Chapter 26 - Jason

“You didn’t ask me if I wanted my sandwich toasted,” the High Elf spoke as a moved down the sandwich line

“Do you really want your tuna sandwich toasted,” I pause before adding vegetables.

“Manners Jason,” I hear my Greg call from the back room.

“What would you like on your sandwich?”

“Lettuce, tomato, onions, green peppers, red peppers, olives, a drizzle of olive oil,” the Elf launches into a list.

“Hey, can you slow down. I didn’t catch anything after onions.”

“Oh my goodness, if you can’t do the job bring me someone else, how hard can it be to make a sandwich,” he tosses his arms in the air.

“Do you want to come make it?”

“So you want me to do your job for you as well.”

“Do you need help out there,” Greg calls again.

“No Greg, I’ve got it all taken care of,” I yell back, a little angrier than I thought.

“Do you have it,” he continues.

“How about you just tell me what you want then shut the fuck up,” I ask my own questions now.

“Do not for a second think you can talk to me like that. And you put too much lettuce on the sandwich.”

“That’ll be $7.28 sir,” I wrap his sandwich and move to the register.

“You expect me to pay for this,” he takes the sandwich and walks away.

“You’re going to pay,” I jump the counter and cut him off before the exit.

“Jason, what’s going on,” Greg calls from the back again.

“Yep, not a problem,” I call back.

“Oh there’s a problem,” the elf slaps his sandwich across my face.

Greg is a nice guy. He gave me this job, and I don’t have any real work experience. Sure, I can kill a vampire, I can declaw a werewolf, go toe to toe with anything that goes bump in the night. Greg is one of the humans blessed that he can’t see supernatural things, so I couldn’t tell him what I used to do. I make sandwiches now. I made sandwiches because I’m about to get fired. I realized that when Tuna started to run down my face and drip on the floor.

The Elf laughed as if he had just heard the funniest joke in the world. The laughed ceased the moment I wrapped my hand around his throat. I didn’t need any of my enhancement magic to lift him off his feet with the single arm. He tried to cast a spell, the words were caught in his throat. High Elves, so stuck on spells with words and needing to broadcast everything to the world. There was nothing he could do to me without speaking. He was too frail to fight back, words were his only weapon. Slowly his snowy white skin started to turn to a blue. I release him and let him drop to the floor.

“No, Jason you can’t do this, I have to let you go,” Greg must have come from the back and saw it all.

“I understand Greg, thank you for the opportunity. I’m just going to grab my stuff and I’ll be gone,” I fold my apron and hand it to Greg.

I grab my bag, not much is in there. My transportation pass, keys to my apartment. A prepaid phone in case of emergencies. I used to carry my weapons, but it was hard getting around the city with them. I head back out and Greg stops me before I can leave. He’s holding a bag.

“Hey, take this with you. I know you loved the meatball sub,” Greg says. I do, the Eremites rarely let us have meat.

“Thank you,” I take the sub and as Greg gives me a big hug.

“Jason, I don’t know what you were doing before this. But, sandwich making isn’t for you. I don’t even think you like people. You’re hard headed and hot headed at the same time. But, you’re a good person and I wish you nothing but success,” Greg is a good man, too good for this world.

I really need to get a jacket, winter is coming, and I haven’t bought one yet. Just dressing in layers. Not that I have many layers. I don’t have many clothes because the eremites said it was a vanity. Turns out, just about everyone I’ve met in the last six months changes clothes every day. They probably should have mentioned that. There’s a lot they didn’t mention, but I can’t say I gave them the chance.

I swipe my pass and hop on the bus, no empty seats so I stand across from a young Dark Elf. I thought she smelled of cigarettes, but that wasn’t the case. She’s young, probably still rebellious. Tensions between Dark Elves and High Elves are starting to peak. I guess even elves have race problems. Yeah, she did something, there’s burns at the bottom of her sleeves. Not my problem.

“Hey, did you get into some trouble. I notice the scorch marks,” I ask the girl. Maybe it is my problem.

“Mind your fucking business you pervert,” she shoots back. Okay, it isn’t my problem.

