Gender: Male Age: 54 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Finding a companion|
I rocked Ash in her cradle and watched Melody trying to color on the slat I had bought her. I cleared my throat when she started to use magic and she stopped and looked at me, “but...”
I shook my head, “what is your mother’s rule?”
She sighed, “no magic without her.”
I smiled, “and what happens if you do?”
She pouted and I shook my head. She had gone from simple babbling to speech in weeks. I glanced at Dragon as she lifted her head over the side of the cradle, “no playing with Dragon and the others.”
Melody sighed and reached for a piece of colored chalk. I looked at the door when Silver and Jasmine walked in and smiled, “finished your spells already?”
They nodded and Jasmine gestured, “and you have been letting Melody...”
She stepped closer, “what is she drawing?”
I checked Ash as she shifted in her sleep, “I asked her to draw a horse.”
Silver shook his head, “a mistake Sinclair.”
I looked at him as Jasmine crossed to our daughter, “did she do any magic?”
I hesitated, “she started to but stopped.”
Melody smiled up at her mother before turning and reaching for the slat with magic surging up inside her. I stood, “NO!”
Melody froze and looked at me with wide eyes as Jasmine turned and dispelled the magic in her, “you need to know what you want the magic to do sweetie.”
I looked at Silver as he cleared his throat, “she is getting much stronger.”
I nodded as Jasmine comforted her. She looked at me and then at her father, “we need a companion.”
He nodded and I cleared my throat, “Companion?”
Silver gestured and I left the room with him, “I have already been checking and there are no available companions in the city.”
I looked at him, “what is a companion?”
He sighed, “a companion is a creature that will bond with and help a young mage control her magic.”
I turned to look out the kitchen window, “but there are none in the city.”
He shook his head and I glanced at the three cats as they strolled in. I smiled, “would the three of you know where or how I might find a companion?”
They sat and looked at each other before the Ruby cat nodded. I stood, “can you lead me?”
They turned for the door and I started following, “tell Jasmine I’m hunting for a companion.”
The three led me through the city and into the narrower streets. They stopped at one that seemed darker and I glanced at them before heading to the door and knocking. It was a minute before I heard something and then the door slowly creaked open. It almost looked like ancient crone looking back at me, “yes?”
I smiled, “my name is...”
She gestured, “I know your name Sinclair.”
I blinked and glanced back at the three cats sitting in the street watching us and back at her. I took a breath, “my daughter is a mage and she is young. She needs a companion but we have been told there are none in the city.”
She looked at me carefully, “and you think one is here.”
I gestured to the cats, “they think there is or that you can direct me to one.”
She shifted and slowly leaned to look around me before smiling, “so you belong to them.”
I grinned, “something like that.”
She nodded and looked into my eyes, “in the noble quarter is an unseen manor. It is warded and has many traps to keep people out. In the tower is a chest guarded by a gargoyle. Inside the chest is a companion bound in sleep. There is also a vial of what looks like frozen fire. Take both and bring me the vial.”
She nodded and shuffled back as the door began to close. I turned to look at the cats before shaking my head and heading down the street. I was thinking of how to find an unseen manor. I had been in the noble quarter many times but nothing came to me. I was walking down a wide cobbled street with two city guards in front of me when I hesitated.
Scraps and pieces of magic in and around the noble quarter were common. I looked back at an earl’s estate and ahead to a Baron’s. I looked back and forth several times before the strands of magic on the wall between struck me. I moved to the wall and pulled a couple of silver pen knives.
I scraped one along the wall and pulled a strand of magic with it. I worked the knife into a crack and left it before moving the other way to pull a second strand of magic back. I carefully climbed up and peeked over to see another estate. I looked at the top of the wall and the grounds before moving over.
I stood after I dropped to the ground and looked before carefully beginning to walk a drunken line towards the distant manor. The lawn was over grown and probably hadn’t been cut in decades. It took me awhile to reach the manor and spider webs of spell strands spread from each door.
Each of the windows was crisscrossed with strands but I looked at the thickly tall grass almost hiding a basement half window. I moved closer to check it before pulling out a glass cutter. I didn’t like cutting the glass but knew the wood was so swollen and rotten that I would not be able to open the window.
I cut the whole pane out before tapping it and pulling it out. I set it beside the window before looking in through the open hole. I wiggled in and twisted to drop before walking across the dusty floor. I checked the door carefully and used a dagger between the jam to lift the locking bar.
