Half Breed 2

Read previous part

Despite the immense exhaustion that increasingly assaulted my body, I couldn’t deny that the people of Nagher really knew how to throw a celebration party.

A set of long wooden tables had been placed along the main square, people brought chairs from their own homes; a ground fire had been lit to roast the meat. It might have been the long time since I had tasted something other than traveling rations, but to me the food was indeed delicious, Alistair had already ate one entire pig and he was dared to try his second one.

The beverage was not bad either, even though I still missed the delicate bouquet of the elven wines. The music was good enough, although after I showed a little of my musical skills, most of the musicians felt embarrassed for continuing after the melodic poetry of the elven music. In any case, the dance and the celebration never ceased, their happiness was really contagious. Even that swindler fat Burgh Master seemed almost friendly and less disgusting as he danced comically with a much taller and thinner lady.

“I guess that playing the occasional hero sometimes really pays off, huh Vaughn?”

Tassler said handling me another glass of wine, but I gently declined, I couldn’t get intoxicated with too much alcohol because my mind needs maximum sharpness when preparing the spells.

That’s always the hardest part of being a wizard.

Most of people just assume that casting a spell is something that happens immediately because they can only notice the effects of the spell itself, but it actually requires hours of previous preparation, the mage’s mind is trained to memorize several pages of truncated arcane phrases, most of the times written in forgotten languages.

However, the only thing a layman may witness is the conclusion of the spell, when the caster simply triggers the spell by joining together the components and the activation phrase, the only one that is not pronounced during preparation. Usually I needed at least four hours to prepare all my spells, which meant that if I wanted to leave at the seventh hour of the next morning, I should have gone to bed 40 minutes ago.

“Make sure the kid doesn’t taste too much of the wine, not even both of us can carry his bulk if he gets drunk!” I playfully punched Tassler’s shoulder as I prepared to leave.

“Have a nice rest, master, and don’t worry, I’ll take care of the winged lad.” Tassler just tapped my hand gently as I walked towards the biggest house of the city.

“Master Vaughn, please come to see me”

It was like night breeze had just whispered my name. I looked at my side and noticed that Lady Magdel stood at the temple’s door. Although she was really far to shout my name, I knew that she had called me, probably by some mystic way of her own.

Trying to keep discretion, I crossed the partying crowd heading to the modest temple where Lady Magdel waited for me. Although it was simple, I noticed the symbols on its stone walls, realizing that it was indeed heavily protected against invaders, which only got me to think about her kidnap once again.

Looking directly at me, she walked backwards, entering her temple, leaving the doors slightly opened, so I just took a second glance over my shoulders to make sure no one had noticed me, and headed into the poorly illuminated church.

The interior of the building was rather simple, but incredibly meaningful at the same time. Two sets of benches for the faithful people of the town, a large altar built in white marble, the rock piece was carved to hold an enormous elliptical concavity. Mystically floating at the precise center of that impressive sink rested an enormous clear white crystal that was constantly bathed for a water string.

Magdel assumed her place next to the main piece of that temple, gently waving me to approach her.

“You wanted to see me, milady?” I asked gently bowing to her, given the woman’s respectful position.

“Please, don’t need to follow such dumb formalities, Master Vaughn of Yendrill, future Mage Regent at the First House of Arcane Arts” The lady replied, showing that she really knew my status among the wizards and the elven people as well.

“Tonight, I’m just the grateful old woman you saved”. I felt her soft lavender scent filling my enhanced smelling sense. As decorum prescribed, I waited for the hostess to announce the reason for such unexpected audience.

“Young Vaughn, I’m really sorry for the horrible charade my people had put you through, but unlike me, they were caught unprepared by such impacting events.” The words carried on her soft voice tone suddenly assumed a much graver sound on my ears.

“Milady is indeed an Oracle, a divine seer, it would be really hard to catch you unprepared, unless…” I said holding my chin as we both faced the light glow on that crystal.

“My visions alerted me about the menace the Warlock named Shogal represented. He was always mystically watching me, paying close attention to my very actions, sending his nasty creations to spy inside the temple, trying to find the best way to capture me.” Magdel gently touched the wet surface of the crystal; the glow became a little bit stronger.

“Why didn’t you raise up your defenses milady?” I asked, undoubtedly fascinated with her gentle manners and her ethereal presence.

