Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Trial

I bent down and picked a flower, it promptly turned to dust which floated to where I had picked it and reformed the flower. I did the same with anything I could reach. Grass, bark, tree limb. Each time the same thing happen. Even though I was aware of the dream, I found it odd that I was not able to change the landscape in the slightest.

I turned back towards the forest just as a warm gust of wind came billowing out through the trees. The whisper I had heard before was louder now, but I still could not quite make it out. Something was trying to get me into the forest, and it felt quite welcoming. I took a step towards the line of trees and the found myself awake staring at the Grand Courtroom in Brinwall.

I remember coming here once with my brother on the day he was sworn in as a Clarent. It was not something that happened very often so there was always a huge ceremony. People from different countries traveled to watch the Magi of the Four Totems swear the elite wizards into their new station.

I did not get to spend any time with him after that. Come to think of it, I hadn’t seen him since that day. I tried to look around to see if he might be in the crowd, to see his little brother being put on trial. Sadly, I was still being restrained by a holding spell.

Looking to my sides I could see Kulver on my right and the giant bloodstone creature on my left. I noticed a lack of jury as well as lawyers. This was not a normal trial at all. Did I really do everything Kulver said?

I looked forward to see the four half-story pillars. Each held a bench for the Magi of the Four Totems. Those that held these positions were the best in their field of magic throughout the world. The station was usually passed down through hereditary lines. But even wizards occasionally bare non-magical children. In those cases the bearer had to be approved by all current members.

The first pillar on the right is where the Totem of Sadrynal, the Great Magi of Life, presided. The next was the Totem of Xathsoq, the Great Magi of Air. The third was the Totem of Brodshav, the Great Magi of Earth, and the last was the Totem of Gerynx, the Great Magi of Death.

Each pillar glowed with the giant symbol for each Magi as they stepped up to their benches. Sadrynal had a blue crystal, Xathsoq had a giant white horn, Brodshav had a mountain top, and Gerynx had a large pyre. The Magi that represented the great ones were younger than most people expected. Though they were still old, they did not have long beards or balding heads.

As they sat down the whole room went silent. Whether people were awed or too afraid to speak, I could not tell, but both were usually the cause from the stories I had heard. The scowls the four Magi were wearing as they met my eyes easily frightened me speechless. It did not matter how innocent I felt, their glare made me feel the guilt of everything I ever remembered doing wrong.

If Kulver was right and I had been a Clarent, then these four had sworn me in. They had accepted me into a privileged role and I had disgraced them. I could not refute anything I could not remember. Amnesia has no bearing on the list of charges thrown against me. And those still were not clear to me. But I was about to find out.

A man, he looked to be around the age of thirty, walked out from between the second and third pillar. He must be one of the Requisitors. They were the one that spoke for the four great Magi. They would ask the questions, list the charges, and allow the lawyers to speak. It is one of the highest positions one can be afforded, almost equal to that of the Magi of the Four Totems. I have never heard or read how one becomes an Requisitor and it does not seem to be common knowledge like that of the Magi of the Four Totems or Clarents.

He stood there in his silver robe studying me, and then he spoke “Bartresq Hudson, previously of the Clarent status, previously Auditor 83429. Son of the late Amaya Bartron and Devan Hudson. Brother to the late Bartaryq Hudson.”

My mind went into a furious jumble of questions. They all ended in a simple menacing word that slipped off my tongue without control. “How?”

The horror of my thoughts must have been clear on my face, because as I interrupted the Requisitor he took a cautious step backwards. He quickly followed it with a quizzically furrowed brow. He straightened up and replied “That is why we are here today, Mr. Hudson. It is one of the many crimes you are accused of committing.”

I instantly flashed back to the night of the train wreck. The words I’d heard as I was being carried away ““Hg80-318 I command you to protect Bartresq. He is now your master, please watch over him!” That was my brothers voice. Were those his last words? If I’d killed him then why would he command his personal creature....his Golem.