Chapter 25 - Kaiden

Some Orcs hired me to clean their home for them. I didn’t really want to but they promised they would pay me and it got me to the city. The money they give me isn’t much, but I can save it and look for Jason. Am I racist if I don’t like Orcs? I’m sure there are some pretty cool ones, but these guys aren’t cool at all. They’ll spill things just for me to clean up, I have to beg to receive my pay at the end of the week and they make me sleep in the basement of the building. I didn’t have anywhere else to go so I didn’t really have any choice but to come work for them.

I heard them talking on the way here from the bus station. They just want a human housekeeper. From what I heard it shows that they’re making a lot of money. I guess they’re supposed to be like some kind of mob or mafia. But they aren’t anything like the movies. All they do is yell at each other and fight. They just wanted someone to clean up all the blood. I got pretty good at getting out blood stains back at the temple so it isn’t a big deal. But they could at least try to go a day without beating each other up. It isn’t that hard not to hit people first.

“Get back to work. These floors should be clean enough to die on,” one of the orcs hollers out tracking bloody footprints over a section of the floor I had just cleaned.

“I was just taking a break. These fumes are strong.”

I get back to work by scrubbing the footprints he had just left behind. I have to say, for a house with a bunch of barefoot and angry orcs. An Orc with shoes walks through on the way to the boss' office. He looks mad, really mad. But nobody is bothering to stop him. These guys love to fight, now all of a sudden, they’re scared to fight because he brought shoes to a toe stomping contest? There has to be something going on here, and I kind of want to know. They might really be up to something here.

I grab my bucket and mop and move to the next room. There I begin to clean the floor near the door. I get close enough that I can hear what is being said inside the office.

“Dad is dying from your actions. You lied and twisted it everything you told him from the day your were blessed with life. Now you’re just the next Orc running around trying to play mob boss. He’s tried to explain to the chief how you’re working hard like a good Orc should but you’re not. You’re just here drinking, fucking and fighting your life away. Taking money from shop owners who can’t afford it. We used to work the docs together. I bought a shop, and you turned into a crook. You’ve brought shame to our family,” I don’t recognize that voice. Probably the Orc with the shoes from earlier.

“You’ve grown soft brother. You work a job, try to live amongst the humans and don’t cause any problems. We’re still living the way Orcs have for centuries. We take what we want. The weak shall die and the strong shall thrive. That’s how it has always been,” I recognize that as the boss talking.

“Shut this down. Extortion is never how the Orcs made a living. Yes, the strong will thrive and the weak will die, but this. This is just wrong.”

“Brother, if you want me to shut it down. Just beat me in a fight? Don’t be a goblin, take a swing,” the boss laughs at him.

There’s a long pause before the Orc in the shoes walks out, slamming the door behind him. Well, that didn’t go how he planned. I go back to mopping the floors. That was my bit of drama for the day I guess. They don’t let me watch TV with them, so I have to get it when I can. It sounds like fireworks are going off downstairs. I’m going to need to clean that up.

I hear an Orc scream. That might be a gun. I guess I’m getting all kinds of excitement today. I’ve probably stayed with these Orcs too long. They don’t pay me much and I have to buy my own food. I can make it better on the streets. I’m going to grab my stuff and get out of here. I’ll use the back staircase so I can avoid whatever is going on out there. The gun shots are joined in by the sounds of battle axes and hammers. I make my way to the basement and can still hear the scuffle up top. The gun shots have stopped but I can still hear them fighting.

I slip on my jacket and grab my backpack with the letters and goop. I pick up the stone and it is ice cold, colder than I’ve ever felt it. I can’t hold it for long and drop it. The stone shatters like ice on the ground, so I guess I can’t take that with me. Doesn’t matter, I found my way to the city. I can find Jason from here.

The building shakes and there’s a huge crash. Maybe I should hold up for now. Something big is up there, and I don’t want any parts of that. As soon as they stop fighting out there, I’m going to take off. I drag an empty crate to the basement window. As soon as things settle down upstairs, I’m getting out of here.

Chapter 24 - Kaiden

I’ve been walking for a day. I think it was a day. I haven’t exactly been able to sleep here on the side of the road. Every now and then I’ll find a stone I can rest against. But there’s animals and other stuff out here that can kill me. For now, I just need to keep going. Nobody has come for me yet. That doesn’t mean they won’t. Someone knew I was escaping. If they get caught they might tell the police or something. What if they call the army? Oh man, I can be in some real trouble. Wait, do they even have police? Get it together Kaiden. You can sleep later. For now, don’t go crazy. Just keep walking.

