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TS12: More Questions

Magus Azarias sat in his office, and absently worked on his grimoire. In his mythic form, Azarias reclined in an oak daybed behind his granite topped desk. A large carpet dyed with a brilliantly colored feathered serpent warmed the floor, with several comfortable sitting chairs that faced the front of his desk on top. The walls held a few torches that gave a vague impression of an anchient temple in the shadowy light they gave off. This impression was ruined by the high quality, multi-spectrum sun lamp that floated behind him, that acted as a reading lamp and heat source.

A knock at the door let him know that Jove had found the room. “Come in,” Azarias called.

Slowly, the large wooden door opened and the young fox entered. “Hello Mister, Magus Azarias.”

The large feathered serpent sighed, and put down his grimoire. He slid off of his daybed and in front of his desk to greet his visitor. “Please, don’t tell me they got you started on that. Azarias, or even Raphael. Magus sounds like calling me Doctor.”

Jove shook Azarias’ hand. “But most doctors insist on that.”

“Yes, well, that’s out of misguided arrogance. They want the respect and fear the title represents.” The serpent chuckled, “Insisting that your name has that same amount of respect and fear without the title, now that’s real arrogance.”

“Is that because you could have been an Animus?”

“I’ve done a lot more work beyond being a Magus. But, no, I was never offered the title of Animus.” He offered Jove a seat, and rested in one of the other chairs, instead of going behind the desk again. “Now, tell me about your first day.”

“Chris didn’t try to kill me. Apparently he’s decided to be some kind of protector.” Jove spoke slowly, choosing his words, “I get along with Tan well. I wasn’t expecting another gamer here.”

Azarias laughed, “We have science fiction and fantasy here as well. Just because we know one way magic works doesn’t mean we don’t wonder what would happen if it worked another way.” He tasted the air with his tongue. “You don’t read Aeon, do you?”

Jove shook his head, “What’s that?”

“An online novel. It’s the reason you can get websites on your grimoire.” Azarias’ eyes glinted in the light, “It’s the highest rated serial in Atlantis. Ask your roommates about it.”

“Right,” Jove said, “No one reads anymore.”

“Actually, everyone here reads.” Azarias corrected, “No one here watches television.”


The snake laughed, swaying slightly. “Think about it, magic is based on knowledge. If reading the right book allowed you to throw fireballs or fly or move mountains, wouldn’t you read everything you could get your hands on?”

Jove nodded. “Is that why Tan has a telereader?”

“That’s right.” Azarias let his tail coil slowly around the base of his chair. “You’ll get used to it. And if you feel homesick, it is possible to hook up a television. Just let me or South know.” He shifted a little, and cleared his throat. “Any signs of Vorax?”

Jove swallowed, nervous. “I don’t want to get him in trouble, but a bear named Julius tried to beat me up. He knew my name and what happened.” Jove looked at the floor. “South said none of that made the news.”

Azarias nodded. “Okay, but I would like to try to track that rumor. If we can find out who told him, maybe we’ll know why the Vorax wanted you here.” He inhaled sharply and his grimoire jumped into his hand. “I found a little more about why they’re after you. It took a bit but I think I found the prophecy they’re following.”

“How did you find it?”

“I had to divine it myself.” the snake took a breath, “A divination listens to the way fate and life will move, and attempts to put it into words. While the prophecy in its pure form is infallible, no diviner is skilled enough to express it purely. In order to see their prophecy, I had to look at fate through a Vorax’s eyes.” He paused and shivered, “It wasn’t pleasant.”

Jove tried not to let his nervousness show. He forced his hands not to shake, and made an effort not to fidget. “So, it’s not literally the same prophecy, but it’s based on the same part of fate?”

“Yes.” Azarias looked in his book. “My version was: A primal force that overrides magic shall rediscover Nothing and cut short three thousand years of Vorax blood magic.” He paused, “Nothing is capitalized, and likely has something to do with you being a null.”

Jove said, “Well, I might be a revoker.”

“Yeah, but I suspect you are, or at least you tap into, something older.” Azarias showed no sign of fear at the idea. “I believe we will find that you are what those legends were based on.”

Jove nodded. Curious, he asked, “Is it hard for a normal mage to stop magic?”

“Very,” Azarias explained, “Often, you have to counter the effect, instead of stopping the spell directly. There are methods that use opposite elements to counter the energy of the spell directly. However, it’s not something anyone but an Animus could do quickly.”

“And the Vorax,” Jove asked, “if they eat me they can gain the power to stop magic?”

Azarias said, “That’s one rumor. If it’s okay, I’d rather wait to explain how we think their magic works until after you take 096. For now, just know that they follow the same four elements as we do, they are almost always Venator, and yes, some of their rituals involve devouring other mages in violation of the Oath of Habitat. We know what the rituals from a thousand years ago did, but almost nothing of their modern techniques.”

Jove nodded and sighed. “I’ll wait, but expect a lot of questions when class begins.”

“Of course.” The snake snickered, “You remind me of how I was. If I withheld information, you’d find it, and probably get yourself in a lot of trouble in the process.”

Jove smiled at that. “Speaking of withholding information, what about my father’s visit?”

“He’s handling the news very well, but in terms of his own bursting, that’s a bad thing.” Azarias swayed a little as he explained, “In order for a burst to occur, the mage has to need his magic. Almost half of late bursts occur when the mage quits or gets fired from their job. Typically those are safest, as they are less likely to hurt the mage in question, and any collateral damage can be fixed. On the plus side, he’s coping well enough that he might try to experiment while he’s here. He knows magic exists, he could try a spell and have it work.”

“Almost half?” Jove was confused. “Is this sort of thing common?”

“We,” Azarias paused and emphasized, “I typically see one or two late bursters a year. Part of my job is to make sure they burst safely.”

“For the whole world?”

“Your world.” Azarias said, “Atlantis doesn’t really have late bursters. Our school is one of the few interested in your world, and the only one that has the resources to find them. I’ve seen almost every late burster in the past thirty years. Actually, they became more common because of Aeon. Reading it might help you understand what your father is going through.”

Jove said, “I will. So, how do we help my father burst safely?”

Azarias explained, “I’ve had a few ideas. I think the best thing is to be honest with what you’ve seen here. Let his own natural curiosity take hold, and see where it goes. If he’s going to go the route of experimenting, a little knowledge will help him, and if he’s going to explode at work or a stressful situation, then giving him something concrete to think about will help him take that extra step. The big thing is not to force it. He’s working through his issues, but he’s not ready yet.”

Jove nodded. “What happens if he bursts?”

“You should stay clear of the initial burst. They tend to be stronger than other magic.” Azarias said, “For example, it’ll likely take years of training before you will be able to seal magic like you did that first time. In time, I’m sure you’ll develop other uses for your magic.”

“That reminds me. I asked my grimoire if it was sentient, and got an odd response.” Jove pulled out his book and opened to the page of the question. He showed it to Azarias. “Is it possible that the way I use magic might cause this?”

Azarias read over the page. “The grimoires have safeguards against accidentally becoming sentient. It’s possible that your abilities could disable the safeguards. Although, if your grimoire becomes sentient, it would imply there’s more to your magic then just being a null. This is one aspect of your magic that you’re best able to explore.” He offered Aether back to Jove.

Jove took his grimoire. “I’ll have to ask it more questions then.”

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