The word came rushing to my mind, as if lost in some deep abyss all this time. That’s what this Bloodstone creature was, and that’s what the silver one from the night of the trainwreck was, a Golem.

I voiced this question, more spiteful than I meant. But I was angry at being accused of killing my own brother. “If I killed him then why did his command his golem to protect me? Why am I its new master?!” The anger in the question caused the Requisitor to take another step back.

Auditor Kulver’s gasp caught me by surprise. Had she not questioned this same thing? Or did she fail to add that into her report? The Requisitor confirmed the latter.

“There is no report stating this. If you do not recall killing your own brother then how do you know that he commanded his golem to protect and obey you?” There was a smugness to his question, as if I’d just confirmed the accusation.

Auditor Kulver stepped forward “Sir, I believe I can answer that question.” She seemed hesitant. “On the night of Bartresq Hudson’s apprehension as he was being carried away by SiO2-83, my golem, Hg80-318 began to act erratically. It seems that Bartaryq somehow recorded a communication onto his golem stating that he relinquished his command of Hg80-318 to Bartresq. I failed to put this in my report as I did not think it was relevant to his crimes.”

The Requisitor pondered this for a moment, then straightened up a bit, and seemed it best to catch Auditor Kulver off guard. “Auditor 74892, Syrana Kulver. Why do you think Bartaryq Hudson made this decision?”

She stuttered a few times, looked back at me, and then to the Requisitor. “I...I’m not sure. Because in the end Bartresq was his brother?” She relaxed a little, most likely thinking that answer was good enough.

“But you knew how much Bartaryq came to hate his brother in the end. You were there for many of the reports. Bartaryq was ready to end his brothers life happily. So what changed?” The Requisitor was questioning her as if she were on trial.

Every word that was spoken was pounding against me like boulders being thrown by a giant. My brother hated me? What did I do to make him want to kill me? If I were not bound by magic I would have sank to the floor and curled into a ball. But as it were, I could only hang my head and listen.

Auditor Kulver’s voice seemed as if it were being projected through a long tunnel. “Yes sir, but Bartresq was also the last of his family alive. Maybe it caused a finally lapse of judgement in the end?”

I could tell that even she did not believe her own words. Not that it mattered. If there was a reason my brother, a Clarent, was after me. And to kill me? Then I had done some extremely horrible things. And I did not want to remember what they were.

The silence in the courtroom was deafening, as were the thoughts in my head. It was impossible not to hear the door open in the rear. I could hear the crowd turn, saw Kulver turn, and could see the Requisitor and the Magi of the Four Totems look towards the source of the noise.

The thuds of loud footsteps followed as the rustling of clothing from the audience turning as it came down the long aisle. Whispers were rampant in the crowd. I imagined my brother walking up the aisle with his golem in tow. Even if only to confirm most of the crimes against me, he’d still be alive.

I heard the growl coming from Kulver that seemed riddled with spite. I also noticed the Magi of the Four Totems take their gaze off the proceedings and turn to look at the new visitor. The Magi of Brodshav seemed to be a bit perturbed by the person’s arrival. I noted that the other three Magi turned to look at him. Could that person have some connection to him? That dashed my hopes that it was my brother.

I sagged at this realization. I did not even feel like seeing whom it was that had surprised everyone. It did not matter. I listened as the Requisitor asked Auditor 7487 what the meaning of this interruption was. I heard her apologize, and then she said she had new evidence that could exonerate me.

I looked up to see her standing in front of my brother’s golem, my golem. Her Auditor uniform made her look like she was some teenager playing dress up. But her stance was much more pristine, very formal. I followed her gaze to the Magi of Brodshav and put the pieces together. She must be a daughter or granddaughter.

The Requisitor broke from his confusion first “You’ve come here with evidence for Bartresq Hudson?” He looked quite irritated.

Auditor 7487 gave a look of disapproval, boredom, and annoyance at a level that could only have been bred into her. “I have. It seems that Clarent Bartaryq Hudson was able to record things onto his golem, Hg80-318. The first recording we heard was the night of the trainwreck and it was nothing more than Bartaryq commanding it to protect his brother and follow Bartresq’s orders.”