I finish the last of the snacks that were in the bag. There’s nothing left but a couple of bottles of green slimy liquid and some letters. One of them is for me. The other is for Jason. Woah, a letter for Jason. That means the person knew I was looking for Jason. It was Mrs. Dalia. She had to be the one who helped me. What’s up with the green stuff? The letters probably have an answer but can I read these without Jason? There’s two. Oh, my stomach is still growling. Well sorry buddy, there’s nothing for us to eat right now. We could probably drink the green stuff, but it might kill us so be quiet for now.

Oh look, it’s night again. Maybe I didn’t consider how long it would take to walk to this bus station. I knew it was half way there. But halfway is a long way. I decided I’d hitchhike with the first car I saw. But this day two. Day three? I don’t know. I haven’t seen a single car yet. This is crazy. Maybe I should go back and steal a car. What if I’m close and I go all the way back, and really, I just walk further for no reason. I can’t even drive. I hope this place is close. Hey, if the sun is a star, why doesn’t it come out at night with the other stars? The sun thinks it’s so special. Well it’s not. Stupid sun thinking it can be the star of the show.

That’s it that’s the station. Am I seeing things? No that’s it. I’ve got the strength to run now. My stomach is growling and I’m sure my feet have blisters but it doesn’t matter. The bus station means I just need to catch a bus to the city and I can find Jason. This is great, I really made it. I should have never doubted you Kaiden. Why are you doing third person? I should have never doubted me. You hear that Sun? Us normal people can do stuff too.

Rice Riglies, Jabber’s Cups, Snipsnaps and Tiftofs, this vending machine has it all. They’ve even got Cheeselocks. I didn’t know they still made those. Stomach, relax. The solution to our starvation has come in the form of this vending machine. No, I don’t have any money in my pockets. Let me check the backpack. No money here either. Aww man, this sucks. I finally found food and I don’t even have the money to get anything to eat.

“Hey, you hungry kid,” a scrawny guy with green eyes and slightly pointed ears stops me.

“Yeah, I haven’t eaten in a few days.”

“Well, I don’t have anymore cash, but you can have the rest of these Goblin Bites,” he offers me the bag.

“Thank you, if we ever meet again, I’ll pay you back,” I grab the bag and start to eat.

He laughs and walks towards a bus heading in the direction I just came from. If the classes back at the temple were right, he might be some kind of Orc or Goblin. They didn’t make much distinction. More like they’re different breeds of the same species or something like dogs. Wow, that was racist. I don’t know but he just saved me from dying. These Goblin Bites aren’t half bad. He’s probably a Goblin since he was eating Goblin Bites. 

I head into the bathroom, it smells worse than any bathroom I’ve ever been in. Still, it has hot water, I can use the soap and paper towels to clean myself up a little. I haven’t seen anyone other than the Goblin at this station so I don’t hesitate to clean everything. It might have been me stinking and not the bathroom. I still don’t feel completely clean, but I do feel better.

I pick out a bench and stretch across it. Using the backpack as a pillow I try to get comfortable. I can either walk the other half way or I can wait and hope the bus driver has pity on me and just give me a ride. Bus drivers are usually pretty good people and that’s a long walk.

Chapter 23 - Kaiden

I spent the weekend at the library again. This time I was trying to figure out where the city close by was supposed to be. The city of Thinis, supposedly it was once located somewhere else in the world. One day Dark Elves moved the whole city to a new location when they were losing a war. A way to save their population from defeat at the hands of Trolls. Supposedly the Trolls had bathed in a river that was used to dispose of ineffective magical potions. This let them become immune to magic. The Dark Elves couldn’t fight them physically. Moving the city was their last resort, but that’s all history or myths.

Thinis is where Jason is. I couldn’t find anything on the security to get out of the temple. But, I know where the wall is through exploring. I’ll have to take the Southern exit. If I keep going South eventually I’ll hit a road that will take me to the city. There’s a bus station along the way so I won’t have to walk the full distance. Luckily, I don’t have much, if anything to pack. I’m not taking these stupid robes for sure. It’s a little chilly tonight so I’ll bring my jacket. I don’t even need to bring a backpack. I should get a stick and just tie everything I own in a bandana like the old cartoons. I’m really doing this. There’s no turning back now. Well, I guess there is, but I’m not.

