Chapter 4: Together
The sun was just beginning to dye the western sky crimson when Teslin, Lena, Meera and Streak entered Yemich. The city covered several rolling hills, sprawling out like some sort of wood and stone blanket.
They entered through the northern gate after passing through the outer slums that had sprung up outside the city walls. One of the City Guards stopped them but waved them on after Sevilen flashed his Magus credentials.
"Being a Magus sometimes has its advantages." Sevilen told Lena. The girl just shook her head and followed him into the city.
Humming to himself quietly, Sevilen led the way through the city streets, with his eyes half shut almost as if he was listening to something no one else could hear. Finally, he came to a halt in front of a bright and inviting inn. "We'll stay here." He announced.
Lena helped Sevilen remove the packs from Streak's back so the stable boy could take him away. Meera followed the two humans into the inn, sitting down and washing herself as Sevilen got them rooms.
They dropped their packs, and Meera, off into their rooms before heading back down to the common room for dinner. The pair had just finished ordering, Sevilen refusing to allow Lena to have the rabbit pie on grounds of cannibalism, when a commotion at the door drew their, and everyone else's, attention.
"I don't see what's so wrong about it." The woman with red-brown hair remarked.
"You wouldn't." the black-haired man replied, rolling his eyes at his other companion.
"Don't look at me. You're the one who picked her up." The man said, chestnut coloured hair falling into his eyes.
Still arguing, the three took the table beside Sevilen and Lena's. Conversation resumed and the pair's orders arrived. As they ate, they couldn't help but overhear what the other table was saying.
"Nourk, did you see that? That guy over there has green hair!"
"Hira, it's not polite to stare."
Obviously ignoring him, the girl continued. "Wonder how he dyes it that colour? It can't be natural."
Sevilen couldn't resist. He turned around. "It is in fact, as you say, natural. An experiment misfired when I was a child and so permanently changed the colour of my hair. Also, because of the nature of the experiment, it is impossible to dye."
Hira flushed as the Magus turned back around.
"Told you it wasn't polite." Nourk whispered to her before raising his voice. "I apologize for her. She doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut."
Sevilen turned around again and smiled. "Don't worry. She is not the first person to express curiosity over my particular shade of hair. Nor will she be the last I fear."
The brown-haired man finally spoke. "Who are you?"
"My name is Sevilen Guifre. My charming companion is Lena Asperid."
"I'm Nourk Waylei. The girl with the big mouth is Hira Prexlin and the man is Teslin Rolsof." The black-haired man replied. "Why don't you two come over and join us?"
"That would be interesting." Sevilen replied, picking up his stuff and ferrying it over to the other table, Lena copying him.
"So where are you two from?" Hira asked, curiosity finally overcoming her embarrassment.
"I was born and raised in Inico." Sevilen replied.
"Isn't that where the Mage Academy is?"
"You are quite correct. I am a Magus. I graduated only recently though."
"And you, Lena was it? Where are you from?"
Lena blushed. "Greenbanks." She said, staring down at her plate.
Nourk frowned. "Greenbanks? I heard something about odd weather about that place. Is it true?"
The girl turned redder. "There have been several odd storms, yes."
"What kind of storms?" Hira asked.
"We have had one firestorm, three ice storms and numerous sand and dust storms. No one has ever gotten hurt, though some people became panicky and frightened, understandably."
"Really? Does anyone know what caused the storms?" Hira asked, alive with curiosity.
"Not really." Lena replied softly, still staring at her plate. She wasn't about to reveal that the most probable cause for the strange storms was herself. Sevilen noticed that Teslin was watching Lena intently, almost as if he knew she wasn't being entirely honest. However, before anyone could say anything else, there was another commotion at the door, this time caused by the entrance of a tall, surly looking red-head and several armed men.
Hira swore. "I told you this was a bad idea." Nourk pointed out, causing the girl to glare at him.
"What's going on?" Sevilen asked, watching the approaching men with interest.
"Yaspis, the red-haired man, has a bit of history with Hira." Teslin explained, a very nasty grin slowly spreading across his face.
"Hey bitch! You really didn't think I'd forget about you, now did you?" Yaspis said once he and his men had reached their table.
"Hira please, don't insult him. It'll only make things worse." Nourk begged.
The girl visibly held back her anger. "What do you want?" she asked, voice clipped.
"To teach you a lesson about respect. So why don't you step outside?"
Despite Nourk's pleading looks, Hira got to her feet and snapped. "Alright dumb ass. Obviously you're too stupid to have learned anything from the last time."
Sighing, Nourk also got up, followed shortly by Teslin, Sevilen and Lena. Yaspis led all of them into a small alley beside the inn.
"You really should let her deal with her own problems." Teslin told Nourk.
"I'm not going to stand by and watch her die?"
Teslin sighed. "Watch yourself then."