She looked at me with a mild annoyance. There was something else behind that look, did I forget something about her too?

She spoke as she turned her head back towards the Requisitor. “He was also able to record the evidence he found after he subdued Bartresq. Evidence that the golem still carries on him.”

Auditor 7487 stepped aside and let the golem move forward. It was massive next to her. It stood at least four feet above her. If it had a mouth it could have probably swallowed her whole. It was a large gleaming construct that my brother had created. This was the last step to becoming a Clarent, you had to create a golem or you were not accepted. And they could only be made with the single mineral that was inherently linked to your body.

Some people could never create one, not having any mineral that was linked to them. It was much like magic users, you could not learn magic if you were not born with it. But in this case even many mages could not create them. If I was a Clarent then that means I also created one. Where is it? And why does Kulver have one if she is just an Auditor.

Better yet, what evidence did my brother leave for me? As I rambled about these questions in my mind the material on the golems upper chest started to swirl around as if liquid. When it finished it was in the shape of my brothers face. I could not stop the name from falling out of my mouth “Bartaryq...” Kulver turned towards me with anger in her eyes, making me flinch.

She jumped and spun around with a surprised and hopeful look on her face as the image started to speak. “This is Clarent Bartaryq Hudson. If my brother, Bartresq Hudson, has not succumb to his wounds and is being put on trial I pray that you will hear the evidence of his possible innocence I have discovered.” There was wheezing and coughing accompanying the recording, as if he were wounded when he made it.

“I found some form of parasite attached to his spine after I was able to pacify him. I regret that I will not get to study it further, as I will soon succumb to my injuries. All I ask is that you make sure this evidence is thoroughly investigated before you place your judgement on him.” The image disappeared with the sounds of coughing and moaning.

I had not noticed the tears running down my face until then. I thought I heard a sniffle come from Kulver as well. I suppose she knew my brother.

I did not get a chance to think much about it before the large silvery golem reached out its hand and produced a small globe. This must be the evidence my brother was talking about. As the liquid metal opened an overpowering shriek exploded. I felt as if my my whole body was about to rupture. As everything started fading in and out I saw that everyone was staring at me. Just before I passed out I could see the young girl running for me, her hand outstretched. I blacked out just before her thumb reached my head.

I found myself lying on the ground, the grass wet and soft. I picked myself up and looked around. The forest, I was in it. But, no, I stood there looking down the hill towards where the forest was suppose to be. I looked over to where the house should have been, where it was covered in vines and moss and small trees protruding through some of the broken walls. Like no one had lived there in decades.

I fell to the ground, my mind dizzy with everything. Then the whisper came, so clear that it washed everything else from my mind. “You are mine.”

Instinctively, my body shrank into a ball and summoned a shield. I sat there cowering on the ground against the tree hoping someone would come save me. Hoping my brother would come and save me from him.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mindful Questions

It was mid morning, just about the time I’d be starting breakfast after my twilight studies. The breeze was just cool enough to make me shiver, but not so much that I needed to cover up. Spring, I guessed. The aroma on the air told me I was inside cooking.

Eggs over easy with fresh diced tomatoes and cucumbers, and glass of apple cider. I wish I didn’t know this was a dream so I could be in there eating right now.

Trying to ignore the scent of breakfast, I glanced back to the forest trying to figure it out. There was something even more different about it that last time. Was it getting closer or further away? Is that light or shadow surrounding it. Why can’t I figure out these simple questions? I can’t even tell if I’m getting a good or a bad vibe from it.

My hands automatically grabbed my head, they ran through my hair roughly. The sound of the cab pulling up snapped me back from my thoughts and made me realize what memory this was.

“Well, look what Ifrit shat out!” myself said as he walked out the front door of the house.

He was twenty years old. I had started my studies two years earlier at the local academy, so I was able to live at home. Unlike my brother. He decided to go all the way to Brinwall, the Capitol.