This place looks so much creepier at night. Really old buildings, nobody walking around. The sounds of nature aren’t exactly calming. But, I’m going to have to go through nature if I want to get to that road. So far I haven’t seen anyone to stop me, but I would have felt much better if I could have gotten some information on the security around here. Instead I just make a run for it and pick dark spots to catch my breath. This place is pretty big when you’re trying to run across the whole thing at once. There are whole sections I had never seen before. I guess I’ll never get to explore them now.

“Is someone over there,” a woman’s voice yells out as a flashlight shines in my direction.

Oh crap, this is the end for me. I’m caught. I duck behind a tree and wait, but she keeps looking in this direction. I do the only thing I can think of. I grab a stone from the ground and throw it as hard as I can in the opposite direction. It doesn’t hit anything and the light goes past again. I grab another rock and fling it to my other side. This time it taps a glass window and grabs her attention. She follows off after the sound and I sprint towards my destination before she comes back.

I finally make the wall and there’s no gate in sight. I have to actually climb the wall. I look for a big rock or something I can stand on. I might be able to jump and climb over the wall. I find a trashcan and flip it over before dragging it to the wall. Littering is bad, but I think I can get a pass this one time. I’ll pick up some trash somewhere else. I climb on top of the trash can and jump but still can’t reach the top of the wall. This thirteen-year-old body is not working for me, I need my sixteen-year-old body, I’m sure it’s tall. I’ll work on that when I get out. For now I jump and dig my fingers into the wall. I try to pull myself over but my arms just aren’t strong enough. I try to climb with my feet but I keep slipping in these stupid monk shoes.

I feel a hand on butt and before I can turn to see what’s behind me I’m falling into the dirt on the other side of the wall. A bookbag flies over behind me. I didn’t bring a bookbag. A glowing rock flies over next and lands on my head next. Did someone just help me break out? I hear and alarm sound, they must know someone broke out. I grab the rock and backpack then take off running. The rock heats up in my hand and I look down. It’s glowing red, but it was just green a second ago.

I turn the and run the other direction. This time it quickly cools and turns back to green. Is this some kind of compass? Whatever, I’ll take any help I can get as everything starts to light up behind me. I run, but it’s hard getting through this forest of trees. I hate the forest. I step in something too wet to be poop and too smelly to be water. The alarms have woken up some sleeping animals. Roars and howls fill the air and I can only hope I don’t run into any of them. They all sound dangerous. I’d rather test my luck with the temple guards at this point. I just put my head down and keep running. Even if the stones and sticks poke through these shoes I have to keep running until I can’t hear the sirens anymore.

I trip and fall flat onto asphalt. I made it to the road. Magic compass rock, tell me which way I need to go. Right is red and hot so I head to the left. I hope this thing is telling me where to go. Hot is supposed to mean I’m on the right path but this thing is burn your skin off hot. I guess that bus station is going to be pretty far away because right now, I don’t see anything but trees and road.

Chapter 22 - Kaiden

“You’re in my office a lot more often these days Kaiden. I’m not sure if you like me, or you’re really a trouble maker,” Mrs. Dalia smiles.

“It really isn’t my fault. I try to be good, I really do. But, people just don’t seem to like me.”

“Don’t make excuses. You know when a trap is being set for you, and you still rush in. You’re far too headstrong. In the long run that could cause you problems.”

“So what am I supposed to do,” because I’m really confused here.

“Ignore them.”

“How does that help? Instead of getting beat up I only get tossed in the mud?”

“Getting even with bullies does not make the situation better,” she takes a seat behind her desk and stares at me waiting for a response.

“Well, that’s just stupid.”

I don’t listen to the rest of her lecture because it just doesn’t make sense. I’m never going to be okay here. Nobody here thinks I’m any good. Even Mrs. Dalia is starting to think I’m messed up. As soon as my magic comes back, I can get out of here. Right now, the only thing I can get is a couple of sparks. But, I can feel it. I know it’ll be coming back soon. Then I’ll be all set.

