Asterion Kapitel 1 Goodbye (English)
A young-looking, white-haired figure took deep and short breaths, releasing them completely as he combatted the thick dust coating the leather binding of an ancient tome. The cover was worn away with time, but it was clear enough to reveal the old, pale letters, that had once been golden: "Encyclopedae Areales".
With the heavy tome in his hands, the young man stepped back to his cluttered workplace to lay it down. More books, phials, artifacts and scrolls were already stacked there, in a sort of chaos that had the illusion of order; one could barely see the surface of the massive desk underneath. Bringing a few more things together, the magician stepped in front of the desk, taking his ‘battle front’, some old candle wax residue showing traces of previous rituals. The ceremony he was performing didn't need any candles or artifacts however. All he needed were some means to bind the magic; it took only a piece of chalk and the ground on which stood. He began to draw the runes: first a circle, its meaning was charted in the oldest language, with the oldest letters, which he proceeded to write down.
When he was finished, he put a leather bag in the middle of the rounded figure. It lay there, open, as if he expected something to nest in it. Standing outside the circle, the magician raised his arms, spreading them. His lips opened, sleekly intricate sounds slipping off his silver tongue almost instantaneously. It was a language of ancient times, both forgotten, yet known by all. Magic was the words, and language was its catalyst the primer too effective to be anything but that of the divine, of the gods.
They all were used to miracles, and so the spell to open enchanted doors was nothing great any longer, simply one of the first spells from books that children got taught, growing up. While little children could easily learn this magic, what was performed was on an entirely different level; easy to learn, hard to master. When the spell was cast, the mage took his bag and went back to the table, were all his documents were scattered. Gingerly, he placed the bag on the table. A few minutes after the white-haired man started to pack his things, there was a harsh rap on the door on the door.
“Come in”,- he said flatly, annoyed by the insolence of the sound on his sensitive ears, but knowing to expect some visitors. Snow, his most loyal friend and closest confidante always tended to come earlier than invited; he was always on time, especially when it concerned the white-haired mage. He wanted to have a last conversation with his friend before he left for yet another trip.
The door let out a long, irritated creak as it always did, the mage vehement against oiling the hinge. It was like a security system, of sorts, so no one could sneak up on him, which let him relax.
„Council master Somni Custos?"-came a voice that was so obviously not that of his friend, which he knew so well. This voice was old, deep and serious, so very different from Snow’s upbeat tone. Like a starving animal, the figure lively grabbed the tome that the magician had been holding Getting somewhat irritated at the insolent behavior, he asked, his tone flat and unamused as ever,-“How can I help you?”
Turning towards the stranger, he froze momentarily as something silver flashed in front of his eyes. The sharp tip of a dagger was pressed to his throat, only a finger-length away from his skin. No words were needed, and Somni started to smile lightly before letting out a long-drawn sigh,-“I see… So ‘he’ sent you….” The silence of the strage man spoke volumes. Somni rolled his eyes with exasperation, flatly continuing his monologue,-“It’d already expected this to happen… though he acted a bit sooner than I thought he would… Tell me, are the runes on this dagger from ‘him’?”
Only at that moment did the cracked lips of the man open, curling into a nasty smile. The man was past forty, Somni guessed, with thinning, light gray hair plastered on his head, the folds on his face crayon-thick. Meanwhile, the man, having not noticed, or ignoring the scrutinizing analysis spoke, his voice aged, like weathered branches scraping at a window,-“Attacking a mage of your power with just a bare dagger is a fools task”.
The assassin was no fool, however, it was not likely that he would volunteer information freely. The man’s experience outweighed his age, which is why his employer valued him as a good fighter, hence he was still a member of the caste.
“Very well. Shall we get this over with, old man?”- Custos asked with a soft smile, calm and collected enough to fold his hands together as a sign of inner peace, rather than a worried plea for help. It was a fight, however it was finished before it had even really started- no one had even noticed the commotion. Moments later, a dark figure with a large bag over its shoulder darted out of the room, merging into the darkness of the corridor.
It was just before midnight when Snow entered the same corridor with a bag in his hand. It was so dimly lit that he could barely see where he was going: only a single strong flood of light in the middle of the corridor from an open door, breaking the eerie peace of the darkness. This is what surprised the guard; the door that was open was that of his friend. He never left it open, as he was protective of his little treasures, always keeping them guarded under his keen eye. No one ever considered holding that against him due to his position.
However, what the long-established guard found inside the room made him drop his bag, some apples falling out and rolling out into the room, one of them making it along to the splatter of blood on the hardwood floor, which covered it like a rug.