“If he knew I was prepared, Shogal would resource to even lower methods, he would come after my people, and I would never allow him to harm my children” Magdel said with a stronger voice tone, which reminded me that she was indeed the spiritual leader of the town.

I understood her difficult situation, as an Oracle she was given the gift of divination, but as a priestess she had the obligation to protect her flock.

“In one of my views, I saw that you and your friends would come rescue me, and there were many possible outcomes on my omen. In most of them you would be victorious but I felt really graceful when I realized the choice you’ve made, especially knowing that because of that you lost something really precious for you, even though you didn’t hesitate choosing your companion over your relic” The priestess said with a corky smile on her lips

“Oh come on, not you too, Magdel” I sighed impatiently although I still tried not to be disrespectful in front of an Oracle.

However, she just held my hands and placed it over the crystal.

“The real reason why I called you here is to warn you about these paths Fate determines for us, we don’t have time to analyze all paths before we chose one to take, my dear wizard, each one has to follow an inner sign, and in your case, the best the inner sign is not your famous prodigious mind, like you wanted everybody to believe, but instead it is your most valuable heart.”

“What do you mean, Oracle?” I asked at once as my skin shuddered.

“The consequences of this choice you made today will reverberate thorough your whole life, my dear Vaughn. You avoided the death of Alistair, from most of the visions I had, his path was supposed to end today, but thanks to your intervention he now has his whole life ahead of him. A life that is now interwoven with yours” Her touch was warm and gentle; I could almost feel like she understood my reasons.

“Did you ever get to know what this horrible Shogal wanted from you, Lady Magdel?” I asked trying to overcome another embarrassing situation.

“Everything is linked, my boy. Shogal wanted my divination skills to serve his malignant intents; he wanted to use my scrying capabilities to locate something that had been lost or hidden a long time ago!”

“That man was crazy! Your divination is a heavenly gift, he could never benefit from it”

“It’s not like this, Vaughn, a divine oracle is a seer, and as such I can’t avoid my visions when their links are strongly connected to my senses. That’s how Shogal had retrieved all the material you found on his laboratory” She concluded in a sad tone.

Finally, I understood the reason why a warlock would be suddenly so interested about all that transmutation material. Usually, they dedicate themselves to the arts of invocation and conjuration, the many strange creatures displayed in those terrifying jars were indeed earlier subjects of his dire experiences, probably trying his luck with the knowledge he had retrieved with the help of a coerced Lady Magdel.

“You understand now why you have to be careful about the material you claimed from Shogal? That nasty warlock had spent his life after a final transmutation spell, something that would make him the most powerful being. Most of wizards gave up searching for this mythic spell.” Magdel’s words sounded each time heavier.

“Lady Magdel, you can take my word that I won’t ever commit such horrendous acts like that maniac Shogal”

“Until this very day, I would not believe this word you’re giving me, Master Vaughn, I have to be honest with you, I’ve had many visions where you followed this sinister path most wizards prefer to take: many have chosen strengthening their magical powers over respecting other people’s lives.”

I kept listening as she caressed that glowing crystal. Magdel was a priest after all, and they are always suspicious about the choices a wizard has to make in order to develop his magic and become more powerful. Unlike priesthood, when your path is linked to the deity you serve, there’s a really thin line that separates a good wizard from an evil one, but they both can be equally greedy and dangerous when they’re in search of the arcane secrets that can increase their magic.

“I know about your mission, your challenge to become Mage Regent is creating a new spell for the glory of House Yendrill; all I ask you Master Vaughn is to consider the consequences of your choices, the secrets that you now keep are very powerful and dangerous.” Magdel looked at me worried.

“With all due respect, milady, but you really don’t know me enough to judge my character based on the visions you had, what really counts is the choice I make on the present moment” I bravely said to her, feeling my proud hurt because of her disguised accusations.

“Like I said, until this very day, I doubted of your honesty about this matter. However, in the same moment you chose to save the life of the young Alistair, the links between this reality and my visions were instantly broken. The omen became useless; the paths were once again clean, noble master. That’s why I needed to warn you, to leave your future choices to your heart instead of your mind, because that’s what saved the life of this young man and at the same time, prevented you from becoming a heartless enemy of the good.”

Magdel’s eyes were filled with tears. She held hands with me as she leaded to the temple’s door.