We both had the same goal, but I was in no rush to move up the ranks. Joining the Clarent had been our dream since our first bedtime story.

The Clarent were the ones in many of the old adventure stories. Powerful mages sent out on harrowing missions. The only ones that could go up against the scariest creatures. But they were more than a mere folk tale.

Above the Auditors, they are adept mages able to use many of the different forms of magic. Though each of them specializes in their own particular area, they are still more powerful than most in many of the fields.

Most of the time it could take many years to become even close to being as adept at a single art. Sometimes people were born with the naturally ability. Then there were the select few who would devote all their waking time to nothing but their studies and make the cut in a matter of five years or so. But doing so was a very daunting task and had been the cause of many a students deaths.

“Wow, you really do look like Ifrit shat you out.” To say I was worried would have been an understatement.

His face twisted into a feeble smile with what I imagined was all the energy his body wasn’t using to stand up with. “It’s been a rough week. The head alchemist forced me to take a few days off. Said he didn’t want me dying on his floor.”

Hearing this didn’t make me worry any less at the time. I watched as we hugged, and wrapped my arm around him to help him into the house. After they were gone I turned my attention back to the forest, finally deciding to a closer look at it.

I took one step in its direction when a gust of searing hot air rushed at me out of nowhere. It was quickly followed by the quiet whispers of....something. Should I be frightened? I’m not. It was actually kind of nice and familiar, but why?

I started walking down the hill. Then it hit me, I don’t remember having ever walked down this hill my entire life. There was not a single familiar feeling as I reached the bottom. Had I lived in that house my entire life without venturing around outside to see what was beyond it?

The sparse trees at the bottom of the hill that decorated the landscape from here to the forest were simply alien to me. They didn’t look like a single tree I recalled from my studies. The closer I got the more I realized that, yes, they didn’t look like a single tree I recalled. They looked like an amalgamation of all the trees I could remember.

Huge round trees, with bark like a pine, but white and peeling in some places. The branches adorned like a Willow. The different characteristics went on and on, but I couldn’t look at them for long. They were abominations. As if they were broken fragments trying to fit together.

I tried to hurry past them while looking mostly at the ground. It was much more tame. A lush green wild grass. The occasional bunch of small yellow flowers bunched up.

Then I realized it wasn’t an occasional bunch, it was the same exact bunch over and over. I chanced a look up at the trees and noticed that I hadn’t moved from the bottom of the hill. I thought I’d been walking for the better part of an hour. Even the sun agreed with me, but I was still standing there looking from the exact spot I had come off the hill earlier.

I turned to go back up the hill. “What the damned!” The forest was right there. I didn’t realize how much it surprised me until I noticed I had conjured a shield around myself.

I stood there wide-eyed for a moment. A shield? I conjured a shield? And without chanting?

The memory slapped me in the back of the head like an invisible hand. It was late Autumn, well after dusk. I stared at my handwritten notes trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I was summoning half shields and quarter shields, some not even big enough to protect my hand. I wasn’t exhausted, not even tired. All the energy from the magic had me wired, but it kept falling short. Something was missing. I stood again and chanted, forming a shield around my body. That was simple, so what was keeping me from doing so with thought alone?

I skimmed over the notes again. “Yes, yes, I know silent conjuring is more than just thinking the spell!” I flipped through the pages so hard I was almost tearing them out. “Aligning energies, twelve points...” Mentally slapping myself, I wipe away the parchments on top of the Adept Studies in Evocation.

Having been opened to the same page for the last few days, I skimmed my finger across the page until I came across the sentence I was looking for “Unlike the twelve points of energy the verbal conjuration of Xathsoq’s Wall, there are only eleven point of concentration needed for the silent conjuration. Whereas this may seem like a much simpler task, one needs to pour double the energy thereby making the Wall stronger.”

“By Ifrit’s ballsack, I’m such an idiot!” I steadied myself, picturing the eleven points. Three above my head connecting to the four at the center of my body, and the four at the ground around my feet. Concentrating, I mentally called forth the barrier with an almost static zip.