“Are you listening to me? I swear you’re just like Jason.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because both of you swear that you are so darn hard headed. He consistently disobeyed orders because he thought he knew a better way to do things. Here you are, being reprimanded once again because you can’t find a way to stay out of trouble. If you keep running into walls you’re going to kill yourself before you break through. Do you get what I’m saying? I can’t put it any simpler.”

“Maybe he had the right idea. He did save all of us. From what I hear, everyone was going to leave us.”

“Hero worship never turns out well,” Mrs. Dalia slaps her hands on the desk.

“I’m not worshiping him. I’m just saying he didn’t seem as bad as everyone says he was and he isn’t as bad as the people around here. No offense.”

“You just need to learn how to control your emotions. If you don’t you’ll just keep getting in trouble. You’ll never accomplish anything and you’ll end up just like Jason. Excommunicated, but it seems like that may be your goal. Choose something better to pursue.”

“Why are you so mad?”

“I’m not mad,” she spins around and looks out the window like a cartoon character. “I just see so much of you in him, and I couldn’t save him. I don’t want you headed down that same path. It isn’t a fun path, it’s a lonely path.”

“Maybe he needs someone to walk that path with him.”

“Probably. Did you know he was an orphan as well?”

“No, I didn’t know that.”

“He was always lonely but could never just open up and ask to play with other kids. Because of that, he never needed any friends. I would try to set him up with other people on play dates. I thought if he just had a friend it would even him out. Kind of like when a child gets a younger sibling. Instead he just stayed full of pent up rage and only got worse as time. He could just never leave things as they were. Oh well, that time is gone. There’s nothing I can do about it now. But, I won’t let you be the same.”

“Well, that was awkward. So, what’s up with crystal ball? Can you tell fortunes,” I try to change the topic quickly. Old person guilt is a level of guilt I’m not ready for. I’m just a kid until you want to put your problems on me. Well, I refuse.

“Oh yes, I can tell fortunes. I choose not to often. Magic has many different side effects depending on how you use it. Most spells will simply exhaust the user, but looking into the future tends to age a person. A day of gazing into the future can age you an entire year. You may not see it right away, especially if you only take small glimpses, but it adds up. Instead I tend to monitor different people and things. The worst that can do is cause me a little nausea if gaze for too long.”

“Who do you watch?”

“Loved ones, family members far away. Old friends, past students. Please excuse me, I have to visit the bathroom,” she exits and leaves me here.

I look into her crystal ball, curious if I can see the future. I can’t see a blurry picture. There’s snow and it looks like Jason. Was she watching Jason? Where is he that it would be snowing? He’s fighting some angry mob and carrying a person on his shoulders. What’s going on there? I can’t tell. I don’t know where that is, but it looks like he’s trying to save someone and he’s in trouble. He needs help. I need to find out where he is. I can repay the favor.

I jump back to my seat as I hear Mrs. Dalia come back.

“Hey, you never said who you were watching before you left.”

“Funny enough, I was watching Jason.”

“So where is here. Just curious,” can she tell I looked in the ball?

“In a city,” she knows doesn’t she.

“There’s a lot of cities,” I joke.

“He’s about 164 miles from here. How about we discuss your punishment instead?”

“Sure, we can do that.

It doesn’t matter. That’s all I needed to know. 164 miles is specific. Does she want me to go see him? No, she wouldn’t want that? Would she? I can’t tell. This lady is either really gullible or a really good liar. I just can’t figure out which one. I guess I’ll find out when I’m 164 miles away.

Chapter 21 - Kaiden

I didn’t think Detention was something these people did. I guess punishment is universal no matter where you are. I didn’t even do anything except get beat up again. That Denny kid is becoming a real problem for me. I need to find a way to deal with him. He’s going out of his way to mess with me. We’re not in any of the same classes or anything. It’s like he’s sneaking around trying to get me. I just can’t figure out how he keeps finding me. I try to take different routes back and forth between classes. I tried skipping class, but that only got me here. Now I’m supposed to clean some statues.

“Hold still,” A tall guy in robes shouts at me while trying to aim a finger at me.

I feel a slight shock and he starts walking around me like some kind of psycho. I try to step away and he pushes me back in place like I’m some kind of science project. Finally, he stops and smiles like he’s admiring his work.