“You may leave this town as a proud hero, Master Vaughn; you saved all of us with your honorable choices. You will be in my prayers everyday; I’ll always count on you as the young wizard who is really the most indicated to keep the dark mysteries I helped to unveil. Please make good use of them, I hope they help you in your mission, but if you realize that even you might fall for their lure, please don’t hesitate in destroying them.”

I heard her advice, feeling my entire body shake. That woman could be creepier than the warlock himself. I smiled uncomfortably and kissed her hand.

“Don’t worry milady, the spell I intend to create has nothing to do with the Arts of Transmutation, but I will make sure that this knowledge is properly kept at the safety vaults of House Yendrill.”

“In any case, young wizard, please remember my words; it’s worth sacrificing magic over those you love!” She said as the doors behind us opened. I stepped out of the temple and Lady Magdel waved at me, as those magnificent wooden doors closed, keeping the Oracle of Nagher safe for now on.

“This is definitely an unusual day…” I whispered as my sore body took me closer to my desired comfort, away from the party and the music, all I needed was to close my eyes and have a good night of sleep at last. I honestly thought that creepy omen talk would haunt me for the rest of the night, but strangely the only thing that kept echoing in my sleeping mind was.

“A life that is now interwoven with yours” the sound of her grave voice and the images of Alistair smiling down at me filled my senses as I lunched into dream world.

The seventh hour of the morning hadn’t passed yet and I had already prepared everything for our departure. I kept the precious contents of Shogal’s vault magically protected from thieves. After thanking my fat host for his “kind hospitality” I finally got out of the house, where Tassler already waited with our horses bathed and fed.

“Where’s Alistair?” I asked curious.

“Oh, he’s coming alright, master Vaughn” my elf guard grinned and pointed to the side, I could just watch the enormous bulk of my lad partner kneeled on the dirt, as he vomited loudly.

Tassler couldn’t resist “A boy that size had never tasted wine, sir, I couldn’t allow such heresy to the elven gods of party!” He said getting up on his horse as I just nodded, approaching the massive body of the sick teenager, putting my sleeve on my nose to avoid smelling the undigested contents of Alistair’s stomach.

Instinctively, I touched his forehead and held it as his guts twisted and sent another gush of food and wine out of his sick body.

“How are you hanging there, boy?” I asked trying to make my voice sound less worried.

“Oooooooohhh I’m so sick!” He said holding his stomach and preparing for another turn of rejecting his food.

I grinned “Yes, sir you are, your celestial lineage might give you immunity against diseases, but you still get a hangover from drinking too much!” I tapped his back as I reached for a small vial inside my pockets. I held his head up and broke the glass at his nose level. The vapors acted quickly. Alistair jumped at once, suddenly more worried about the pungent smell that assaulted his senses.

“ARGH! This smell burnt my nostrils!” He said jumping up and down, rubbing his face and gasping for air.

“Well, at least it cured your hang over. Now you know why you should have kept drinking milk only.” I looked up at his pretty face, even though it was a mess after a night rolling over with stomach ache and probably a minor liver infection , I still thought he was the most handsome and beautiful creature that I had ever laid my eyes on.

“I’ll never drink wine again…” Alistair said like a regretting boy and I just tapped his forearm as I moved back to my horse.

“You haven’t drunk wine until you taste the elven vintages!” Tassler kissed his fingers on his lips and I nodded. Alistair just rejected the idea immediately.

We got on the horses and my winged boy simply flew a few feet from the ground, as the few people on the street said good bye before they moved on their own simple lives. Soon, we were out Nagher and back on the road.

Alistair flew above us like a silver condor, but he didn’t understand why we had suddenly stopped and got down our horses.

“Are we camping so soon? I can see the city from up here!” He shouted, the sound of his flapping wings supporting his powerful body completely stable in thin air.

“Just shut your mouth and come down here boy!” Tassler ordered and soon the massive bulk landed at our side. Meanwhile, Tassler took the saddles of our horses and smacked their butts, the animals simply rand down the road like they were wild once again.

The white haired massive muscular lad was about to ask if we had finally gone crazy but Tassler acted faster.

“How much do you weigh, Al?”

The big boy seemed surprised “Why do you care?”

“Because I need to know how much matter I’ll have to teleport…” I said already mentally revising the magical phrases.

“What is that?” Alistair asked without giving me the information I needed.

“How heavy are you, boy?” Tassler insisted.

The enormous teenager scratched his head, visibly embarrassed “480”

“Are these regular pounds?” Tassler asked, even my expression seemed shocked.

