I awoke to the bright sunlight streaming through my window and a flashing mirror. I groaned at the thought of a waiting message. I pulled myself out of bed quickly in case it was important. A touch of my hand activated the recording. Master Jase appeared replacing my reflection.
“Junior Mage Tristan,” came the message, as I pulled on my uniform. Emotion bubbled in my chest “You are hereby reinstated. Report to headquarters for briefing.”
Finally, I thought, with a sigh, I was ready. I’d been cleared yesterday. I was going out of my mind alternating between fear and boredom. I needed to be back in action.
“Confirmed. I’m on my way.” I mirrored back, not even waiting for someone to answer. A message worked fine. I was out the door before the mirror even stopped flashing.
The short walk, was one of my first since the incident. The sun shone down on me helping show me the beauty of this town. The white stone was brilliant. The streets were level and wide. Even the people were pleasant. I was nodded at and greeted with smiles by all. There was no fear or indifference, even from the older people. While it was nice, it made me wonder what had been happening. I had only been out of action a few weeks.
Headquarters looked the same, but the doors were open and the place was actually busy. All sorts of people were going in and out. Mages were everywhere. The foyer was packed. Snatches of overheard conversation told me, bits of why it was so busy.
“Thank you for fixing my heater,” an older woman said.
“My house was damaged. Could I get a stone man round?” asked a heavyset man.
So this was all about the incident. I thought as I made my way through the crowd getting buffered about I did my best not to bump into anyone. I wasn’t successful.
“Watch where your -” an older man started. His voice dried up as he turned to look at me. “I’m sorry Mage, I didn’t mean to.” he finished lamely. He looked worried, his wrinkled face dropping.
“Thats quite alright.” I said affably. It was nice to see the people involving the mages. We had only been set up properly for the last two years, apart from the mage academy which has been here for centuries but that had been under control of the Solem family, the nobles that controlled the area. “It was my fault, I was looking for Master Mage Jase and didn’t see you. Have you seen him?” I asked.
“Um, he was behind the desk, just a moment ago,” he helpfully offered.
“Well he’s not there now. If you will excuse me, I shall continue seeking him,” I said.
“Of course,” he said as he moved to the side to let me pass.
Seeking Jase wasn’t as difficult as I’d made out. I could feel him with my other sense. While it wasn’t as precise as when I summoned it, the general awareness was enough for locating the man who had trained me. He was in Rysan’s office. Once I got past the desk, the crowd thinned considerably. A few steps more and I knocked on the door.
“Yes?” came his raised voice. I took this as an invitation. I opened the door to see Jase sat at the very large desk holding a glyphscreen. Orb was hovering around flickering.
“Master Jase, I’m reporting for duty” I stated, really hoping that he wouldn’t take one look at me and decide I wasn’t fit.
“Tristan my boy, I’m so pleased to see your well. I didn’t want to call you in yet but the powers that be have decided we need to take advantage of the sudden goodwill. To that end, we are appointing you as Mage Representative,” Jase said while looking very closely at me. I was uncomfortable with the level of scrutiny.
“Sorry Sir, I may have misheard you,” I ventured. I had no clue what he was telling me.
“No, you didn’t. You are a member of the new mages. You are one of the first of the wizard council’s new trained mages. You have family in this town. You are young and you were also the sole survivor of the foundry incident. These make you a perfect figure to represent the mages,” Jase listed, laying the reasoning out for me.
“But sir, I have been a mage for just over a month, most of which I have been on leave,” I insisted. I’m not ready for this.
“Not to worry, you won’t be alone. It won’t be that different to how it was before. You will still receive tasks for headquarters. You will just be the public face of things. If we need to send someone to one of the guilds, we will send you. Nothing has really changed. you just have a different title,” Jase reassured.
“Yes sir,” I said. Not sure what else I should say. While inside I was thinking, this is weird, I’m new, why would I get advanced so quickly.
“Wizards orders Tristan. That’s why this is happening,” Jase said with a smile, answering my unspoken thoughts. “Go think about it for a little while. Be back in an hour, there is a task for you,”
“Yes sir,” I answered turning to the door.
“Mage Representative Tristan. You are dismissed,” Jase barked jokingly
I was less amused, grumpily I left.
I wasn’t expecting to be handed a new position, to be honest it worried me. The whole thing stank of politics. My knowledge of politics could barely fill a micro-shard. I took a slow stroll through the streets. Just seeing the town now, brought back memories of my childhood. Coming into town from the family farm. To buy the stuff we couldn’t make ourselves. The trip wasn’t long, a few hours, but for a young boy it felt like forever. The old town was so very different. Dirt roads for all but the very center and the road leading to Haven. Only the mage academy was anything like it is now. No fountains. No lights. No real magic apart from the conscription. The conscription was the bane of this town. The nobles sent their bound mages scouring their domain for gifted knacks, mostly teen boys. I wasn’t old enough to get taken but I had heard the stories. Families that didn’t agree to the boys being taken. Made examples of. Fire consuming them and the mages taking the boys anyway. The boys were trained to be mages and soldiers in the nobles service. I shuddered at the thoughts. The wizards had changed it all though. Mages were now a sign of freedom instead of oppression. Well we were supposed to be. Minds take a long time to change, but seeing the people smiling at me gave me hope for the future.