I looked back at the forest quizzically, as if I had been gone for hours. “How did I forget that? Have I forgotten anything else? How willl I know if I have unless I remember it?” I sat down for a moment too worried to think about the forest in front of me. I needed to meditate, I had to find answers.

Slowly, my eyes began meeting the forest again. What if the answers are in there? Then again, what if I need the answers before I go in there.

Before I could make up my mind the sound of bells ringing an ominous tone began drowning everything out.

I looked up to see Auditor Kulver staring down at me. She looked like she was in a pleasant mood. That probably means something bad for me, so I guessed “Time for the trial?” Her smile got bigger.

She turned her head away from me. “SiO2-83 please take the prisoner to the holding area. Auditor 7487 will give you further instructions when you arrive. Please follow her orders.”

Before the creature picked me up I tried conjuring a shield. I didn’t know what I was being put on trial for, but it can’t be good. I concentrated on the eleven points and then...nothing, I couldn’t pull any magic. Not a single drop.

The look on my face must have been readable, Kulver formed that familiar smirk “You didn’t think we would take chances with Ex-Clarent did you? I silenced you before you awoke after the trainwreck. And you will be silenced until you die for everything you’ve done.” Her anger rose as she spoke. She turned and left without another word, probably so she wouldn’t do something stupid.

The large green and red creature picked my immovable body up and carried me out of the plain gray four walled cell. This had been the first time I’d seen the room, and most likely the last if Kulver had her way.

All I could do was hope that whomever was putting me on trial would listen to me and know that I didn’t do anything that I’ve been accused of doing. Then again, I did forget I....was a Clarent? Auditor Kulver’s words sunk in. If I couldn’t remember that then I probably did do everything she said. I muttered to myself “I hope the trial at least helps me remember something...”

I didn’t realize the girl from the night of the train wreck was standing in front of me. Now that I could see her better, she looked as if she should still be doing her studies. She was a light brunette with almost silver eyes. A little pixie of a nose that didn’t fit her face right. Even at her young age I could tell she laughed a lot, but she didn’t seem like she wanted to now.

I hoped she could answer a few questions for me. “Auditor 7487 I’m guessing? Could you....” I was cut off abruptly by her apparent lack of wanting to talk to me.

There was no spite or sneer or really any facial expression. She just raised her thumb to my forehead and there I was, staring back up at the forest once again.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


The sound of grinding steel on steel brought me out of the blackness. Pain was everywhere and so was blood. I could see it dripping down my hands and landing on the floor. I look up to see the trail leading towards the front of the train. I’m on a train, how did I get here? I tried to remember but my head seems to have other plans. I think I’ll just black out and let this thing carry me....wait, what the hell is carrying me! I try to scramble a hold with my feet and hands, but they were just sliding against the metal body. I’m pinned over it’s shoulder solid enough that I can’t even wiggle. I try to yell but nothing comes out. Why doesn’t anything come out!

I can feel my body give up the fight. The muscles in my legs feel like they are ripping as they stop responding to my panicked commands. The blood on my hands have made my attempts at grabbing anything close to me impossible. Blood, how much have I lost? I start to feel woozy thinking about it as my body tires. I can’t do it anymore. I’m going to die. I’ll just lie here and watch the blood streaked floor pass until it’s over.

A small puddle of blood starts forming on the floor. We’ve stopped. This is it. Time to die. The creature pulls me from his shoulder and puts me in a ball between his hands. This is my first look at it. It’s whole body is a grayish metallic color. I could only tell where the eyes were because they look like a liquid metal. No pupils, but I can tell it is staring at me. If I could move this would be the time to try and react. It’s going to crush me while I stare at it. I feel the warmth of my tears rolling down my face as the creature pulls me towards its body and towards the floor. The metal slides over me, pushing against me. I’m secured but not being crushed. Light rushes in through holes in the top. What the hell is happening? What is this thing!

Just as I start fighting again the explosion echoes through the inside of the creature, deafening me. I can’t tell if the world is spinning or just my head. I can barely breath as hot air blasts through the holes. The exhaustion, most likely from the blood loss, finally catches up and blackness slams into me much like the explosion would have. I welcome it.

