Author: SapphireMount PM
After marrying due to an arrangement, Ellissa must now escape her insane husband. She find sanctuary at The Fort, the place where she studied the magical arts. A vile force threatens both her and her entire way of life; Raiber was just the start.Rated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Romance - Chapters: 17 - Words: 48,962 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 05-11-12 - Published: 04-07-12 - id: 3011541
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Without arriving late Ellissa was not sure how she would manage to complete the list of assignments she had. Working as an apprentice certainly required much more work than she could ever imagine a single person could do. For the first time she was regretting her marriage to Raiber for another reason other than who he was. She glared at Gerald, who was sat nearby writing away. He was working on an area of interest not completely related to his ability. Inspired by a friend of his in the town- and added to by the accounts of others- he was compiling a thesis on non-magical people, who still seemed to have an affiliation with the element. He had dubbed it an affinity with them, something less tangible than powers. She, however, was doing research for three masters, planning classes for a further two and continuing her own studies—currently focusing on Time and Energy.
She grabbed the two books that she had been skim reading for Master Kali and hurried out of the room. She was going to be late for her class, but she wanted to stay on the right side of the master. You didn't mess with someone who could change your past with a thought. Unfortunately it meant that the Master did not fully understand that not everyone could simply use the whole of the past and the future to do complete a task. She lived in a spiral amongst a community living on a linear. So Ellissa resigned herself to being late for everything else, and hope the Masters would understand. I'll just not sleep tonight and make a head start on tomorrow. She smirked. She had decided the same thing three times in the last two weeks, and managed it once. Every other time dawn had found her asleep with her head on a book the first time; and in the still damp ink of her notes the third. That had been an embarrassing day, as she had walked around with theories of the benefits of MoonLight Root in – ironically enough—stimulants for energy.
Gerald smiled as he watched Ellissa hurry from the room, before returning to the memo he was studying. He wasn't really reading it, as he had memorised it months ago, but he found a comfort in the familiar flow of the hand written theory. Its author had been like him, able to sense the rhythm of the world around her. Studying her had always allowed him to contemplate other matters; especially now Ellissa was gone.
He had been in the gardens when he had heard them, the Masters, talking about her. He still had to digest everything he had heard then. To Ellissa's benefit they had not been the main Masters. They held little sway with Lillith, yet it was still concerning that some of the influential teachers at the Fort were muttering about the suitability of her return to studies at an apprentice level. They also had not been convinced by her reasons for returning.
He had debated telling Ellissa, but had decided against it. She was already unconsciously working to prove the nay sayers wrong by throwing herself into her studies. He had not told her but, though she felt she was behind in her studies, she was doing a lot better than he had as an apprentice. A month had passed and she had yet to have a mental breakdown under the workload; something he himself had not managed.
No, Ellissa shouldn't be told.
Hulda considered the young man sat across from her. His dark brown hair and fair skin hinted at his origin from the outlying villages; his plain features had possibly saved him from any real aggravation from his powers. Terry had gone through his initiation tests, and had been proven to be almost completely with the element of fire; just like Hulda herself. The Fort had a problem, however, as most of their initiates were around ten or eleven…twelve at the oldest. Terry was almost seventeen. It was a miracle in itself that he hadn't become engulfed by his powers already.
This unique situation, Hulda had decided along with Feronia, required unique handling. So it had been decided that he should shadow one young fireling apprentice. They were currently sat waiting for him to walk through the door.
Huher opened the door to find Hulda sat behind her marble desk, opposite her sat the new student that Adane had escorted to the Fort. Hulda rose slowly, her age making her movements less fluid than they had once been. Her once flaming hair now came in wispy threads down her back. Huher had not been told what was the motive behind this meeting, but was able to guess once he saw Terry's face.
"Terry, this is Huher. He is a Fireling; that is what we call those weighted such as yourself."
"H..hello." Terry asserted. His nervousness concerned Huher, nerves and fire did not work well together.
"Terry. How are you finding the Fort?"
Huher nodded. The sprawl of the Fort, and Valenci around it was often intimidating to those who had never seen a settlement larger than village. He could feel Hulda's eyes boring into him. Inwardly sighing her turned to her, the motion giving her permission to speak of why he had been called.
"Huher. We, that is Oshun and myself, would like you to oversee some of Terry's training. We felt that he would prefer to learn from you that with a group of overzealous eleven year olds."
"That is understandable," Huher asserted, "why me though?"
"You have proven that you can engage students, in some ways even more than some of the experienced Masters. Terry has already agreed that, given the circumstances, he would be much better equipped learning from you than others who cannot sympathise in the same way."
Huher nodded. He knew what had been coming, and in some ways it had been all he could hope for. It just seemed so soon, especially as his friends in the Fort still sometimes behaved like they were Terry's age… he suddenly realised. The Masters had been watching the group, each year was the same. Those who had finished their formal learning but still resided at the Fort under a tutelage often experienced a kind of second childhood where they behaved much younger given their first taste of freedom. In his group Adane and Ellissa were prime examples, partly thanks to their association with the elements in the plural.