“Erm…I’m 487 pounds, to be precise.” Alistair blushed

I coughed “Well, since you don’t carry anything else other than your armor and your sword, I guess you must be under 550 pounds of matter, adding our own weight and equipment we had surpassed the normal capability of the spell. That’s gonna take an empowered recitation, Tassler.” I said to my helper and he promptly searched for the necessary components.

“You don’t need to do this Vaughn, I can fly remember?” He said touching my shoulder as if he was worried with me wasting spells on his massive body.

“You can’t fly faster than you think…” I blinked at him as Tassler held the empowering gem in front of mine, the effects of that gem already caused my limbs to tingle with the energy boost it would provide for the next spell I cast.

Alistair watched dumb folded as I pronounced the words, opening the wrinkles on time and space, invoking the energy transfer that surrounded our bodies and our equipment. The silver wings withdrew which could only mean that the kid was indeed scared about something that for me was just mere routine.

With a few gestures, I completed the spell, removing our bodies and everything attached to them from the road to Nagher, immediately reaching the surroundings of the famous Gates of Rhysmild, city of Arcane Knowledge.

The matter teleportation takes less than a thought to be completed, so we were already there once the huge teenager braced himself to prepare for the unexpected trip.

“You can open your eyes now, boy” Tassler tapped his muscular back and Alistair still felt disoriented for such drastic experience, he touched his massive figure checking for any possible missing parts.

“Don’t worry, I’m a skilled wizard, I wouldn’t screw things up with a simple teleport!” I said pretending to be offended by his joyful display of comic relief.

“That was simply amazing! It felt like falling from the sky, but much, much faster!” He said looking at our unsurprised eyes, the first time someone undergoes the teleportation experience it’s simply unforgettably unique.

“Glad you liked it, it also saved us over 2 weeks of travel, that’s why we resourced to a spell. Welcome to Gates of Rhysmild, the capital of human arcane knowledge!” I sounded unusually ravished. Alistair spun on his ankles, trying to take the whole view of that city.

It’s never prudent trying to teleport to an exact point without being too familiar with it, so I actually took us to a secondary road, but still so close to our destination that the big winged boy could notice the tall, humongous towers built out of pure crystal, and the golden buildings that reached for the high skies.

The impressive black shade of the legendary ebony wood only increased the colossal size of the magically imbued Gates, their mystical energy provided an almost inexpugnable barrier against invaders, whether if they attacked from land or from the skies. Peaceful, prosperous and increasingly glorious, Rhysmild was indeed the closest a human city could reach from the perfect balance of the Elven Domains.

“Why are we here, Vaughn?” Alistair asked innocently as he proceeded into the marvelous city ahead of us. However, even in a huge city like that, a creature of Alistair’s size and characters was very rare, so we should better keep discretion. Tassler just reached the clueless boy and covered him with the enormous cloak that we arranged every time we entered a place for the first time.

With his dazzling beautiful face hidden inside that hood, and the silver wings covered by the fabric, Alistair suddenly looked like any other humongous creature, besides, looking at his uncanny size, not many people would dare to mess with that figure.

“Like I said I’m in a wizardry mission; it means that I need, from time to time, to drop the lesser, mundane subjects and dedicate myself to the studies of my magic!” I was sure that even Tassler felt the arrogance on my words a tone higher than their usual; even I couldn’t exactly tell why I always sounded so prepotent when I talked magic with a layman.

“He came here to study, young Al. Master Vaughn needs to keep his mind sharp if he wants to accomplish his mission.” Tassler explained, keeping his voice tone each time lower so the boy understood that he wasn’t supposed to comment our goals out in the street like that.

Even though we took some precautions, it didn’t pass much time, until the news about our arrival spread over the city, and it wasn’t because Al’s fault this time.

In Rhysmild, I was the nearly scared figure. Vaughn Threshold II, son of the great human wizard that developed the legendary Gates of Rhysmild, the most celebrated milestone on the glorious story of that city.

As we grew closer from the impressive Towers, people stopped their affairs come in our direction, most of them just wanted to take a look at the son of Vaughn, the Glorious; even a few wizard apprentices asked if we needed any kind of help.

“It’s been quite a while since you’ve last been here huh, sir?” Tassler asked barely disguising his proud for escorting such a high figure.

“Well, not that long for me, but let’s not forget they live in human’s time.” I said trying to be gentle as possible to open my way through the people. Suddenly, an enormous floating metallic disc hovered above our heads.

