Serialized Original Fiction: "Neverdie" Chapter One, by Jon Wood (Page 2 of 4)
Slowly peering into the room, Rowan saw neither a squirrel, nor a battle crazed little goblin. Instead, she was greeted by the wide eyed stare of Szark's ten year old son, Kazreth. The boy stood knee deep in a large pile of assorted items: A dozen or so torches, (of which she promptly picked one) numerous candles, and, of all things, a bag of flour which had been half ripped open by its fall from the top of the shelves which lined the walls.
"You're not gunna tell Dad are ya Rowan?" The boy asked in the pleading tone that only small children can use. He knew as well as she did that he wasn't supposed to be playing in this room.
"No Kazreth, I won't tell on you," she assured him, reaching out to tousle the boy's already unkempt brown hair. "Now, hurry up and be off. We wouldn't want your father to catch you down here, would we?" When the boy shook his head in an emphatic no, she moved out of the way and watched him climb the stairs. "I don't want to be caught here either," she added to herself, picking up two swords that had been knocked from their casing along the far wall. And so she set to work on her second task of the day, repairing the damage of a ten- year old human child. Five minutes later, when she began having trouble finding a place to put the twenty feet of yarn that had been unravelled, she wished that she had made Kazreth stay to tidy his mess before sending him upstairs. Silently, she thanked the Gods above that the boy had not found his way into his father's laboratory storage room. An accident like this in a magical laboratory would have most certainly meant a harsh and abrupt end to the child, if not the destruction of half of the great tower. As she cleaned, Rowan reminded herself to be sure to make a trip upstairs to secure that room's lock.
Just as the young apprentice returned the last torch (aside from the one that she had retrieved for herself) to the bottom shelf where it belonged, she heard the rattling of the doorknob. Startled by the sudden noise, her reflexes snapped her to attention. This proved to be a mistake, instead of standing straight, she knocked her head on the shelf above. This sent nearly twenty empty glass jars crashing to the floor. In an attempt to avoid stepping on the glass in her bare feet, she stumbled backward into another set of shelves, tipping the uppermost ones. Naturally, down came an uncountable number of vials filled with bat guano and sulphur, along with various other materials that the Green Mage used in his every day spell-casting. Finally, four full sacks of flour fell atop of the entire lot. Exploding on impact, they sent clouds of fine white powder cascading across the room. When all was said and done, Rowan, who had closed her eyes throughout most of the ordeal, slowly opened them, surveying the damage. The room was covered in white powder. Pieces of broken glass and pottery jutted up from under the fresh coating.
"By the Gods!" A voice said sternly from behind her. She recognised the voice immediately, and regretted ever leaving her study room. She could have worked in partial darkness, all elves had the innate ability to see in the dark, even if Rowan had grown accustomed to the torch light necessary for humans.
"Szark!" She blurted out, startled after having totally forgotten the reason for the mess. Turning around, she had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. Standing in the doorway was her teacher. The mighty Szark Greengem, feared for his mysticl prowess and well known for his diplomatic nature. He was an average sized man by human standards, standing around 5'8" tall. He was wearing his characteristic green robes, or so she assumed. His front was covered in flour, making all of his belongings a pearly white. His dark brown hair and beard were now white. The look was preposterous.
"What’s going on down here Rowan?" He asked sternly, wiping his face as best he could with his hand. The act only served to smear the mess further.
"Well, I… um… that is to say," she stammered, fidgeting nervously. It wasn't very often that her kind-hearted teacher became angry with her, but she could always tell, and never quite knew what she should say.
"Never mind, it doesn't matter. I don't think I want to know." His tone softened as he spoke, much to Rowan's absolute delight. If she didn’t know better, she would have thought that he too was suppressing a smile. And why wouldn't he? She must look more ridiculous than he. Her hair, which had previously been soaked with sweat was now covered in flour.
"No you won't," he said, “You will take your torch, and you will return to your studies. I trust that you have completed your first task?" He asked, brushing flour from his dark green robes.
"Of course Szark." She lied sweetly.
"Excellent," he said, holding out to her a book which he had been holding in his left hand. Its front cover was, of course, covered by the flour, but she could read the writing on the spine. The lettering was sweeping and beautiful, and the words were elven. Her eyes widened as she read the words. “Brackiass Sylvanis Voril 300”. Loosely translated, it meant Births in The Lands of Oberon. Volume 300. "Then," he said, a smile crossing his powdered white face. "You will not mind studying this."
"Of course not!" she nearly squealed in delight, taking the tome eagerly from him. She had begged him for two years to get this book for her. The thought had always been a long-shot. As far as she knew there were only two copies of this book in existence, and they were carefully guarded in the Oberian Hall of Records. They certainly weren't lent to the public. Her teacher must have called in some rather large favours from elven friends. (He was one of the few humans who was even allowed into the sacred Forest of Oberon.) This book held the records that would answer the questions that she had about her heritage. Although she desperately loved her adoptive parents, she had always been fascinated with learning about her true family line. Now she stood, covered in flour, apprenticed to a human wizard, about to realise a dream that she had held since she was a very small girl. "Thank you." Was all that she could think to say. She very nearly threw her arms around the wonderful man, but stopped herself at the last moment, thinking that it might be out of line. Szark Greengem, after all, had always been very guarded in his emotions and affectionate displays might not be appreciated. So, instead of saying anything more, she simply dashed up the stairs, the book in one hand and her fresh torch clutched tightly in the other.