Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Magiskeep Story

Class Dismissed

Part 3

The next turn of Easwin, as the sun rose to light the Halls, Sorra was making her way down from the upper chambers. At the top of the landing nearest the North Tower, she tripped. Jomel, the upper houseman found her lying on the marble floor below, her neck broken. Hers was only the second death in the Keep in the present memory.
Sagari, the Keep’s Master, was called to witness her passing at once. His presence was essential since the body of any Sorcerer vanished into the mist within a wind of death, and any evidence would disappear nearly as quickly. However, it took no time at all for him and the rest of the assembled Masters to figure out what had happened.

He gathered them together on the landing where Sorra had fallen. There, he took the central position to examine the scene. Wearing a formal turquoise tunic emblazoned with the white crest of a stallion, Sagari presided with the pure presence of his bearing and personal charisma. Tall and golden haired, with cold blue eyes and an unmistakable aura of power in every word and gesture, Magic seemed to hold its breath in his company. When he spoke, the room fell into an absolute silence of respect and awe. And he was a man to be feared, for he had a quick temper, and little patience with disobedience or foolishness. Sorra’s death had the potential of both to evoke his rage.
“This is a pure instance of murder,” Sagari said, shaking his head disapprovingly. “Why even a Prentice can sense the threads of a weave right here on the landing.”
“True,” Joria agreed. The Mistress of Illusion was still gowned in her night dress and quickly waved a more modest grey robe to cover her. “Someone has spelled a barrier here just at the height to trip someone hurrying to the staircase. Anyone might have fallen. Poor Sorra was just the unfortunate victim this time.”
Sarena, Mistress of Healing rose from her knees beside the body, “I wonder. Not many use these stairs, at least this time of day. Sorra, however, was more steady in her habits than anyone in the Keep.”
“So,” Sagari said, “you are suggesting she was the deliberate victim.”
Sarena brushed the dust from the skirt of her pale blue robe, “I am, My Lord. The problem is whose?”
“It’s a child’s spell,” Master Jorn said, as he studied the space between the stairs. Master of Comprehension, his talent lay in the ability to sift the Truth of weaves. “There’s little sophistication in the thread, though it did prove effective. I’m surprised it held at all. As soon as Sorra’s foot struck it, the pattern was broken.”
“More than likely what sealed her fate,” Joria said sadly. “When it gave way, she fell through too quickly to make a move to save herself. Had the weave been stronger, she might have had more time to react.”
“A child,” Sarena muttered, “a child. What a horrible idea.”
“Why?”  Sagari replied easily, “A child’s mind is often less cluttered with morality than yours or mine, My Lady. When I was a boy, I contemplated more than one murder myself. Surely you must have wanted someone in your life to die for having treated you badly.”
Sarena’s fair face reddened. Known throughout the Keep for her gentle Compassion, any thought of violence usually distressed her, but Sagari’s words seemed unusually upsetting, “I never thought of killing anyone, My Lord. Yet, I must admit, I often pictured my mother dying of guilt after she had punished me for misbehaving. I suppose that is a kind of murder.”
Sagari grinned gleefully, always delighted to prod Sarena to admit to some fault or another.  “It is the common fate of childhood, you see. This time, however, the child acted upon his fantasy—the danger of Magic in the hand of the unschooled.”
Joria rubbed her chin thoughtfully, “Had Sorra crossed any of her pupils of late?  I grant she was a hard taskmistress…”
Jorn grunted, “Was there any day she didn’t cross one?  To her credit, she stressed discipline above all else.”
“This was an act of haste, quickly provoked,” Joria replied. “Children do not often hold grudges for very long.”
“I agree,” Sarena said. “Something must have happened recently to provoke the attack. If we work our way from there…”
“Then question Jamus,” a small voice said from the crowd gathering in the hall.
Sagari stiffened at the mention of Jamus’ name, readying himself to defend his ward, not so much because he liked the boy but more because his judgment was being questioned, “Who said that?”
Quickly, a small, redheaded little girl was pushed to the front. Though clearly frightened by the gathering, she stared up, wide-eyed, at Sagari and said, “I did, Master. Sorra was always picking on Jamus. He hated her. I heard him practicing a chant whenever she wasn't around, too. He said he was going to curse her with it.”
“Indeed,” Sagari replied, not bothering to crouch down to look into the girl’s eyes.  Instead, his own blue eyes hardened as his jaw set, “Bring the boy to my Council Chamber as soon as the Parting Ceremony for Sur Sorra is complete. I will be waiting for him and the Masters who wish to present testimony.” Then he turned on his heel and strode down the Hall, leaving the rest of them slack jawed and murmuring at his brusque and inappropriate departure.
To send a Mistress of Magic to the end of her circle without the Lord of the Keep present was not proper by any standard. Still, Sorra’s body would not wait on custom and was already beginning to waver as its substance started to dissolve into nothingness. Joria, as eldest of the remaining Masters, stepped up to Sagari’s place and raised her hand over the dead Sorceress, “To the River go, free of the bonds of Turan’s earth. May the waters take you, the River carry you, and the Circle remain in the Light. The name of Sorra, Mistress of Beginnings is surrendered now into the Books of the Elders. May it ever be spoken in reverence and honor. None shall own it, none shall it possess, for it is the name of the one and no other. Sorra shall ever be Sorra and no other. Blessings upon her remembering.”
As if Joria’s words held some power over it, Sorra’s body seemed to melt and fade more with each phrase until, at the last word, it simply vanished from sight. The gathered each whispered an individual amen to the ceremony, stood silently for a respectful interval and then moved apart, heading back to lives in a Keep where death was rare and unexpected.

No comments:

Post a Comment