“Master Vaughn, it’s an honor for us to have you back at your homeland!” The loud voice tone silenced the crowd’s undistinguishable noise. I looked up to see the slender figure of a brown haired man, with gentle traces and fine clothing.

“This is my father’s homeland, but I’m also thankful to feel so welcomed here!” I replied, stressing that my homeland could be no place else other than Elven Domains.

“The son of the Glorious will forever be regarded as if he was born in Rhysmild!” The man lowered the floating disk at the ground.

“Forgive me the lack of decorum, I am Silkram Huvenar, first assistant to Master Rothgar, he asked me to take you to the Iridium as soon as possible, to avoid any stressful molestness from the ignorant masses.” His voice tone suddenly grew harsher as he looked to the common citizens.

Tassler looked at me arching his delicate eyebrows. Rothgar would never ask such thing, but apparently that first assistant liked to use the authority of his master to insult well intentioned people. Alistair remained quiet, one could almost forget about his presence if it wasn’t for his immense size.

“Farewell, Silkram, take us to see Master Rothgar!” I said going up on his disc along with my crew, the curious mage assistant looked up at the towering figure of my winged friend, but he remained quiet as the disc ascended higher above the crowd, reaching the immensely high Arcane Towers, the safe refuge of wizards and other mystical beings that needed peace and concentration.

Arcane Towers are powerful mystical centers that gather magical essence dwelling in the world. Although not always physically a tower, this is a place where a wizard has much stronger connection with the manna influx; therefore his studies are much closer to success than if practiced outside the Towers.

There were eleven Towers around Rhysmild, more than half of the Towers located in the entire East Continent. Although allegedly independent from the Houses, each Tower is naturally closer to a certain kind of Arcane Art, thus if that coincides with the Art favored by a certain House, a strong link is bound to be established between them, which does not exclude, however, other Houses or studies.

Although I carried the insignias of House Yendrill, I’m also a member of House Threshold, which makes me really welcome at Iridium – one of the biggest and strongest Towers in the world, and the most influent in Rhysmild.

I noticed Tassler whispering something with Alistair and suddenly I felt the golden puppy eyes widening under that hood, like they were trying to lock me inside them forever.

“Really? Whoa!” The young winged man exclaimed but I just faked a cough, trying to force the two gossipers to drop the silly subject. Silkram looked puzzled, but I wouldn’t want to comment my personal life in front of a stranger.

The impressive bronze walls of Iridium shone with the morning sunlight. Silkram conducted the disk to the main patio where I could already see the obese figure of my friend Rothgar.

“Young Vaughn, I’m so happy to see you one last time in this decaying life of mine!” The tall fat wizard opened his arms and came to hug my slender figure. Rothgar did not look like the typical wizard; he was a 6’7” tall 320 pound fat man with absolutely no hair on his head, not even his eyebrows. His left eye permanently covered by the layers of fat in that pinky face, the only aesthetic benefit all that extra weight brought Rothgar was an uncanny joviality, despite his advanced age, he didn’t have wrinkles on the corner of his lips, and his cheeks were smooth as baby ones, even his hands were vigorously filled with hefty fat. His lips were thick and always moist, even his ears were chubby. Rothgar was older than many of the oldest humans ever, challenging his transitory nature, he was probably the happiest wizard.

“I rescued them from the ignorant mob, Master” Silkram said, trying to sound productive, but all his master did was nodding along.

“Make sure that Vaughn’s room is ready for him, don’t forget to check the rooms for his guests.”

“Yes, master” the arrogant wizard said noticeably offended by receiving such a mundane task. As soon as the pupil was gone, the fat man frowned.

“Pay no attention to Silkram, he’s just a preposterous young one. Now what brings you back to Iridium so soon? It feels like you’ve just departed.” Rothgar blinked.

“So, am I supposed to believe that I’m not welcomed here?” I said with a grin and the fat man just hugged me and shook violently along his rolls of powerful fat brawn.

“You know that you’re always welcome here Lord Threshold” He said just to tease me, because he knew I preferred to be called by my mother’s family name.

“You’d better call him by Lord Yendrill, and you know that fat blob!” Tassler said presenting his teasing grin.

“Oh, old Tassler, I didn’t know you’re still alive” The wizard commented putting me back on the ground.

“I’ll still look young the day we burry you, fat one!” Tassler replied getting closer to the obese mage.

