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TS54: Unknown Mystery

“How is it possible that Chris can use Meta?” South asked. “Is Jove contagious?”

“No.” Edward produced a page from his notebook that had copies of magic tests. “Take a look at their thaumascans. We originally thought they both lacked a primary element. The problem is the scan can’t detect this fifth element.” He sighed and put the paper away. “I put a request up the chain of command to the Mysterium, but none of them were willing to test Jove directly.”

Jove asked, “Why not?”

Azarias answered. “Because you can identify mages by their magic. The Mysterium likes to be anonymous.” He shrugged and smiled at Jove. “It’s obvious that you are this new element. Since Chris has burst, he must have a primary element. If the scan can’t tell, it’s probably this fifth one.”

Edward’s hands twitched slowly, “They can be so frustrating.”

“I thought the Animus council was in charge.” Jove asked. “Who is the Mysterium?”

“A secretive group of mages. They’re generally considered the most powerful Animus in the world.” Azarias said. “There’s maybe fifty in the world at any given time. It’s believed they have uncovered mysteries about the world profound enough to need to be kept from the general public.”

South offered, “They might already know about this element.” He paused, “Is it possible that any of us can use it?”

Edward gave Azarias a glance. “Probably, but not like Jove. I think that Vortex Shield and similar magics touch this element. I guess it’s a little like using an element you’ve never practiced before.”

South asked, “Then how can Chris do it?”

Edward looked at Azarias and shrugged. Jove could almost see the conversation they were having using air magic. Edward said out loud, “When most children grow up, they’re told about the four elements and encouraged to select on that represents them. They’re taught how to use magic, long before they burst and their magic absorbs it and makes the goals happen.” He flipped open his notepad again. “Chris only knows two spells. He wants his magic to be able to cut and he wants to be safe from other spells. He doesn’t think of them in terms of elements. Am I right?”

Chris nodded. “They’re just concepts. Knife and I am.”

“Which is why your knife can change elements. To you it’s whatever it needs to be.” Edward smiled at Chris. “In order to cut magic, it needed to be meta. I suspect that the way your father treated you, including the hobbling, cause this. Most mages can’t separate their idea of magic from the elements.” Edward thought for a moment. “If the last line of the thaumascan wasn’t a reference to having no element.”

“None can touch you.” Chris quoted out loud. “It refers to Jove.”

“Jove?” South objected. “Jove isn’t nothing.” He paused, “Unless that’s another name for the element. Wait, Jove, your last line was completely blank right?”

Jove fished his thumascan out from Aether. “Yeah. I tried willing it to become visible, but it wasn’t enough.”

The bear smiled. “Read it.”

“But it’s blank.” Jove turned the paper over and looked at the torn stripes again. “Unless, a spell wrote on it. Even if it’s blank.”

Edwards eyes widened a little, “You can read the spell. Yes, that would work.”

Jove looked at Edward and South. He closed his eyes. “This seems silly.” He thought a moment. The fox told himself to focus on the residue of the spell in his hands. Slowly the words started to take focus. His magic could read it. He could read it, he reminded himself. He could read it using magic. “Silly fox, You are beyond our ability to sort. Unknown,” Jove laughed, “That’s a comma, not a period. It says: Unknown, you are the Void.” He smiled, triumphant. “Void. The element of the extraordinary. Also called Aether.” He opened his eyes and looked at Chris. “Or nothing.”

Edward pondered out loud. “This raises some uncomfortable questions. Like how many potential mages with blank lines actually have talent in this element. If it’s called Void, then it’d be a sentence that refers to nothing or none as a proper noun. That’ll be a mess. We’ll have to reread thousands of scans.”

South asked, “What if it’s not that simple? Someone will have to remake the entire test.”

“Hopefully, we can work out a new version with Jove’s help.” Edward noticed Jove’s reaction. “But, even being aware of the gap is ahead of where we were. Jove, you don’t have to worry about this yet. Just be a good student and the rest will follow.”

“Yet hope was lost to time.” Azarias let out a short gasp. “Jove’s father had a blank line.” He pulled out his grimoire. “Elements tend to run in families.”

“Wait,” Edward flipped open his book and read something. “Timothy Astrom’s thaumascan had a single blank line and it quoted Aeon.” He calmed a little, “I suppose if you weren’t looking for it, it is hard to believe. The idea of someone who is forty-three having five lines of color. That just became less common than the number of mages who have Void as a primary element.”

“I really hope you’re wrong.” Azarias jotted a few notes in his book. “Would you mind terribly if I checked on him? I can be there in ten minutes if I go alone. As a direct relative of Jove, he’s protected by my agreement we made. I just need to check something.”

“Go.” Edward insisted.

Azarias bowed goodbye. “I’ll explain later.” He ducked out the window and in a moment was flying away in a sphere of air.

Jove glared at Edward. “What was that about?”

Edward looked at the ground. “Just an idea. We don’t have any real proof.”


The elephant tapped his fingers together nervously. “Someone who hasn’t burst. A strong enough belief in magic to have a full thaumascan. Access to Meta, er Void. The ability to speak to other’s magic directly. Perhaps through written word.” Edward shivered. His magic actually shook for a moment, but was quickly put under control. “There’s a chance that he’s been writing Aeon for the past twenty-five years.”

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