The Dragon’s Orb, Book I, Blood Awakens. Chapter 6.

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Rumours.

It had been two weeks since the incident at the tavern, a week longer than Sebastian’s father said that he would be gone. It was also the day of the test and Sebastian sat in his room worried.

He had escaped the rage of the Minotaurs with the bard who had been singing at the fireplace.
Once outside and relative safe out of the alley, he told him many frightening things.
Tales of kidnapping and murders that he had heard about in the last past months.

He was traveling from Trerrious, on his way to Corin in the south, for an annual celebration. At Trerrious he had heard of the local Mage being taken by a band of hooded thugs. He had gone in search of the witness for more information in the hope of a good story.
A young wizard had said that Orcs had taken his master while he slumbered. The bard had suggested that the lad had an illness on his mind, that Orcs, like Dragons, hadn’t been seen since the fall of Malgaron. The youth had insisted and as proof, he had shown the scrap marks on the door.

At a small village, 2 days ride west of Trerrious, he heard a tale of a family being killed and their young daughter was taken away by hooded figures. In Daracia, the Prince had by all accounts, left the running of the city to his advisor and gone into isolation.
The school of wizards there had been routed and put to the torch, all were assumed dead. The city had declined into a desolate place where diseases are rife, thieves prospered and rape was all too common.

A hollow feeling gnawed at his stomach when he thought of his father. This morning, he and 16 young wizards had assembled in the great hall ready for testing, only to be told by Grantous – the acting Grand Master, – that the test wouldn’t be going head until Sebastian’s father has returned. He had said that the Grand Master’s delay, had been the fault of unusually bad storms raging in the narrow sea.
Something in Grantous eyes had unsettled him. Too many stories of magic users being kidnap, or killed had set a seed of worry within him, and he needed to find out the truth.

A knock at his door interrupted his morbid thoughts. Catlin’s blond hair sparkled as she peered around the door.

“You ok Sebastian?” she asked chewing her bottom lip.
Pushing the door wider she slips through.

“I’m sure the father will be ok, the Baron’s men must battle storms like this all the time. Besides, I bet your father has a few spells that will help them out, so you’ll see in no time at all.” Sebastian hung his head in his hands and groaned.

“Something’s wrong Cat, I know it. Bad things have been happening all over Kaikaria, some things about this don’t feel right.”

Cat dropped onto the bed next to him and put a comforting arm over his shoulder.

“There’s nothing we can do Seb. It’s not like we can talk to him. How about we go into town, I found an old book shop that has a few magical books that we could look at?”

Catlin raised her eye brows suggestively. Sebastian sat bolt up right, grabbed Catlin’s by the face and kissed her.

“That’s it!” He jumped up and reached for his desk draw.

“Wow if I’d have known that’s what it would have taken, I would have brought you a library by now.” She said looking shockingly amused.

“Don’t you see?” he waggled an old brass key on a thick leather strap at Catlin.

“We can’t talk to him but we can scry him.” He waited for Catlin to catch up.

“But we haven’t been taught that spell, and scrying is extremely dangerous. Who knows how much energy it will take to see all the way to the narrow sea?” She said lifting herself off the bed to face him.

“My father said it’s a two-day journey by boat. Grant said he was stuck in the narrow sea, so, he must only be about a day away. I’ve got enough energy to scy that far surely.” He falters.

“I don’t like it Seb. What if something goes wrong? I don’t want to be the one explaining to your father what happens to you.” Catlin looked him in the eyes pleading. Sebastian shook it off and headed for the door.

“It will be fine, you coming?”

The door was already opened, Catlin followed quickly after.

“Where are we going?” she shouted at Sebastian back as he darted along the narrow corridors.

“To my father’s chambers. His books will have the spell we need”. Sebastian led Catlin through the castle to his father’s room. Two big oak doors with irons straps barred the way.

“Does your father sleep in his study?” Catlin looked at him stupidly

“You’ll see.”

Taking the brass key from his pocket, he turned it in the lock and opened the door. The room looked more like a library than any study Catlin had seen. A concave room with a magnificent four-legged oak desk stood atop a marble dais. The legs were carved to look like the talons of an eagle. The deep green leather desk was clear of objects. The walls, however, housed thousands of books. Catlin’s jaw dropped at the task in hand.

“It’s going to take us weeks to find the right book in here.” She let out a deep sigh.

Sebastian walked behind the desk and pulled a book.

“Lucky for you, I know where to look”.

A secret door opened in the bookcase behind him, and he pushed at it to reveal a second, cozier room beyond. He disappeared for a few minutes, then reappeared with a blue bound book with silver writing on the cover. He dropped it on the desk with a loud slap and started to flick through the pages.

“Here we are.” he stabbed at the page with a finger. Catlin came round to stand at his side and started to read.

“We’re going to need a bowl of water and something belonging to the person being scryed.” He opened a few of the desk drawer until he found an old smoking pipe.

“This should do the trick.” Putting the pipe next to the book he disappeared into the back room. Moments later he came out carrying a silver bowl full to the brim with water. Treading careful but still spilling water, he placed the bowl on the huge desk.

“What next?” he asked as Catlin traced a finger down the spell.
“Ok, submerge the item in the water and speak theses words.”
She slid the book to Sebastian, a worried look crossed her face.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Her palms had become very clammy.
“I’ve got to know Cat, besides I’ve got you to look after me if anything goes wrong.”
He tried smiling reassuringly at her which didn’t reassure her one bit.
Calming his mind he opened up his consciousness to his magic, he recited the spell.

The water instantly turned black. A small orange glow diffused at the corner of the bowl.
Steadily the image focused and a torch came in to view. A thin ragged man hung from the wall in chains. The captives hands and feet were bound in maniacal, dried caked blood was visible from underneath. The dirty torn slacks and no shirt showed blue and purple welts covering his body. Multiple cuts ran along his arms and over his head was a black hood.
Sebastian’s mind reeled and the image faded. He fought for control, pain streaked through his head as blackness clawed at the sides of his vision,
He hit the desk and toppled the water bowl, falling to the floor.
Catlin worried face was the last image he saw as the darkness took over him.

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