"Terry?" Huher started. "I need to go to the library, we shall discuss your studies there. I should be able to find the reading requirements there as well… how are your literacy skills?"
"I…I understand letters, Sir. M..my mother did the documents for one of the farmers and she taught me 'em."
"Good, then you are off to a better start than I was." Huher smiled as Terry relaxed slightly, enough to almost smile. "Come, we should get going. I want to test you myself before the day is out as well. Good day, Master Hulda."
"Good day, Teacher Huher."
As they walked towards the library, Huher felt a soft glow build inside that was nothing to do with his fire abilities. Teacher Huher. That sounded good.
Her head bent close to the thick tome as she tried to, somehow, absorb its contents. In frustration she threw the short work quill onto the blank sheet of parchment that lay next to the book, sending flecks of ink across the table as she did so. Ellissa sat up and ran both hands through her newly shortened hair. Around her in the library others were having more luck extracting the information from the books they were reading.
Beside her Adane chuckled as he glanced up from the tome he was studying, his was only slightly smaller than hers. His duties as a council official were reprieved once the new teachings had started. Now he was just another student. They were both studying the deeper uses of the timeling's powers, and Adane was far more adapt at understanding the subtle complexities involved in that element of magic. As he should, his own elements were weighted towards Time, Air and Water. She had always struggled with Time; it seemed so much more abstract than the other elements, even Energy.
"I just don't understand this at all." She admitted, still staring at the page. She had read the same few lines at least five times and still had not taken it in. "Listen to this; 'Although it is impossible to be completely sure of the eventual outcome of every action, the ultimate aim of a timeling should be to consider all possibilities and attempt to prevent harm to others. The greatest learning show that those elementally weighted towards time can move through the past and future, thereby ascertaining the result. However such an attempt is not recommended, especially for the past, as this may have unforeseen consequences.' It just makes no sense"
Even read aloud it still made little sense to Ellissa. How could someone not know the results of an action but also know them? She posed this question to Adane, who sighed softly and observed her over his reading glasses.
"Ellissa, they're talking about different levels of ability all striving towards one goal. Understanding that every action can have unforeseen consequences; even for those who can travel to the future. It's recommending taking everything into account before performing an action."
"But that's impossible."
"Which is what it also says; but it's better to consider the possible consequences than not. Which is what we all should do really, but timelings have less of an excuse not to as they're more aware of them."
"Oh. Well that makes sense." She grimaced, "that's probably why Master Kali recommended this to me. I wasn't exactly considerate leaving Raiber's." She cast her mind back to the shaking man, Buck, in the laundry room. Had that only been a handful of seasons ago? It seemed so much longer. She felt something on her hand and looked down to find Adane had covered it with his.
"Don't be too hard on yourself. Remember it's also impossible to consider every possibility. Tell you what," he said, closing his book and taking his glasses off. "I think we've studied enough for today, we're not novices anymore after all. I want to show you something new I've been working on." He got up from his chair and, grabbing his long coat from the back, moved towards the door; where he stood waiting for Ellissa. She didn't need to think for long before closing her own book and following him out of the library. She had always liked this with Adane; the restless wind in him meant he often could not stand to do one thing for too long. They had gotten no small amount of trouble from late assignments because of it, but had found many interesting aspects of the Fort.
Today Adane led her out into the Earth gardens, past the ornamental winding paths near the building towards the wilder growing areas of herbs, wildflowers and pockets of heather. Scattered amongst the various pockets were small, shallow pools. It was to one of these that Adane headed and, crossed legged, he sat next to it. He beckoned her over to the chosen pool. Stepping carefully to avoid the sparse herbs that had been planted here she settled next to him, gathering her skirts beneath her to sit on the rocky ground near the pool. As she arranged herself Adane pulled a small jar from inside his coat. Carefully he dipped it into the pool, scooping out a few fingers worth of water. Ellissa watched, fascinated, as he pulled his wand out of his coat sleeve. He then asked her;
"Could you name someone? Someone we both know."
"Ermm," she thought for a second then smiled. "Kali."
With a grin Adane nodded and placed the wand near the jar, holding each in a hand. The wand began to glow a soft blue as he focused on the water in the jar, which had started to swirl. Ellissa began to notice that, within the swirling liquid a face was appearing. There was the unmistakable bright purple hair of Master Kali. She was laughing at something outside the image. However she seemed on edge, looking around as if sensing something. As soon as Adane noticed this he pulled the wand away and the water stopped swirling. He caught Ellissa's eye and grinned mischievously at her.
"What was that?" She asked.
"That, my dear, was our esteemed master as she was a few minutes ago. I've been working on it to try and capture the present, but the closest I can get is the immediate time before."
"But she seemed to sense you."
