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TS30: Possible Interpretation

The rainbow winged snake sighed, “Jove, you’re in a lot of trouble.” His wings pulled around his shoulders and he coiled his lower body around one of the chairs in the room.

Jove picked up Aether and opened it to his message log. An outgoing message sent to Magus Azarias read “I need to check my grimoire, can you bring it to me?”

Azarias continued, “Let’s start with the most pressing. You are definitely what revoker legends are based on. If Christian hadn’t been there, South would have tried to restrain you with magic. I don’t think you would have killed him, but it would have led to a much messier situation.” Azarias paused for a moment, and let what might have happened sink in. “The good news is you are definitely not a revoker. A revoker would not have been fooled by simply not using magic. Your ability is triggered by magic, not by mages.”

That nuance was not something that had occurred to Jove. He swallowed, his understanding of the situation rearranging itself and reinterpreting his memories of the incident. He frowned, “So, what’s the bad news?”

“The Vorax was not trying to kill you.”

“How is that even possible?” Jove sat up and immediately regretted it. He refused to let his body collapse though. “I sensed he was danger. I knew he was trying to kill me.”

“Do you know how hard it is to keep someone dead while they’re in this school?” Azarias slowly let his wings unfurl. “If anyone is severely injured it alerts Magus Walton, a few other healers and myself. In general, we can get anywhere at the school within five minutes. If anyone actually dies, there are necromantic wards that will hold a soul here for up to an hour. That’s more than enough time for us to make a more long-term container for it and start rebuilding the body.”

Jove was completely speechless.

“Possession is a very difficult spell. Keeping someone possessed for a week means your body is in a coma for the same amount of time. Plus, even the most uninitiated could muster enough willpower to break the spell after a week. Unless, of course, the possessor was on par with an Animus.” Azarias shook his head. “But, if an Animus wanted to actually kill you, they’d use a spell that was capable of destroying or consuming your soul.”

He took another slow breath, and flexed his wings. “There’s another thing. During the incident, I got an alert that someone on campus had broken their neck. However, your shriek took down the divination spell so we couldn’t find him. I believe when you broke the possession, you also snapped the Vorax’s neck.”

“I killed him?”

“Doubtful. If he had someone taking care of his body, it would be a trivial matter to heal such damage.” Azarias sighed. “At the moment, they’re not going to risk using magic on you again. Not when you can strike at them through their spells. When they’re ready to make their move, the Vorax will attempt to kill you using non-magic means, then consume your soul before backup arrives.”

The silence that followed felt thick with tension. Jove was both shocked and somewhat amazed at Azarias’ honesty. There was something else, Azarias was shaking slightly, and Jove felt a muted twinge of danger. Jove asked the only question he could think of, “What are you going to do now?”

Azarias shivered, and pulled his wings inward. He shrunk slightly, his wings retreating into his shoulders, and his long tail separating into two legs. “I’m sorry Jove.” His voice had lost its sense of power. “You need to know a few things about me.”

“Is this why Chris didn’t want to leave?”

“Yes.” Azaris sighed and cupped his face in his hands. He looked at the fox, “I suppose I could try to keep this quiet, but it is my experience that trying to avoid a bad vision just makes it happen faster. Jove, my father was a Vorax. My family line is about three thousand years old. I have no children. My family line ends with me. One interpretation of the prophecy is that you’re going to kill me.”

Jove asked, “Do you really think I’m capable of that?”

The snake shook his head. “The idea of what you are scares me, and I haven’t been afraid in a long time. If anyone can punish me for my past, it is someone like you.” He was crying, “I wasn’t sure until just now, but I’m willing to face the consequences.”

“Are you a Vorax?” Jove asked, “Is that why Chris was worried about you?”

The strength returned to Azarias’ voice. “I am not currently a Vorax, nor will I be at any time in the future.” He clenched his hands into fists, then forced them to open. “Chris knows that I was childhood friends with Hevel Dagaan, a Vorax who was killed last year. Dion knew Hevel, and Chris knows Evan Dagaan, Hevel’s son. Chris also knows that I am one of the few mages at the school who might be able to kill you, and this is the best opportunity I will have.”

Jove nodded. The feeling of danger was gone, but that didn’t make the situation feel any safer.

“You’re safe for now. The Vorax will wait until the end of Summer, or perhaps early in the Fall semester.”


“Right now, your magic is untrained. You’re able to outburst, an emotional panic that resembles a second burst. They’re unpredictable, unreliable, and as likely to hurt those around you as your intended target.” Azarias shifted uncomfortably, his unease in his non-mythic form showing. “As you learn to use your magic, you’ll be better able to use it intentionally, but you’ll lose the ability to outburst. Because of this, there’s a small window where you’re most vulnerable. Where you’ve learned enough to impede your ability to outburst, but not enough to properly defend yourself. That’s when they’ll strike.”

Jove debated trying to stand, but decided against it. “Have you decided to help me?”

“Yes,” Azarias took a slow pensive breath. For a moment, Jove could see the meditation technique Azarias was using to calm himself. “That will be difficult. For starters, hacking the grimoire system is against several of the Animus Council’s decrees.”

“But, I didn’t send the message.” Jove thought back for a moment. “I wanted to send it. I don’t know how Aether can tell. It’s not something I did on purpose.”

“I know. I’m not sure if it happened by instinct or if it was the initial bond. Maybe something in your magic caused it from the moment you bonded to Aether.”

“Aether said I used metamagic to interact directly with his interface.”

Azarias blinked, and winced again at the unfamiliar feeling. “That makes some sense. But other mages can only affect spells directly through long rituals. If you’re able to manipulate spells like they were an element…” He trailed off, unable to voice the consequences of such a truth. “I think there’s a legend about a mage that could do that. Here I thought you were turning magic off, but if you were suppressing it, like a fire mage would suppress fire, that would be a valid explanation.”

“Is that possible?”

“I have no idea.” Azarias shrugged, “It’s about as far fetched as you being a revoker or a null. For now, I’m going to see if I can’t dig up any facts on that legend. You should try to keep what you can do with Aether a secret. The Council gets very worried when it finds things it doesn’t understand.”

“Do they know about your past?”

Azarias looked at the ground. “They know enough. If it’s okay, I’m not in the right frame of mind to share my personal failures. I’ll tell you if the mistakes of forty years ago might actually matter.” With a grunt, he stood up and walked over to the window. “Apologize to your friends for me. I’m not going to stay.” Azarias grew his wings and his rainbow serpent mythic form reappeared.

Jove had one more question. “When did you decide you couldn’t kill me?”

Azarias smiled slightly. “You misunderstand. When I realized I was able to kill you, I also realized I wasn’t willing to do so.” With that, he ducked out the window, spread his wings and flew off.

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