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TS07: Null Legends

South sighed, “Raphael is performing a small divination on your father. It’s rude, but we wanted to be absolutely sure you were safe.” He looked shy for a moment, and forced himself to speak clearly. “Your dad had four lines of color on his thaumascan. He’s in his mid forties, and none of us have seen that much potential in someone that old. He slipped through our divinations, and grew up without knowing magic. Yet, he kept almost all of his potential and that opens some questions.”

Jove asked, “What could it mean?”

“We have two theories. I’m going to explain the bad one first. I don’t think of it as a possibility, but we needed to be completely sure.” He looked down, then back to Jove. “It’s possible that your father is actually a mage and is intentionally hiding that part of himself from us.”

“Why would he do that?”

South blushed, “Uh, vorax mages have been known to raise children purely for the purposes of sacrifice. Your father shows no sign that’s what’s going on, but we just wanted to be completely sure.” He cleared he throat, “There’s a much better chance your father was missed by our divinations when he was your age. We know our detection methods aren’t perfect, but it’s always painful to meet someone who could have had real opportunity here. If he still has magic potential as his thaumascan said, his only option to learn magic would be here.”

Jove looked at his grimoire. “Would he be able to get an assistantship, like me?”

“I don’t know.” South said, “You might be able to pay for it. The mage who tried to kill you, he was captured because you sealed his magic.”

“There was a reward?”

“A sizable one.” South paused, then spoke clearly. “His name was Dion Dimitri. He was an animus, and a fairly powerful noble. There were suspicions he was a vorax, but no proof. A number of families cobbled together a reward for proof he was a monster. Plus, the swords he tried to use against you were used in a number of murders. There was a separate bounty from the Council for bringing that killer to justice. Dion was dangerous. Fighting an animus with full control of his magic would be like trying to sucker punch a professional boxer. Even without his magic it took three magi to capture Dion.”

Jove was confused. “But, he fled when Azarias showed up.”

“Raphael Azarias could have been an animus. His defensive magics are unmatched, and he could probably knock me from one side of the school to the other. But, that’s a matter for another time.” South put a hand on Jove’s shoulder, “The Council had a question about what really happened. The reward won’t be given to you until it’s shown that you weren’t working with the vorax. Some kind of way for you to look good to the school by capturing one of the most wanted mages in Atlantis.”

“Can’t you just do some kind of divination and make sure?”

South sighed, “Yes, but you are a special case. We barely found you before you awakened. The Council is worried you might be able to alter the response.”

Suddenly the delay made sense. “Which is the other reason you’re keeping me away from my father’s meeting.”

South nodded slowly. “I’m sorry. This will all be over shortly and we can get back to discussing your education. This is excessive.”

“Why are people so worried about me?”

“Your culture has legends of monsters. Vampires who drink the blood of the living. Atavists who have primal forms and powers. Mages.” He took a breath, “We have our own legends, called revokers. The son of someone who could have been a mage but was never allowed to learn who becomes the embodiment of that hatred and frustration. They can negate and seal a mage’s magic, and cannot be detected by any magic. Dion tried to cannibalize you because he wants to gain the power of a revoker. He was prepared for you to seal his magic.” South looked at Jove, “You’d think knowing about magic would make the Council less superstitious.”

Jove sat there thinking. “They think I’m a monster.” He took a breath, and fought back the sense of dread. “Do they know it comes out when I’m feeling despair?”

South shook his head, “We haven’t told them anything. Even if your abilities are that of a revoker, you’re a person first. You’re a young adult who’s finding out about himself. That’s what I see. That’s what Raphael sees. In the legends, revokers are born of abuse and neglect. We’re not going to make that mistake.”

Something in that struck a cord in Jove’s mind. “I still can’t think of my dad as having magic potential. All he does is work, and sometimes he unwinds with a video game on the computer.”

“I have no idea, but if anyone can figure things out, it’s Raphael.” The bear settled onto the bench. “Then you’ll have to worry about normal things, like if you’re going to take summer classes or not. Elements of Magic Theory is a prerequisite for most of the other magic classes. It’s something someone from Atlantis would have gotten in high school. By taking it over the summer, it’ll give you a few months to get used to the school and the magic realm, and you’ll be able to take the introductory magic classes in the fall. Plus, we have a section specifically for students who aren’t from Atlantis over the summer. That way it won’t feel like you’re in a remedial class.”

Jove nodded, “I don’t think my parents want to hear that I’m moving out in two months.”

“No parent does.” There was a chime and South pulled out his grimoire. He opened it up and tapped it. “Looks like your dad’s safe. Apparently he’s what we call a detection null. He only negates detection magic. That explains why we couldn’t find him, and likely made you harder to find. Also, he’s not ready to hear that he has magic potential, so we should keep that quiet for now.”

“I don’t understand, why would telling him be a bad thing?”

“Your father, to a small extent, is a null,” South said, voice even. “Now, he’s not someone who hates magic. He’s likely just frustrated that he wasn’t able to use magic earlier in his life. Most nulls negate magic by hating magic. Well, most nulls hate themselves for not being able to use magic, and that hate is so strong that they have to hate magic so they don’t hurt themselves.”

He continued, “The first magic a mage consciously uses is called a burst or bursting. We call it a burst because it’s the moment they can no longer deny or contain their magic, and it erupts outward. Your burst was likely sealing Dion’s magic. Normally, a burst is very powerful because it’s driven by instinct and as such is a little closer to the true way to use magic.”

Jove started to interrupt, but South cut him off. “About half the time when a null experiences a burst, even in controlled conditions, it’s an act of violence against themselves. They stop hating magic, so they have to hate themselves. Luckily, your dad’s situation is a lot better than that. He’s not a full null.”

“Only a detection null.” Jove shook his head, “What’s the difference?”

“With a detection null, they don’t hate magic. They’re usually frustrated that magic hasn’t found them yet, and form an explanation about how magic couldn’t find them. Their own magic talent is then turned towards hiding them from magic, making the explanation they’ve built real.” South took a breath, and closed his eyes. “When you found out you could do magic, you were upset and annoyed because you’d wanted to touch magic for ten or so years, correct?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Your father’s been waiting for more than thirty years. The belief that magic existed but missed him has become part of his identity. Even though we found you, we didn’t realize he had potential until he did the thaumascan. No threat to his belief.” South smiled, “Raphael knows what he’s doing. We’ll let your father be, and after the shock of you going to school wears off, he’s going to experiment on his own. Regardless of how that goes, once he accepts it’s possible for him to learn, then we can tell him.” South laughed, “Plus, it’ll give us time to figure out how he’s going to pay his tuition.”

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