The Hero's Apprentice

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Ch. 4 Master Student

Rye spent most of the night meditating to help speed up his recovery. Cro had made it clear to Rye that he was to subdue the man turned boy should his magic try to liberate itself and express itself. So much power vented up was sure to want to be used or at least cause some commotion for its master. Rye was still sore about being irresponsible with his magic. And so his punishment was appropriate, he had to make sure someone else didn’t perform his mistake. And what made it worse was the fact that this soon to be novice wizard could cause a lot of problems if he didn’t learn to control his magic. In his world he claimed that it was not in use. So there were others like this Walter, bursting at the seams with powers that had limited forms of expression. If Rye got a chance to send this Walter home, he would certainly reference the world in his archives, maybe visit it from time to time, that way he would harness the magic, the power supply would be limitless. More than all the forests of Ando, and maybe magical creatures that sweated magic like ten dragons. There were possibilities entering Ryes’ mind, he was sure Cro was thinking even further than he was. But chances were they would just send him home. And with him gone, Cro and Rye would then be driven to learn traveling spells, and spells to combat the problems they would face in a world where magic slept for years, and then fell like rain after all the individual droplets had finally collected for a downpour.

These thoughts were slowing the meditation, but Rye found it ironic that his mistake was opening up a whole new amount of power to seek out and exploit. Rye soon got a rhythm and his meditation began to collect energy properly to replace the void made by his summoning. As he did this he began to pick up Walters’ aura as he had before. So much joy, excitement, anticipation, Walters’ emotions were overwhelming Rye, he couldn’t meditate while this was going on, even at the subconscious level. Walter was enjoying his situation. He was not scared, nervous, or even shocked by the ordeal. It was like he had wanted this, and wanted wasn’t even the word for it. He was content, that was the word. He would be satisfied quickly. Well that was good, wouldn’t want an ambitious wizard to compete with Rye for the title of castle wizard some day. Rye would teach him some spell that would satisfy his curiosity long enough that he could get him back to Yuessay as Walter called it. Maybe how to create a breeze, or make it rain. Well those were moderately hard, but he would probably learn them anyway, and hopefully they would exhaust Walter enough if he used them enough times. And Rye could figure out where the magic started to need storing rather than usage.

Since meditation wasn’t possible with this new distraction Rye probed into Walters’ mind. Hopefully Cro was too far away to sense Rye doing this, but he had technically been asked to do research. The runes Walter had written were on the table, but Rye figured he would let Cro have a head start so he didn’t feel stupid if Rye figured them out first. What Rye found in Walters’ mind shocked him. A world of flying machines, metallic wonders that moved, and so much noise. The forests of Walters’ world were being harnessed, so this was what was possible if you stripped a forest and used it to create massive fires and forges. Machines that could carry people great distances. There were even ones going around the earth, and Rye sensed a few on the moon as well, and some others further out. A world that was expanding to the stars, Walter had been lying about there not being magic. It was a kind that his kind had simply mastered more than the people of Ando. Rye was about to stop since he felt it was enough until he detected another metallic wonder. So much power Rye was tempted to hold back, but he probed deeper into Walters’ thoughts. Power enough to destroy a world several times over. What was it? It was then that Rye realized that Walter was becoming hesitant to be probed. Was he sensing Rye? No! He was waking, so naturally he would be more alert. Rye broke off the connection. At the same time he realized that the level of positive energy in his house was rising. Walter would want training. He was ecstatic. His magic knew what he didn’t. This world had what he wanted, a means of expression more conductive and enjoyable. Rye was on duty now. He must not let his treasure trove find a conduit, or he might permanently alter the weather, or even the landscape. Rye expected Walter would want breakfast, but then found himself watching his student begin some awkward body movements.