The whispered conversation was halted as Yaspis turned to face them. "Now you're going to learn about how uppity little whores like you are treated." With that the men charged Hira.
The girl leapt back from the knife slash and then was forced to duck and weave as attacks came from all sides.
Nourk darted in and out of the fray, closely watched by Teslin. When one man went to strike at Nourk's unprotected back, the other assassin jumped in and slit the man's throat. With his blood lust now aroused, Teslin joined in, always staying near Nourk.
Sevilen watched the fight with avid interest, while Lena stood behind him, horrified by the blood and pain. When a few of the men noticed them standing there, they rushed forward, forcing Sevilen to freeze them in their tracks. Literally frozen.
"Huh. That spell works better then I had initially anticipated." The Magus remarked, moving forward to examine the ice men. "I did make some modifications on the original spell to expand its field of effect but I wasn't certain the freezing would retain its original intensity. I did offset that possibility by increasing the amount of power used within the actual process of freezing but I still expected a few flaws to remain."
Lena shrieked, "Look out!" as one of the armed men jumped towards Sevilen. His foot hit the ground and sank down. Soon he was up to his waist in mud that had suddenly appeared in front of the threatened Magus. Within moments the man had disappeared and the ground had re-firmed.
"I believe that is a new event is it not?" Sevilen asked Lena as he walked back over to the shaking girl. "You said most of the… effects… were storms."
Behind Sevilen, the battle was winding down. Yaspis was dead, head broken when Hira slammed him against the stone wall of the inn. The armed men were either dead, if Nourk or Teslin had gotten to them, or wounded, if Hira had fought against them.
Hira, Nourk and Teslin examined the three solid ice men with amazement as Sevilen continued to question Lena about the sink-hole.
"I suggest we return to my place. I believe we all need to talk." Nourk said.
With complete agreement from the rest, he led the way to his building and up the stairs to his suite of rooms. Once everyone had a drink and was seated, Nourk began. "Teslin and myself are professional assassins. Hira is a mercenary. We know you Sevilen are a Magus, but what is Lena?"
"Lena is what is known as an Elemental Mage. Before Magi came about it was the Elemental Mages who were the primary magic-users. Then they began to die out and Magi began taking over. Because the Magi were so intent on remaining in control, they destroyed much of the Elemental knowledge. Researching other magics is a hobby of mine, so I read everything I could about them. What remained unclear was what triggered the Elemental magic. Until I met Lena I didn't know. Oh and as far as I can tell my hypothesis was right Lena so now I'll tell you. I believe it is your emotions that trigger the release of your power. When the Magi were chasing you, you were afraid. Same for when the bandits attacked. When your father died you were sad. When I was attacked earlier today you seemed afraid. Fear seems to provoke some response tied to the earth. I am sure other emotions are like-wise tied to other elements. With time I'm sure we'll be able to match elements to specific emotions."
Lena stared at Sevilen. "You mean my magic only happens when my emotions are strong."
The Magus smiled. "The data appears to suggest that this is true."
"So she's a strange kind of mage with control over elements. And you're with her because?" Hira asked.
"She's a fascinating research subject. I met her in an inn on my way here."
"Why did you leave Greenbanks?" Nourk wanted to know.
"The Magi had begun chasing me. At the time I didn't know I had magic. I thought the storms just…happened. They were going to make me go to the Academy and become a Magus but I wouldn't do it. I hate the Magi. Except Sevilen. But he's not a normal Magi so he doesn't count."
"So you're the source of the strange weather?"
"I wasn't aware you despised the Magi just feared them. Why?"
Lena paled slightly. "It was because of the Magi my father died. They ordered him to start 'clearing' the streets. They wanted him to kill any beggar, including children. Father refused so they used so many stunning spells on him that he died. I hate them."
The depth of anger and pain he heard in Lena's voice surprised Sevilen. All in all she was generally a quiet person whose emotions were also muted. When talking about the Magi her voice stopped its usual wavering and stuttering and became hard. The Magus was fascinated. This will require further study he thought to himself.
"So if the Magi want her why don't you bring her in, Sevilen?" Hira wanted to know.
The Magus grinned. "Because, as Lena so charmingly put it, I'm an outcast."
Flushing, Lena hid her face. Teslin smirked and Nourk chuckled. "Oh." Hira replied.
"Ladies, gentlemen, I suggest we adjourn for the evening. If Hira doesn't mind, Lena can sleep in her room. Sevilen is welcome to the other spare room. Teslin you live near enough to be able to get home yourself."
"If I stay over can I sleep with you?" The other assassin asked hopefully.
Nourk rolled his eyes. "No. You can sleep with Sevilen."
Teslin pouted and disappeared, surprising the Magus. He hadn't been aware that he could move that fast. Interesting, he thought, as Nourk showed him to his room. His speed might be an interesting course of study after I'm finished with Hira. Humming happily to himself, Sevilen went to sleep.