up his spine when he looked at it. Koldian walked out and leaned on another one, looking around. Morn and his friends walked a little way up the hall before turning towards each other.
“Are you sure about this?” Celeste asked.
“More than anything,” Morn replied.
“I can’t believe I’m getting new spells,” Jaque said, “He said they are normally off-limits to students. I wonder what they are. I hope they are more evocation spells.”
“We don’t know what that means, Jaque. You always talk like we understand you, but we don’t know anything about magic,” Celeste said.
“Sorry, evocation is pretty self-explanatory. It’s creating fire and more elemental magics. The school pretty much concentrates on abjuration,” Jaque paused and saw the confused looks on his friends’ faces, “protection magic. Things that can keep us safe. Some of us, like me, can evoke a small bit of fire, but for the most part, very few can actually pull it off.”
“That makes sense,” Morn said, “You protecting yourself is what really matters.”
“It didn’t help me against the zombies outside the wall,” Jaque replied, “If it weren’t for Celeste, I’d likely be dead now. Protection is good, but only as long as you can attack effectively. Running isn’t always an option.”
Morn thought back to the zombie that attacked him the night after he broke the gargoyle. A shiver went down his spine when he thought about the dead guard and the way they zombies had looked at him. He had been nothing more than a meal to them.
“If Celeste hadn’t been there, I probably would have died the night the zombies attacked,” Morn said.
“You would have been fine,” Celeste said, brushing it off, “You just wouldn’t have fought any of them. You’re too smart for that.”
“I don’t know if I would have had a choice,” Morn said.
“Everyone ready?” Morn’s mother said as she emerged from between the statues. “Let’s go get ready and get a good night’s sleep before this.”
Morn could see the worry on his mother’s face as they walked together up through the monastery and back out into the fresh air. Celeste and Jaque continued to go back and forth with a conversation about fighting zombies, but Koldian, Helem, and Morn remained quiet. When Morn looked at Koldian, he could see the wizard’s face was also set in a curious expression while he listened to their friends talk.
continued 40/366 – A Little Truth (Cont.)