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TS31: For Now

Jove took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Somehow he could feel how Azarias used this to calm himself and draw strength. He shivered slightly. For some reason, he found himself unable to truly blame the magus for wanting to eliminate a threat. Perhaps Jove did not feel that Azarias had seriously considered killing him. The sense of danger had never gotten past the vague and distant feeling. He opened Aether to the spell tracking app that Tan had purchased.

There was a cluster of written notes from yesterday, all listed as occurring about 11:15. All said “Unknown Spell” and “Undefined Element”. The spells were numbered, but the elements were not. Jove looked at the report. “If it’s one element, why don’t we call it Meta for now, and we can change the name when we find something more appropriate.” The words shifted as the listed elements changed. Jove continued, “We’ll have to name some of what I did. But that will have to wait.”

Jove closed Aether, and looked at the door. Something was approaching rapidly. It didn’t feel dangerous, just full of energy.

A moment later, South burst through the door to the room, covered in active spells. “Jove!” Not finding what he was looking for, South blushed. “Uh, you’re sitting up?”

Jove lowered himself gently onto the floor. His legs felt weak, but supported his body. “I’m alright. Azarias was just here.”

South paced nervously around the room, looking at the corners. He ran one of his hands over the walls, some sort of detection spell. Behind him, Tan and Aden looked in. South mumbled, “Raph seemed off when he said he was headed over here. Did he try anything?”

It took a moment for Jove to figure out what was going on. “South, he went out the window. We talked, nothing more.”

South paused and sighed. Slowly he let each spell fade. “You’re not supposed to be able to stand. Are you sure everything is okay?”

Jove flexed his hands, his body was rapidly forgetting how tired it should be. “Azarias put a few things in perspective.” Jove became aware that this calm reflection was artificial. His magic sustaining his mind as it could sustain his body.

“What did he say?”

“I’m not a revoker.” Jove figured South would know about anything about Raphael Azarias’ past that was important. “I don’t negate magic, I manipulate it directly.” The sensation of calm was starting to fade. Jove sat back down. “I need to figure out what I can do.”

South nodded and put a hand on Jove’s shoulder, “Don’t force yourself. You have plenty of time to recover and learn.” South smiled, “So, you missed the assessment today. We can make that up tomorrow, if you’d like.”

The sustaining force that kept him sitting up faded. “Okay,” Jove mumbled and accepted the urge to collapse. For a moment, he wondered if South had done something, but realized that he would have noticed. “Can normal mages push themselves this far?”

“Farther.” South said. “If you’ll excuse me, I should make sure Raph is okay.”

As South left, Aden, Chris and Tan returned to the room. Aden asked, “What was all that about?”

Chris answered, “Fear.”

“But everything is okay now.” Jove explained, “At least for a few months.”

Rai said, “We’ll be ready next time.” Jove looked up and Tan’s eyes were blue again. Tan stumbled, “I mean, we need to figure out what you are if you’re not a revoker.”

“I have a theory, but that’s all it is right now. I don’t know enough about magic to test it out.” Jove thought for a moment, and flipped through Aether, and pulled out his thaumascan. “It feels right though.” He willed the last line to become visible, to reveal that he was using a fifth element. It did not respond. “If it’s true, I can do a lot more than negate magic. I think, for me, magic is an element.”

Tan looked at Jove in disbelief. “You mean like Merlin?”

“Merlin?” Jove knew about Merlin, but that was a fairytale.

“Archmage Merlin, the fictional wizard able to spin time backwards, one of the last mages to flaunt magic openly in otherworld. Wielder of the unknowable fifth element?” Tan paused and emphasized, “That Merlin?”

Aden mumbled, “I think you know a different version of the story than we do.”

“Everyone knows a different version of the story. Someone counted a few years ago and said there were over three thousand conflicting reports of Merlin, with no less than fifty claiming to be the one true version.” Tan suddenly blushed, “Not that I know all of them.”

Jove smiled. “What extra’s do mages add to the story?”

“Merlin was one of the last mages to be truly open with your world. His partnership with King Arthur was an attempt to find balance between mages and otherworlders. His reasons for doing so and his methods are up for debate. One common thought is he was not a typical mage. I think your world said he aged backwards. That’s from an older legend that he could regain his youth, or more specifically, reset his age. Other common threads are that he can manipulate time and turn aside powerful magics.” He thought for a moment, “I’ll have to see if I can find that version of the story. The way you avoid South’s wards might be similar.”

Aden rolled his eyes. “With three thousand variations, some of them have to look like Jove just by chance.”

Tan blushed, “It will be something to do this weekend. I already finished my homework.”

The rabbit was about to say something, then changed his mind. He sighed. “Jove, what are you doing this weekend?”

“I was going to read Aeon.” He shrugged, “Have you heard of it?”

“It’s like the Lord of the Rings. Everyone’s heard of it.” Tan shook his head in disbelief.

Aden added, “It’s the reason I burst. Seriously, you’re a gamer and you don’t read it?”

Jove looked at his friends, “They said that about that Episode One prequel. Besides, I don’t know how to get internet sites with Aether.”

“There’s a rune I can get for you. It only reads Aeon, but it’s free.” Tan picked up his grimoire, “I’ll message it to you.”

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