Walter looked up from the ground and retrieved the souvenir from master Cro. He explained to Rye he was training his body and would eat after an hour run around the house. Rye didn’t see the harm in this, and since there was nothing magical involved he consented. Walter removed his two shirts. Maybe it was cold where Walter lived? And began a relaxing jog. He took in the sights, making sure to go strait so it would take him strait back to his rendezvous point. Rye was relieved that Walter had said an hour. It would make his job easier. From his house Rye could still sense Walter, and began studying the runes of Walters strange and powerful land. Maybe he would probe again tonight? It would all depend on what happened today. Cro would most certainly check up on them. And then it dawned on Rye that Walter would come back soaked in sweat and stinking. He would need a change of clothes, proper clothes, and he couldn’t sleep at the table forever.

Fortunately Rye had placed his house near a brook a little ways into the forest. It took a few minutes, but Rye successfully created a dammed off area where his new pupil could wash himself when he got back. Now for clothes. Rye never wore his academy uniform, might as well make it useful. It was violet, hopefully it wouldn’t dull Walters’ spirit. It was the lowest color on the rainbow, hence the wizards wore the color corresponding to their level of mastery at the academy. Seven colors, Rye himself had only three left to advance. Cro of course was almost at the top, having mastered five of the seven levels of training. It had been decades since someone obtained the orange garb, and red was unthinkable because it suggested the power to control all. Rye finally got around to the breakfast problem by taking up a fishing pole in one hand, and the page of runes in the other. Rye quickly caught one fish, but had to wait a good long while for a second. Rye contemplated how eager one fish was, while another was so hesitant. Walter was eager, but in the fishes’ case, that hadn’t been a good thing. At the same time, the hesitant fish had still ended up getting caught when the urge became high. Two strategies that yielded the same result. It was a good lesson Rye decided. Walter had a path to his goals, and so did Rye. And with luck, they would both get what they wanted. At least as far as magic was involved.

The lesson had distracted Rye who realized he had only looked at three of the thirty-six runes from Walters’ world. Rye looked them over slowly. Some of them were the same, just turned on their sides or slightly modified. This was a messy codex. Obviously it had borrowed these runes from several pools. But that also meant it was potent with power from several sources. If Rye was gonna decipher it, he’d need Cro, and maybe even Walters’ help. But who knew how Walter used these runes. It was a relief that some of them were the same as the ones in Ando. O, a protection rune. 8 the time rune. And 7, the rune that completed a spell. Rye had not had enough time to put this one on his summoning. But others baffled Rye. E and 3, these had some interesting powers. Cro probably knew what they were, but that would only strengthen his hold on being the head wizard. The last runes Rye eyed were J and L. Obviously brother runes that were very powerful separately, and insanely powerful together. Rye was tempted to draw them, but not yet. It would be wise to have Cro test them with him. Start with one rune, see what happened, and then maybe two. Cro would never permit seven runes or more. Rye was restricted to five, and look what that had yielded. A new treasure trove of runes and a guy who had enough magic in an eye blink to make a tree reach maturity while lengthening out his own lifespan. The scary part was what if Walter learned the runes. Andoish was a language laced with magic words. Well Rye decided he would teach Walter simple words, ones with no real magic to them. Food, Clothes, nothing with multiple or infinite meanings. Those words would only get his sleeping magic to wake up that much faster. Rye would’ve been overwhelmed by another thought of all that was happening had Walter not entered the room. The first hour had been refreshing for Walter. Rye realized how tiring it was watching over this new student.

Walters’ smile only got stronger as the day unfolded. A few times Rye was tempted to bind Walters’ emotions so they wouldn’t leak out so much. But then the entire dam would burst, so Rye settled for suggestion charms that kept Walter distracted so his enjoyment would never reach threshold. Walter asked about the purple robe and Rye insisted that it was his to keep. It was only when Walter modified the robe by cutting off the sleeves that Rye got a little frustrated. But then of course he had relinquished ownership and could do no more. Walter washed not only himself, but his clothes in the stream. Obviously they were very comfortable or had sentimental value to Walter. By the time Walters’ clothes had dried, Rye had gotten an ample amount of study time into the runes. He decided he would study them in the order they were written in. He was just too lazy to sort them. But then Walter pointed out the runes A, E, I, O, U, and Y and said those were together. Thanks Walter. You just cut the amount of time it would take to decipher in half. Things were going quite well, Rye would now certainly figure out the runes before Cro with Walters’ wonderful little hint.