He smiled again, and kept smiling until Ellissa realised. They had affected the past, had seen it and affected it from the future. Her head began to ache slightly as she began to think about how it would work. She kneaded her temples slightly. Adane, seeming to sense to source of her pain stated;
"It's one of those 'don't think about it too much' times. Some things just are, and this is one of them."
She nodded in agreement. Suddenly though she heard a crunch of footsteps behind her. Glancing at Adane she saw his eyes had gone wide as he saw who was stood behind her.
"Ellissa, Adane, if you're quite done playing with water, perhaps you can explain to me why you are out here when I clearly asked you to study those volumes." Behind her the soft voice of Kali had taken an icy tone. One that, even now, scared Ellissa; as a novice it had terrified her.
"I was giving Ellissa a demonstration, Kali, on the effect of altering time. Several minutes ago you were laughing, but because of something I did you are now here…and annoyed. See Ellissa, mess with time and you get into trouble. Oh, and you can't always predict what will happen when you try something…"
"Such as spying on your Masters."
"Such as spying on your Masters….no wait I wasn't spying, erm….sorry?" He finished lamely.
A group of novices giggled as they scuttled past Ellissa and Adane. The pair were cleaning the main staircase in punishment; an assignment usually given only to novices. One boy turned and kicked Ellissa's bucket, sending it clanking down the stairs to splash at the bottom. The boy's blue hair rippled as he laughed; a sound that was cut off when he saw Ellissa's face. He was one of the second year novices; an age at which most novices felt somewhat invulnerable at times having survived their first year. This particular novice was usually seen cleaning these stairs in his free time. He began to run down, slipping slightly on the wet stairs. Smoothly Ellissa drew out her wand and focused. A wall appeared in front of him; which he collided with. She descended the stairs slowly; her blood throbbed with anticipation of the possible chaos, the fear in the novice's eyes only heightened it.
"Pick it up." She said slowly, enunciating every syllable precisely. The novice turned and retrieved the bucket. "All of it." Ellissa stated; her voice low as distant thunder. The novice's face descended with dismay as he realised she meant the water also. He was evidently not strongly aligned with water as he tried and failed to will the spreading puddle back into its container. Ellissa bit back a smile as she watched him struggle. It was not until she heard Adane say "enough!" that she came out of her trance. She found Adane was glaring at her. Abashed, she told the novice to leave. He ran, avoiding the water, and hurried out of sight.
"What was that about Ellissa? You know you're scary enough without humiliating a novice like that."
"I don't know. Sometimes the little shits just get to me."
"He's a child, Ellissa, what do you expect? It's one thing to get him to retrieve the bucket, but to try and force him to use a power he hasn't got?"
"How was I to know?"
"You know sometimes it's easy to tell that you spent so much time away from here. You forget that most of the people that come through here can only use one or two of the elements at most. We are the oddities here Ellissa; not them." With that Adane picked his own bucket up and left. Sighing Ellissa steamed the mess the novice had made before following Adane's wet footsteps downstairs.
Aleno's head hit the thin pillow hard. His training that day had been intense; more intense than usual at least. Just a few more months, he thought, and he would be out of this place. Fawrtuhnet had informed him that the drafts were being made for the latest recruits to go to the towns in Raiber's province. After the huge recall the year before the Place had been full to bursting with young men—some of whom could barely wield a sword— and Aleno had found himself one of the more accomplished rather than one of the new blood. He had driven himself to prove that he could lead others as well as take orders. He pushed himself twice as hard as any of the men he had commanded today; inspiring them by showing willing to do the drills himself. He could not be sure of a future just yet however. As much as he worked he was still not as experienced as he wanted to be. It had been a shock when Raiber had sent so many inexperienced men out to the towns. The price had been high and had highlighted exactly why only those who were trained were sent to the towns. Most of the lads had never been from under their mother's apron strings and they were handed freedom; or at least the greatest freedom they had ever experienced. The result had been close to chaos. The town guards needed to be disciplined. They were there to do a job; namely to ensure taxes were paid, laws were maintained and people were safe. Aleno still found time to smile as the new recruits had been taught that hard lesson; made much harder by their previous experiences of being one of Raiber's men. Aleno's own induction had been hard enough; he had been full of pride at being chosen but he had also been innocent and in awe of the men who served above him. These new men, these boys, had come to the Place believing they were better because they had spent only a handful of months in a town; a privilege not given to many at the Place. They had soon been shown their error.
No, Aleno couldn't be sure of what his future held; but he was going to try his damndest to get the one he wanted.
End of Part 1
A/N: This is the end of the first part of The Illusionist. For the sake of ease I will be uploading part 2 on this same thread. Thank you for sticking with it this long, and please leave feedback, I know it needs work and I really want this story to be the best it can be. To do that I need other eyes to tell me what is wrong (and right) with it as it stands. I'm awful at proofreading my own work so apologies for any silly mistakes.