The stars are the first thing that greet me as I open my eyes again. Am I here? Is this the other world? I reach my hand skyward and notice there is no response from my arm. About the same time I realize I can’t feel anything I notice there was no noise. I turn my head to the left, the pain is almost blinding. I close my eyes waiting for it to disperse and almost blackout again. When I open my eyes I can see at least thirty people in the distance around the wreckage of the train. I strain to say something, but my throat is dry and scratchy. I can’t tell if anything comes out. Something must have because a pair of boots quickly come into view followed by a face. Her mouth is moving and she looks quite pissed. I can’t make out what she’s saying. I try again to say something, still hurting, but I can feel the vibration of the sounds I’m making.

The woman must understood my “can’t hear you” because she takes something out of her pocket and leans over to inspect my ear. Her chest almost in my face, I can’t help but notice the symbol on her jacket. I know that symbol, but what is it? Lot’s of circles overlapping each other, I know this, I do, but why can’t I think of it? Forgetting all about the badge I try to lift my hand to scratch my ear. A terrible itching and pain mingle together. More annoying than any injury I’ve had since I woke up on the train. I want to reach in and tear the inside of my ear out! I close my eyes and grit my teeth trying to ignore it the best I can. All of the sudden my head is flooded with sounds as the annoyance disappears.

The look on my face must have told her my hearing has returned. She placed her hand on my forehead, chanting something I can’t quite make out. Everything fell silent again. Everything but her voice.

“Can you hear me?” She looked like she’s been skipping on a lot of sleep. Her exhaustion was palpable.

Hesitant at first, I tried speaking again, not sure if I could. The sound was scratchy and dry, but it was definitely my voice. “Yes.” There was a slight tickle/ache as I said it. I don’t think I’m going to be able to make long sentences. So I decided to just go with single words, my head was still really foggy.

“Where?....What?” Where am I? What happened? Is what I meant to say. I’m not sure if she is understanding that, because that look she is giving me doesn’t look like it.

She stood up, brown leather boots in my face. “Are you Bartresq Hudson?” It was a simple question, but one with a lot of anger behind it. I don’t think I’d want to be....wait, that is my name!

“” I was right, a lot of anger. She put her hands together is a strange symbol and spoke quietly, then the sound came rushing back. She walked out of my sight. I could hear her voice yelling, but with the rush of sounds I couldn’t make out what she was saying.

What is going on? I still can’t feel my body or move. The scent of burning wood, steel, and blood were all around.The sound of heavy footsteps getting closer pulls my attention just as I started to resign myself to staring at the stars again.

“SiO2-83, please hold the prisoner up.” Her voice seemed to have a bit of pep in it this time. Wait, prisoner? What?

I tried struggling, but the only thing moving is my head. Out of the corner of my eye I see the large creature, much like the one that carried me on the train. This one was green with splotches of red. Bloodstone, yes, that’s the name of the mineral. It stood there, holding me upright to face the carnage I was rescued from.

I lost my breath before I could start voicing my protest at being labeled a prisoner. The scene was horrible. The train I had been on was crumpled like a piece of paper. It must have been going full speed because the houses around it didn’t stop it as it derailed. There were rows of bodies being layed out by uniformed people that were sifting through the wreckage. Magi rescue workers trying their best to put out the flames and heal those still alive.

A woman wandered aimlessly calling out a name as two of the rescue workers ran after her. Sheets covering the bodies were stained with the dead beneath them as she started running towards them. I had to turn away afraid that she might find the child she was most likely looking for.

The bile in my stomach rising. “What happened here?” I would be under one of those sheets if that creature hadn’t saved me. Would someone be looking for me?

The woman walked in front of me to block the scene. I could see her much better now. Her blue and grey cloak ran to her waist. The hood was pulled back showing her light brown disheveled hair. Her dark brown eyed looked to have a new fire behind them. The disgust was apparent on her lightly tanned face, her lips in an upside down smile.

