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Chapter 5: Incomplete

The wind howled outside my bedroom window, rattling the wooden shutters and whistling through the cracks between the boards. On nights like this, I found it difficult to sleep and tonight was no different. I opened my eyes to stare into the dim orange glow coming from the banked coals in my bedchamber’s small hearth. My room was warm and, unlike other rooms in Balthazar’s home, it was dry. The roof over my room didn’t leak and my guess was that he’d placed some working if light magic on the room to keep me comfortable. I smiled at the thought; he did treat me more like a daughter than an apprentice.

I rolled over onto my back and stared up at the shadows that danced among the honeycomb of wooden rafters. It was then that I noticed that Uriel was missing from the nest he’d made for himself at the foot of my bed. Panic filled me and I sat up and scanned the dim room looking for him.

“Fear not Companion, I hunt in your Master’s barn,” he whispered against my mind. “Why do you not sleep?”

“I hate storms,” I replied as I nestled back into my bed and pulled up the fur blanket.

“Storms are glorious things Companion,” Uriel purred against my mind. “To take wing and fly amid the fury of lightning and thunder is to truly know the meaning of being a Lord of the Sky.”

Along with his words, images and emotion filled my mind; a darkened rain drenched sky illuminated only by the intermittent white hot streaks of lightening and Uriel’s joy as he wove nimbly in and out among the crackling bolts. He was a true Lord of the Sky, the master of a realm unattainable by earth bound mortals. His shared memories brought a fleeting smile to my lips as I closed my eyes.

My happiness faded into remorse as I thought of the once powerful lavender and silver dragon now reduced to a small brown tabby cat. Incomplete; the troublesome word tumbled painfully through my thoughts. The working was disrupted before it could be completed … I was the cause of the Dragons current misfortune.

“Not true, Companion.” Uriel insisted in an encouraging tone.

“I disrupted the working,” I replied staunchly, “Balthazar said that to interrupt the Seven could be … cataclysmic.”

“Yes, but the disruption, as you call it, occurred long before you knocked your Master to the ground.”

“How so,” my eyes opened again to stare into the rafters.

“Do you recall my apprehension as the magical mist engulfed us?”

“Of course, it pained me to feel your fear.” I remembered that moment keenly, and it still hurt … was I his Companion even then?

“You have been my Companion since the day of your birth,” Uriel replied. “I felt the cold sting of air in your lungs as you took your first breath. In that moment I chose you … I claimed you as my Dragon Companion. I knew that someday, Unanimity willing, I would find you.”

Stunned didn’t begin to adequately describe my frame of mind. As much as I tried, I couldn’t get my thoughts to congeal into anything remotely discernible. His companion from the moment of my birth; the phrase kept coursing through me like the tolling of a bell.

“Zander the Shadow Mage and the one who threatened you … Kyros … they conspired to disrupt the working.” Uriel’s voice thrummed against my writhing mind, returning our conversation to its previous course. “I could feel the wrongness in the magic they wove into the working. It was quite subtle and I don’t believe the other Magi were aware of it.”

“To what purpose?” While I didn’t full trust the individual motives of Master Kyros or Master Zander, their loyalties collectively belonged to the Seven Masters.

“I cannot say for certain, but those who practice shadow magic have long been associated with the darker circles of magic … where Dragon parts are used to gain amplified power.”

That would account for Master Zander’s betrayal, but not Master Kyros.

“Power is its own justification Companion,” Uriel answered my unvoiced observation. “This Kyros possess an unmanageable temper that rivals his magical abilities … I would suspect a thirst for power flows as an undercurrent to his strivings.”

“Those are very disturbing accusation Uriel,” Master Balthazar’s mind voice intoned grimly. I hadn’t realized the elder Magi was listening to us … I assumed that he was asleep.

“How can an old man sleep with the two of you chattering away like a pair of laying hens?” There was amusement in his mind voice as he spoke. “Besides, your conversation has proven most enlightening. It would seem that disunion has come to infect the Seven Masters. I had come to think of our circle as sacrosanct, to learn the ugly truth is unsettling to say the least.”

“I am sorry Master Mage,” Uriel apologized sincerely.

“Indeed, young Sky Lord … that makes two of us,” Balthazar replied sadly. “Now if you don’t mind terribly, an old man like me needs plenty of rest … and I would suggest the same for you two as well. Goodnight.”

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