“Don’t be surprised if it’s the other way around, big nosed fool. I’m gonna use every ounce of magic to extend this life of mine as long as it takes to outnumber your pitiful days.” They stood now really close from each other, but what seemed rivalry just busted into a sonorous laughter, soon Rothgar was hugging Tassler the same way he did with me.

Embarrassed, Alistair just stood in the corner, scuffing his huge feet as he looked at me with his glowing golden eyes underneath the darkness cast over his beautiful face. The big bodied host seemed to notice his awkwardness and suddenly came in his direction.

“And who might this just be?” He said reaching for Alistair’s hand. The winged lad shook it, still trying to keep hidden from the uneven eyes of my friend.

“My, you are just as big as you are shy aren’t you” Rothgar commented as Alistair tried to avoid the fat man to look directly at his face.

“It’s okay, Al, you can trust him!” I grinned at him, knowing that each passing day he grew more receptive to my advices. Alistair uncovered his head, revealing the beauty I already missed to contemplate. His tanned cheeks failed to disguise his embarrassment.

“In the name of the Ten Thousand Brides of Bahamut, isn’t this the biggest boy I’ve ever seen? Couldn’t you just wait for him to get of his cradle first, Master Vaughn?” Rothgar laughed as he kept shaking Alistair’s hand.

“M-my name is Alistair, mister Rothgar! It’s an honor to meet such a friendly host” Although he started shaky, Alistair’s tone gained strength and port as he proceeded.

Rothgar just kept shaking hands with the one figure that towered his own.

“Well, Alistair my boy, I can see your mother fed you pretty well!”

Tassler quickly moved and took the cloak, revealing the magnificence of that boy’s physique. Alistair didn’t notice until it was too late, his wings instinctively reached their full span, Rothgar’s jaw simply dropped.

“A Celestial Half Breed… quite impressive!” The fat mage commented.

The massive bronze muscle statue with silver wings smiled, taking his head behind his massive neck, causing his biceps to bulge so thickly that even the old wizard demonstrated his surprise to see such powerful brawn.

“It’s very nice to be here, Master Rothgar, your tower is very beautiful.”

“Why thank you my dear boy, pardon my curiosity, but may I ask which Church do you serve? I can’t see any symbol on you!” The big mouth on my fat wizard friend already started shooting on sensitive spots. Once again I felt the urge to defend that enormous tower of muscle from even the smallest inconvenient.

“I’m not a server of any Church, sir, just a regular orphan with wings!” Alistair answered surprisingly eloquent.

“Well, there’s certainly nothing regular about you, young man. I’m sure that if you are traveling with Master Vaughn and the sneaky Tassler that can only mean that they’ve seen something really special on you.” Rothgar was not used to look up when talking to people, but even to his stature, my winged boy seemed gigantic.

Our host suddenly seemed to remember me, politely excused and let the tanned lad admiring the beauty of Iridium Towers.

“How do you know he’s not an Angel?” Tassler curiously asked, it was noticeable that he was frustrated for not surprising the old human wizard with Alistair’s silvery wings, but he should know better that, even as human Rothgar was a rather experienced wizard, he had seen a lot of weird and strange creatures to be shocked by a mere half breed.

“That’s pretty simple, Tassler, my big eared friend, if that boy was indeed a pureblood from the Heavens, the demons I kept inside my laboratory would have exploded the moment he stepped into Iridium…” The mockery tone on that fat countenance simply killed Tassler from inside.

Before Alistair could hear this chit chat and get even more uncomfortable, I approached my escort and my studies mentor. “So does it mean you’re now playing with demons?”

“Why shouldn’t I? Their bodies produce the best venoms and antidotes, and I wouldn’t be able to support this majestic Tower without the ridiculously expensive costs for a mere Demon Killer Sword, so if it wasn’t for the pleasure in messing with the long horned bastards, we wouldn’t be here would us?”

Rothgar really sounded like an elder human going senile, but I knew he was the most vivacious and clear minded wizard I would find.

“Well, my friend, I’m really glad to hear that I have some really good news for you.” I said pulling his tall frame down so he would get closer to my much shorter head.

“I’ve got my hands on something that could lead us to Final Transmutation Spell, or better, to the Ultimate Spell I’m creating for my Regency at House Yendrill”

Rothgar’s eyes glowed “I knew you could only bring good news for this old man!” The fat man nodded his head, his thick lips already salivating with the possibilities.