“What was that,” I can’t help but ask.

“You had a tracking spell on you. Really easy to learn, any idiot can do it. Just need to sacrifice a portion of your magic energy. The more magic you use, the longer it’ll last. There’s simplicity in that one. Follow me, we have work to do,” the man starts walking.

“So, who are you?”

“I am Braren Elser, you may call me Brother Elser.”

“Can you tell who put that spell on me?”

“With a bit of work, yes. But, I have a feeling you already know.”

“Yeah, I have an idea.”

“Well, your bruises show that you’ve been in some battles recently,” Mr. Elser says without looking back at me.

We make our way to a giant statue. It looks like a Elf from everything I’ve learned so far here. He points to the ladder and cleaning supplies placed off to the side. I guess I’ll be spending my detention cleaning this statue. This will take forever. I climb the ladder and start with the head. Doesn’t make sense to clean from the bottom up. All the soap just drips back down to where you already cleaned, so you have to clean it again.

“Why have you been checking out books about magic in the library,” Mr. Elser asks me. He doesn’t yell, but I hear him up here.

“I just want to know about magic, how do you know I check out books.”

“I am the coordinator for our libraries. The librarians talk about a child trying to read books on magic that are beyond his years.”

“I’m not a child.”

“Sixteen, not thirteen. Yes, they mentioned that as well. You have certainly left an impression on members of my circle in a short time.”

“So, you want me to stop reading books? That’s stupid,” I pause my scrubbing to look down at him.

“No, I want you to understand you don’t need to do everything on your own. You are part of a community now. We help each other, as we all share a common purpose.”

“Doesn’t feel like a community to me. I’ve been getting beat up for like three weeks straight. The first time anyone did something, I got detention. How is that a community?”

“I once made the mistake of not hearing out another pupil when he complained this was not a community. I will not make the same mistake again. You like Magic correct?”


“May I offer to answer any questions you may have? I believe myself to be one of the most well read mages on this side of the world,” Elser makes a serious offer to me.

“Okay, fine. Before I came here I was able to use magic. Not a lot but I could do things like make a light, and I could shoot off some blasts from my hand. Now I can’t do any of that. My arm just cramps up whenever I try.”

He begins to circle the statue and waves his hand for me to keep cleaning. He keeps pacing, and I keep scrubbing. Most well read mage my butt. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’ve finished half the statue before he calls me back down to the ground. Probably just going to tell me he doesn’t have any clue, and he’ll just search for answers later.

“Where you able to cast spells from both hands,” he speaks quickly.

“No, just my right hand.”

“Give me you arm.”

I hold my arm out and his hand starts to glow. He traces my arm a few times. He makes a few noises like he’s thinking and releases my arm.

“Magical energy has been blocked from entering your arm. I’ve removed the block, but you may never be able to cast spells reliably with your right hand again. If I were you, I would look into learning spells with your left hand or getting a tool to channel your spells through. A wand, or ring. If you weren’t verbalizing your spells before, you may need to.”

“Wait, is that it? You fixed it like that?”

“I did what I could, it’ll never be perfect again.”

“You mean I can use magic again? That’s great, everything is better, now,” I jump up and throw my fist in the air. It’s sill but that’s really how I feel.

“Stop,” his demeanor changes from one of no emotion to rage.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“Yes. Your emotions, they are wild, and out of control. If you ever wish to be a great mage you will need to calm your spirits. You need two things to be a great mage. Do you know what they are?”


“The first is knowledge, you took the initiative to read through texts and learn on your own. So with time you will be knowledgeable. The second is serenity. You need to keep your head clear, if you wish to be and effective spellcaster.”

“What about passion? Shouldn’t you like to do it?”

“Passion only brings more emotion. Emotion clouds your mind. The opposite of serenity. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good, I hope to see you in one of my advanced magic classes one day. Just keep those two principles in mind. We’re done here for today. Cleaning statues won’t make you a better mage.”

I have no clue what just happened. One minute he was all calm, then he was yelling at me about needing to calm down. That dude is strange. But, I guess he might have fixed my arm. Not sure I can do magic with my left hand. I’ve tried to write with my left hand before. It’s so bad. This is the first good thing to happen to me in months. I’m going to be able to use magic again.