The discovery of the corpse caused great alarm, and guardians were instantly called, gathering as quickly as possible at the scene of the crime. They tried to assert and sum up the situation as quickly as possible, so they could report the situation to the arriving Council Master as precisely as they could. He was the only one allowed enter and leave of the room without the explicit permission of the main guard.
Victor Crux, the Council Master in the order of the Humans, was the first of the Seven to arrive in the room of the Dragon. “What a pity”,-he said in horror, shaking his head. Stepping warily towards the body, he leant down, closing the eyes of the still, cold corpse with a shaking hand,-“The dragon deserves to rest in dignity and peace, not with pain in his eyes…..”-he mumbled shakily to himself as he got to his feet
“There is no doubt in my mind that this is the Council Master and Keeper of Writings, Neas Somni Custos. It is on a dark day that Thanatos took him from us”,-he said quietly, his voice breaking the silence of the room once more. Even now, the ornate dagger was still deep inside the Dragon’s chest; Crux sighed softly, and grasped the handle of the dagger, carefully pulling it out to take a closer look. Getting to his feet once again a few moments later, the Human took a look around. He quickly found that things were mussing, and the whole place seemed to be wrecked, as if someone had been searching for something.
“It seems”,-he told the guards,-“that the murderer had interrupted him when he was continuing his research; the Council Master was taken by surprise, and killed with anti-magic”. While he spoke, he heard a commotion behind him,-“Your Highness!”. Turning around, Victor saw another member of the Council. “Please…. Victor….. tell me that the news isn’t true!”
The woman who had just appeared was supported by her servant, covered just by a light coat thrown over her long, silk chemise. That, coupled with her uncombed blonde hair made it obvious that she had just come from her bed. Surely one of the guards had called her, and she’d immediately made her way to the room. She wasn’t human, despite looking so, though the shape of her ears spoke volumes: feathered, and forming the shape of wings, obviously not normal for a human, as was the single wing on her back. The boy who supported her was gifted with the same ears, but, unlike her, he had two feathered wings on his back.
“Excuse me, Lady Lumen….. I know you were close, but…..”,- the man started hesitantly before being interrupted,-“Crux! Answer me! Is this, or isn’t this Somni? I don’t want to believe what I’m seeing right now!” Biting his lip, the man answered,-“Sadly, it is true…. Who else could it be?”
Gaining new strength, the woman suddenly pushed herself toward the human with quick steps, forcing the dagger out of his hand before raising it in front of Victor’s face.
“Do you see this?! There is ref blood on this dagger. RED! Like the blood of a mere human, it couldn’t be Somni’s! Have you even CHECKED the corpse!?”Victor raised his hands in a pacifying gesture,-“Please calm down, and be careful how you swing that dagger, Sileria, it can harm us as well…” It didn’t seem that the human’s words had an effect on the upset woman, but he continued speaking,-“How could it be someone other than Somni? Who else could it be, if not him?” She started to calm down, the bloody dagger no longer pointed at Victor’s chest, to his relief,-“If it were someone else, Somni would have been the first person here, upset at a corpse being inside his room. You know him- knew him the best…”
However, Sileria didn’t want to believe it, her denial could be seen in her eyes, tears sparkling within their depths, unresponsive to the hand Crux had placed on her shoulder. “Sileria…”-he called to her softly,-“you have to accept it. Somni was killed, and all we can hope for is that he completed his final duty before it happened”.
“Let me go to him…”-she whispered simply, barely audible. “I will”,-he answered softly in response,-“but first, give me the dagger”. Taking the dagger from the grief-stricken woman, he stepped out of the way. She instantly ran over to kneel by the body, ignoring the blood that soiled her skin and the silk of her clothes entirely, her eyes filled with worry over her friend, unbelieving that he was now dead. She reached out to touch gently near the wound, his body still warm. Lips softly quivering, she brushed his cheek, feeling his warmth.
“This isn’t you, right…?”-she started to sob,-“this isn’t you… It can’t be you..! you wanted to help so many people!”
While the High Priestess was suffering at the loss of her close friend, her servant took a step closer to the Council Master. “Excuse me, Lord Crux”,-he asked,-“but is there a suspicion, or a clue as to who the murderer could be?” Victor did not respond, as if he was ignoring him, not even glancing at the boy. “Lord Crux?”-the boy hesitantly asked again, looking at the human. This time, Victor has heard the boy, and turned to look at him, responding,-“We have caught the murderer, Sergeant Snow Beaurgard came to us, covered in blood, and told us everything. Soon, he will receive his due punishment, do not worry”.