The basement hall was wide and as dusty as the room. I could see several charms and spell strands as I started for the stairs. I was able to move over or around the strands by using the ceiling beams. When I reached the stairs they were in as much disuse as the rest of the place. I looked up and started to take a step before freezing with my foot above the step.
I looked at the stair step before pulling my foot away. I knelt to look at the step and hissed as I saw the way the step angled. It could just be the boards warping but with all the magic I didn’t think so. I checked the next and the one after that. I looked at the walls and the ceiling before finding the tiny holes.
I started up the stairs skipping the ones that were trapped. The first floor looked as abandoned as the basement and I shook my head. I thought of the way the manor was built and continued up the stairs. I would have to check each floor for the stairs into the tower. The halls held not only spell strands but trip wires and pressure traps.
It was the third floor where I found the way into the tower. The inner stairs went up and down but my goal was at the top, at least I thought it was. I was wrong, that large circular room held a fire pit and a chair and that was it. I moved back down carefully until I reached the door at the bottom.
I checked the spell strands on the door and used more silver pen knives to move them. I picked the lock before taking a breath and starting to open the door. I still remembered the old woman’s voice, “In the tower is a chest guarded by a gargoyle.”
I pushed the door open and looked into the dark room before pulling the small mage lantern and opening one side. I used it to look around the room until I saw the animated stone gargoyle. It seemed frozen but was staring straight at me. I smiled as I returned its look and pulled out a pouch of powder and a small mirror.
I shifted and it shifted, I took a step to the door threshold and it rushed across the room. I held the mirror up in front of my eyes and tossed the powder. The gargoyle froze inches from me as it stared into the mirror while the insect dust drifted onto it. I watched the floor and saw the spell strands in and around the gargoyle drop and fade away.
I moved the mirror to see just another gargoyle statue and moved around it and into the room. I crossed the room to the single large chest and knelt to check it carefully. It wasn’t trapped or enspelled so I opened it and looked in. I saw the creature first, it looked like a large ferret. It had spell strands running through it and remained asleep.
I looked at several other things in the chest including a tiny jeweled dragon that sat frozen as it seemed to stare at me. I smiled, “want out?”
It shifted before nodding and I reached in to bring it out. I sat it on my shoulder before lifting the limp and sleeping companion and then looking through a few pieces of cloth to find the vial. I slipped it into my pouch before turning to leave. I was as careful leaving as I was coming in and it wasn’t until I dropped to the street that I took a deep breath.
It was late as I made my way back to the old woman’s house. The three cats were laying on the doorstep and only lifted their heads when I knocked on the door. Again it was a minute before I heard the old woman and the door creaked open. She looked at me before smiling, “so you weren’t killed.”
I held out the companion and pulled out the vial. She ignored the companion and took the vial before opening it and drinking. I blinked as she sighed and shimmered before growing younger until a beauty was looking back at me. She looked at the companion, “take it to your daughter and tell her she must give it a kiss to awaken it.”
I looked at the animal, “A kiss...”
She laughed and stepped back, “a touch will do but a kiss sounds better. It is the need that will wake it.”
She closed the door and I turned to see the cats stretching. I started back towards home with the three following. When I walking into the kitchen Jasmine was feeding Ash. I smiled and looked at the tiny jeweled dragon, “we are home and I think I will call you Jewel.”
She nodded as she looked around and I crossed to kiss Jasmine, “where is Melody?”
She looked at the small companion, “with mother in the study.”
I turned to walk into the other room and saw my daughter reading in her grandmother’s lap with Dragon and the others clinging to her. She looked up and her eyes locked on the companion, “what is wrong with her?”
I looked down, “she was put to sleep by a spell and needs her very own little girl to kiss her and wake her up.”
Gloria opened her mouth before closing it. Melody moved everyone off her except Dragon and climbed off her grandmother and the chair, “I’ll kiss her.”
I knelt and held the companion out, “you have to hold her first.”
I set the limp animal in her arms and she bent to give it a kiss. It shifted and stretched before looking at Melody. Her face lit up and she smiled shyly, “hi.”
The animal climbed her arm to the opposite shoulder from Dragon and rubbed against my daughter’s cheek. She grinned at it and looked at me, “her name is Princess.”
I smiled as I stood, “that is a pretty name.”
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