At the time I didn’t feel that I was betraying the word I gave Magdel, she could be an Oracle but she was a priestess as well, she would never understand the thrill of the mystic research, neither the taste for self improvement that magical studies provided. I would indeed use that power I found to bring glory not only for my House but my friends as well.

Shogal was wrong in coercing an Oracle to locate these objects, but if he was indeed after the Final Transmutation Spell, there was nothing that would stop me from retracing his steps. The difference in our methods was more than enough to justify my actions. I would search for this power by myself, and after conquering it for my House, I’d live eternally within the Elven Domains as the Mage Regent I was born to be.

I was so thrilled by my own megalomaniac thoughts; but not even such greedy bastard like me could fail to notice the disappointment on my dear winged boy’s face.

Suddenly, it was like he lost his natural glow.

“What are we doing waiting here then? If you have such precious find, we have to start the research right now!” Rothgar said hastening to get into his laboratory, walking with an explainable dexterity for someone of his puffy bulk.

However, I could not move at all, it was like his sadness had melted my legs to the ground. I would never forget the sadness so strongly noticeable on Alistair’s golden eyes, it was like he could read my mind and discovered that I wouldn’t pay attention to the clergy woman.

The enormous bulk of Alistair approached me with growing discomfort.

“Please be careful, okay? Whatever you got from that warlock, I can’t deny the bad feeling I have about this…” He tried to smile, but the result was just miserable, because that boy couldn’t disguise his feelings.

At that time, I was sure that Magdel also had a private talk with Alistair, and who knew what prophetic parboils had she invented to convince the easily impressionable lad about the dangers of magical pursuits.

Although I hated seeing the muscular colossus in such worried state, I didn’t care for what Lady Magdel said to him. No wizard in his perfect state would choose anything over magic. Besides, I was convinced that her omens were false therefore I had decided not to pay attention to some lunatic stranger who knew absolutely nothing about my life.

“Don’t worry about me; it’ll be all about books and studies for the next weeks.”

His eyes grew wide “You mean that you’ll be locked up studying all that time? What about your mission?”

“This is my mission, lad. I need to come up with a spell that will bedazzle all the mages of House Yendrill and it takes not only dungeon crawling but especially lots of time studying in libraries…”

Alistair’s hand cupped my much smaller shoulder. “And you will be here studying for that whole time? You sure it’s not too much responsibility on you?”

Nobody has ever asked me that question; nobody had ever considered my feelings about this whole mission. Nobody including me, I have never asked myself if this mission truly belonged to me, because of my pride and my need to prove my value among the elven people. Then, comes this massive boy, with his silver wings and golden eyes, and suddenly I am already questioning the importance and my dedication to the mission of my Regency at House Yendrill.

I knew I was determined, but I had to look thrilled if I wanted that strange lad to let go of my shoulder, so I just smiled joyfully and thanked the massive boy for his sympathy for my so-called abnegation.

“It will be alright, Alistair, you have nothing to worry about, I’ll be studying in the lab with Rothgar, and it will take some time, so why don’t you take a few days off huh?”

He kept looking at me with his worried eyes seemed to pierce through the very soul of mine.

“I’m telling you to relax, trust me, inside the lab and surrounded by knowledge, that’s where I really shine! Go visit the city; I’m sure Tassler won’t mind showing you the wonderful taverns and shows here in Rhysmild.”

Tassler finally came in my rescue, hugging the impressive bulk of our angel, he swiftly managed to turn Alistair into other direction.

“Hey lad, when the master tells us that we are dismissed, we don’t ask twice, it’s time for you to know a thing or two about life with good old Tassler!” He said blinking at me, while I still gathered my thoughts. Each time I talked to that boy, I had to struggle with an unexplainable urge to be totally honest with him, like he didn’t deserve to be fooled.

“Have fun you two, and Tassler you can give him his payment. The boy could use a bigger armor, this one he has is completely outgrown!” I waved back at them like a father anxiously waiting for the return of his child.

“Master Vaughn, are you coming already? I wanna get to the bottom of this before my lifetime is over!” Rothgar said coming back to the patio.

“Right behind you, Master…” I said rushing towards his obese figure.

Although I still believed that studying Shogal’s materials was indeed the only rational and logical choice, I didn’t find an argument strong enough to destroy Lady Magdel’s voice echoing inside my head.

“A life that is now interwoven with yours”

Read next part