“I, Auditor 74892, have placed you under magical containment for your crimes as stated under article 2 section 7.62b of Brodshav’s Codex. You will be transported to a proper holding facility until your trial.” She sounded like she’d said this speech a thousand times, and probably had. I could tell she enjoyed it.

We stare each other down for a moment as I try to process what just happened. I’m under containment? Wait, what’s ‘article 2 section 7.62b? Realization dawning on me as I see the wreckage behind her. And then? Anger. “You think I did this? Are you crazy? I don’t know what happened, but I know I could never have done something like that!”

I guess I said something to surprise her AND piss her off. Some one off to my left rushed up to grab her as she held her hand towards me. I could hear the young girl whisper to her “Don’t do it Kulver. We all want desecrate this man’s mind but you know he’ll get worse than what we can do.”

I can’t tell if I’m more angry or confused, probably both. “Could someone tell me what the damned is going on?” Apparently I’m not the only one angry, the girl turned fast and was going to slap me until Kulver caught her hand.

She wasn’t paying me any mind “You’re right, he will. We can’t do anything we may be punished
for, no matter how much happier we would be.”She let go of the girls hand, sending her off to hopefully assist any survivors. Her gaze met the eyes of the large creature holding me “SiO2-83 please carry the contained to the truck.”

Effortlessly, it turned and started walking. Off to my left, there was yelling. Auditor Kulver’s voice was easily heard over it. “Contain the damn thing!” The yelling quieted. Then a new voice, a familiar voice “Hg80-318 I command you to protect Bartresq. He is now your master, please watch over him!”

The words sprang out before I could even think. “Who was that! I know that voice! Tell me now!” Auditor Kulver rushed over, telling the creature to halt. She placed her thumb on my forehead and then....darkness. A field, the sun. brother? The words came easily and automatically “Bartyraq, I thought you’d be too scared to sneak away from your training.”

He was out of breath from running, his hands on his knees. “I told you I’d come, didn’t I? Besides, you’re birthday is more important that my training. Just don’t tell them that.” He winked and rustled my hair.

We walked towards the house in the middle of the field. A small two story place with wooden stairs on the side. There were two windows, one on each side of the door. One of them was boarded up. A little mishap from my magical studies. He looked at the window “still haven’t figured out how to fix it?” He laughed.

I was a bit embarrassed, but I was more happy to have him there “No, but I can show you how I broke it.” I laughed back.

Then I stopped, staring at the forest to the west. Something was off. Bartaryq continued walking towards the house. talking as if I hadn’t stopped. Not bothering to turn and ask what was wrong. Then I turned to look at him and saw why. I was there beside him, still walking to the house. This was just a memory. But that forest was still off. Before I could try to figure anything out I heard a voice, a voice I knew. A voice of a person I knew I didn’t like.

I snapped awake, not tired at all. Still not able to move. This made me grumpy. Auditor Kulver sat across the table from me. This made me even more grumpy. No one would tell me what was going on, but she looked like she wanted me to know. And not in a friendly manner.

She walked over and placed my left hand, roughly, on the table inside a chalk circle. A line of chalk connected it to one on the other side. She sat back down, placed her right hand in the other circle. I could no longer see her. The image of the train wreck was blinding me. She spoke.

“You are charged with being a Kalku. You have been witnessed practicing arts that have been forbidden since ancient times. You have been witnessed stealing ancient artifacts for the sole purpose of releasing an unknown quantity on the world. You have been witnessed taking the life of persons by both your hand and the elements. You are accused of causing the Sonamora Train Incident which took the lives of 203 men, women, and children. And you are accused of the crime of hereditary execution.” Finally she paused, but not long enough for me to take it all in.
“Your trial is set for the morning. Until then you will be placed back under full containment.”

“I what?! I didn’t do any of that. What the hell is going on?” She leaned across the table, placing her thumb on my forehead again. I turned away before she started whispering, but she just grabbed my head with her other hand and continued. The darkness came again, and then that forest....