At the same time, Walter returned to the table Rye was working at and began studying the Ando language. Writing it none the less. Rye was getting nervous, especially if Walter wrote a magical word down. Walter said he would learn ten words a day, twenty if he could. Rye made it clear he would decide if a word was permissible. So Walter made a list of ten words quickly and through the orb Cro had given him asked their pronunciation and spelling in Andoish. Rye was content with the words selected except one, princess. Why would Walter pick this one on his first day and especially as the tenth word? Every wizard knew the first and last words were always the most important. Rye marked the word in his mind because he didn’t want any other words popping up that were connected to it. Walter was butchering the words as he tried to pronounce them out loud, and Rye found himself correcting him. He soon regretted this because Walter was learning fast. Already Rye could feel Walters’ hidden reserves of energy latching themselves onto the words he was speaking. Who would’ve thought “food,” could have a magical power attached to it. It got worse when Rye tried the fish he had prepared for their late breakfast. How Walter had enchanted the fish was a mystery to him, but it had enhanced the meal, made it taste better, easy to chew. Given training, Walter would almost certainly learn to make the food a weapon. Poisonous, sleep inducing, might even go as far as to enslave people with it. Jokes on you Walter, you have no clue what you’ve done, but I do. I’ll study this, and I’ll have you eating out of the palm of my hand, and it’ll be dirt of all things.

Walter said he enjoyed the fish, well of course stupid, but let’s keep you that way. Walter then asked if they could train. Rye of course knew Walter would ask this. He had just expected that it would be the moment he woke up. Why had he wanted to run of all things? Didn’t matter, Rye had an enormous head start on the runes now, and had learned not one but two things about fish in a mere hour. Can’t wait to see what you teach me next Walter. By evening there’s a good chance I’ll have figured out the secret to immortality. But no, that didn’t occur. Instead Rye found Walter asking about trees. That was bad, the more Rye lied, the weaker his magic would be. And Walter would end up asking Cro who would teach him and that would have untold consequences. Cro had to be as far away as possible. At least when the princess was not around. Rye had no choice, he just hoped that Walter would stop at the trees. Rye explained that listening was important, listening enabled a wizard to sense the balance and imbalance of a place. What energies were available, and what energies were missing and needed to be brought to a place to enhance the power and potential of the area. That was basically the first stage of magic. If Walter mastered this he would move to an indigo colored robe, and then to blue. Blue would involve service, good deeds. You listened to the needs of a place, and then you had to actively do things in order to get the trust of the elements and to get them to start talking. Rye hoped Walter wouldn’t figure this out. However Rye was wrong, Walter had said those things yesterday that only a wizard at Cros’ level should know. Even now Walter was standing perfectly still, eyes closed, listening. Rye sensed it, the magic in Walter was circling. Rotating like the world and the planets. Damn! Thought Rye. He’s already set his power in motion, it’s gonna rotate like that till the day he dies. Cro would sense it upon his next visit. He’d compliment Ryes’ skill at teaching, but worse, Cro would go the extra mile and teach Walter how to gain favor with the trees, the water, the grass, the insects. Rye just hoped Cro didn’t show up for another day. That was when a messenger appeared for Rye, saying the princess requested Rye and Walter come to the palace for lunch. Ryes’ concern melted away, he was gonna eat at the castle. This didn’t happen often. Usually came as part of his pay before going on a quest. Whatever Ryes’ feelings had been were drowned out by the prospect of having a social encounter with the princess. With any luck it would just be the two of them. Well three, but Walter wouldn’t understand the conversation anyway. This was great. Rye told Walter to pause, that they would resume the exercise later. For now they had an appointment to make, and it was unwise to keep a princess waiting. It took Rye a moment to realize that Walter didn’t understand a thing he’d said. Rye grinned and uttered the only words he was sure Walter would understand in Andoish. Princess! Food!

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