My walk had helped clear my thoughts slightly. I still didn’t want the job. I had only just started as a junior mage. Still there were worse things. It was a good idea to have a representative. I just didn’t think it should be me. I was just qualified new mages dont really know anything, we can just use our magic easily. The job should go to someone older, more experienced. they would be better suited. Fighting against things I couldn’t change wouldn’t help, the will of the wizards was one of those things. I resolved to do my best. Somehow my walk had taken me right around the block. Staring up at the headquarters I braced myself and walked in.
The mob of people were still there. Taking care to weave through without any collisions this time. I quickly made my way through to Rysan’s office. Master Jase was where I had left him. although this time he was giving orders to Orb.
“Orb, I need to change your permissions. You will need to be able to act more autonomously than you have when Rysan is around. The sudden surge in numbers of active mages could be a problem,” Jase said.
“Master Mage Jase. Only you, Rysan and the wizard’s council can change my structures,” Orb cautioned. “Anyone else forcibly doing so, will result in my deactivation.”
“Yes, yes I know Orb,” Jase dismissed with a wave of his hand. “This isn’t a change in structures, it just adds a new rank and permissions. More specifically it adds Mage Representative to your list of authorised senior personnel.”
“Yes Master Mage Jase, that is permissible. What level of access will Mage Representative have?” Orb queried. Colours flickered rapidly through it before settling at a deep blue.
“Senior but locked. He can access everything but cannot change any of your functions, and only in the pursuit of his duties. Please use your discretion functions to determine what is needed,” Jase replied firmly, his eyes locked on Orbs form.
“Rank added. The Wizards have confirmed your request,” Orb announced, its form resumed its normal slow shift in colour. “Mage Representative Tristan Sodden is at the door.” Jase turned to look at me a smile spreading across his face.
“Tristan, Nice to see you’re back. How are you feeling about the promotion?” Jase asked gently.
“Startled, Sir to say the least,” I replied trying to be honest with him.
“Well yes, I can imagine,” He chuckled softly “Being startled is a common thing for us mages in the new era,” His eyes went distant. The humor drained from his face.
I had no idea what was going through his head.
“Well on to your task,” He said forcefully, his eyes coming back to me. “ Its quite simple. Head down to the Stone Guild and offer our assistance. No task stone though,” a smile flickered on his face at that.
I stood there facing Jase, with no idea what to say. I closed my eyes and took a breath, trying to get my thoughts in order.
“Sir, I have no experience dealing with people. You above all should know that,” I pleaded. My people skills were appalling.
“Tristan” Jase started. he stood then walked around the desk towards me. “How do you think you will get experience?” his tone told me it was rhetorical, his eyes focused intensely on my face like he used to during my training “Think of this as a chance for learning,” No matter how gently he said that, I still shivered. Jase saw my discomfort, “I doubt it will be painful.”
“Alright sir. I will do my best,” I said hesitantly after swallowing my fear. I didn’t want to promise more in such an area of weakness.
“That is all we can ask for,” Jase replied, “As you heard you now have access to Orb, It is a wonderful tool, all sorts of information. Your amulet was damaged during the explosion. This promotion has been planned for the last few weeks so a modified enchantment has been designed for it. I have the transfer shard here, if you will do the honours.”
“I haven’t touched my magic since then,” I responded uncertainly, the lingering fear that my channels were permanently damaged forefront in my mind.
“Don’t worry. I’ve seen your medimage reports,” a comforting hand was placed on my shoulder as he continued, “You are fine.”
“You’re sure?” I insisted. I looked him straight in the eyes. I didn’t need false comfort.
“Very. I examined you myself when you walked in,” Jase firmly with a small nod.
“Okay. Where is the shard?” I asked.
Jase walked over to a small green shard on the edge of the desk. “Here it is Tristan,” he said before handing it to me.
I looked at the shard with my active other sense, it was swimming with forms, far more than I could understand with my limited experience of higher enchanting. I knew the process though, one of the few useful things we learnt at the academy. It was one of the simplest. Just a touch of power pushed into the shard. A shaped link to the item being enchanted, in this case my amulet. Even knacks could do this if provided with a shard and had very fine control of their power.
“Done. I think sir,” I announced. The enchantment had settled nicely, far easier than things like the irrigation system, as they need to be tailored.
“Yes. Very well done,” Jase said proudly not hiding the fact he had supervised the process. “It will provide a link to Orb greater than the one previous. Its far more direct. The exact details will need a bit of work to get a handle on. Now you need to be heading to stone guild. The offer of assistance is limited to you,” A smug smile appeared on his face. The bastard just turned and walked back to his chair and picked up his glyphscreen.
Feeling a bit unwelcome. I saluted and turned on my heel. I quickly walked through the door.