Sebastian was a little worried he wouldn’t be able to find out much, since the police had already investigated, marked and sealed the house, completely destroying what might have been a crime scene.
He looked around the room. Last week’s newspapers, that probably had already been searched for clues, were neatly pilled next to the old TV. Several photographs hang as pictures on the walls, some showed weddings, others parties, children, cats. “The victims family, most probably.” The police would probably try to identify some of the people in the photos.
He looked over his shoulder “Well, this was lonely person. I bet old too, I mean… photos in the wall…”
A man sat on an old chair, his elbow resting on the table, face half covered by his hand, staring expressionless at this pupil.
“We should try the bedroom first, maybe there’s something there that will give us a clue why he came after this one. People usually keep the most private things in the bed room.”
The man did not answer. Or move.
“Or maybe I should try magic, right? “
Sebastian kneeled next to an old but very well kept sofa, were the reports said the victim was found.
His mentor had been teaching him Time, and Sebastian was pretty sure he was waiting for him to use it. So he concentrated and repeated a spell he had created just last night, which should allow him to peek back in time.
Sebastian cleared his throat and cast the spell again, measuring every word, making sure they all sounded as they should. The air around him changed, a tingling feeling of magic touched him, but it started to disappear without showing any effect.
Sebastian tried once more. He closed his eyes and murmured the words once again. He felt all the power around him, right at his reach, but it was as if he was not fast enough to catch it, and everything was beginning to drop right between his fingers.
Sebastian stopped his breath and tried again. Focus. Words. He could almost feel the spell working, but once again his powers were failing him. The young mage closed his eyes and repeated the words as a command, without regaining his breath. He kept the power at his reach and tried to rip time once again, but he felt himself trembling and loosing control once more. He clenched his fist with all his might, and repeated the words breathless. His vision shift for a second, he was sweating and trembling, trying to bend reality to his will, but he was not strong enough. Time would not bend. He screamed the spell with all his might and the room was suddenly swallowed by a bright light, while every shadow in the room seemed to be covering Sebastian.
At last he opened his eyes and reality bowed to his power.There had been an old woman there. She had been praying. Then she took the pills and a glass of rum, she downed them all with one sip and laid herself to die.
Sebastian looked at his mentor, trying to regain his breath. The man was still sitting, emotionless, immobile, just staring.
“Er… he was not here”, Sebastian started “all I saw was a woman. An old woman… she killed herself. Our guy wasn’t here”
“Yet you took a long time to see it”, the mentor said. Even though, the man’s cool voice showed no signed of reprovement, it was filled with that firmness that imparted the harshness of someone accustomed to give orders. Nothing more.
“But you already knew that, uh?”, Sebastian asked, half exhausted, half irritated.
“Yes”, the expressionless voice answered. The man was still sitting, in the same position, not moving any more than necessary to speak.
“So why are we wasting time here?”, Sebastian asked, a bit more impatiently than he meant.
“Time is never wasted, Sebastian”, the cool voice said “You didn’t understood the arcana, I see”
“Of course I did”, Sebastian answered, “it was just a matter of speech”
“Someone who uses words as focus, should be more careful with what they say”, once again there was no second meaning, or censur in those words, just facts said coldly and calmly. “That is probably why so much of your magic fails. Please try to pay attention to yourself at all times.”
Sebastian didn’t answer. It was much easier to be Eric’s student! Eric was a patient, light natured mentor, to whom Sebastian felt he could ask anything. This one, on the other hand, made him feel he was already supposed to know everything. Though Sebastian had to admit this guy was the type of mage we hoped to become. Powerful, determined and highly respected among the Hermetic Court.
The harsh voice slashed his thoughts “have you tried to see your own future?”
“No. Should I?”
“Of course”, his mentor said as the steeped out of the sealed apartment. “It will inspire you to work harder and give a meaning to all you’re trying to achieve”
“And what if I find out I’ll suck as a mage? Maybe I should just be ignorantly happy”, he young mage said teasing.
“No one is happy being ignorant”, the firm voiced whipped the apprentice “and you will be great, I assure you. But you’ll need time to create that spell; if you try it now you’ll probably throw yourself into Quietus.”
“What? Have you seen it? Don’t tell me you peek at all your student’s futures, they’re private, you know?”, Sebastian said lightly, as both descend the stairs.
“You are my only student”, again no emotion. “And yes, I’ve seen it”
“Cool! Tell me.”, Bastian asked, as he opened the door to the street “Please. Just a bit! Whatever you consider important”
“You should find out your future for yourself.” The man stepped out and turned in the direction of Sebastian’s car “but maybe knowing what lies ahead will finally make you understand the importance of what I tell you. You and your sister will be part of the key to win this war, when it’s finally unleashed. It is probably best you share this information with her, since her future is also of great concer to the Order. And you, Sebastian, will help me make our leaders see what the Order of Hermes truly is.”
Bastian was just staring at him “err… that sounds important.” He passed a hand through his hair as he prepared to open his car “Will you trust me with all of that?”
“Of course”, his mentor answered, “you’ll be my lover. There’ll be no one I could trust more”
Sebastian dropped his car keys and laughed “So you do have a sense of humor! I was beguining to…”
Sebastian noticed his mentor’s eyes fixed upon his and he didn’t finish his sentence. The older man was staring at him, in his disturbing, penetrating, way; but for the first time, not without expression; even though Sebastian couldn’t decipher it.
Both men entered the car and drove back to the chantry. Both the young wizard and his senior were silent. After parking the car, before his mentor got out, Sebastian asked what was racing in his mind “So….. err.. When will we… it… you know?”The man opened the door and looked at his apprentice with the same calm and quiet he always had “Find out for yourself, you already know how it’s done. See you tomorrow, Sebastian”. He closed the door and entered the chantry