266 Days Until Memories Remain and The Uncertain End (part 1)
Zeydar held his staff out. He had many, but this was his favorite one. It was a thin rod a bit less than his height and just ever so heavy. Silver and black, designed to look like a branch of a tree. He held it and spun it with one hand not caring for the practice. The worst part of coming down from a Sweet Dream high was the way that reality dulled around him. His senses were muted. The colors faded. The sounds grew muffled. Everything was so much less. Or had it always been less? He’d been placed on small increments of Sweet Dreams to control his powers since he was a child. When he had found out, he had felt betrayed, but after what he had done to Arcadia… could he blame them?
“Begin when ever ready.” Marjorie instructed him.
“Understood.” Zeydar stopped spinning his staff and instead focused on the mana around him and within him. His Staff began to glow in iridescence, acting as his medium to use the magic. Spells were long winded, complicated, with incantations that had to be spoken in an even tone. With the incantation the magic circle appeared before him and around him reacting to his words. Words completed he pointed with his staff in the direction of the targets and shot the ice attack.
It wasn’t like ice attack magic was his specialty. The other Magicians and Superiors acted like it was the only element he had. His defensive magic was just as good. He was also able to use which ever element he wanted with ease, not particularly liking one over another. Yet, they said it was only ice. So, he only ever used ice for these assessments.
The next set of targets arrived and the next spell was given to him to be tested. He recited the spell after spell on targets after target. These sorts of tests were a monthly thing, something that they chose to do instead of working with him through his trauma and what had happened in Arcadia. They spoke as if it were the Aralax that had done it and these tests? They were trying to find the instability that had caused the destruction that day.
They were looking for a reason to kill him.
“Am I done?” Zeydar turned to his Superior, Marjorie. “I’ve done these all before.”
“We are not complete until—“
“We’ve done them all. I know.”
“Then why is it that you asked me?”
“I don’t want to do them. That’s the difference.”
“It’s hardly a reason to stop the tests. Continue.”
With a glare Zeydar turned back to the targets thinking of when he was a child. Back then he had struggled with these tests. With them doping him up and messing with his senses, he had always found it difficult to connect with the magic. And then each time he got back to a normality they upped the dosage. They continued it until he was able to control himself and make himself do anything, but make the mistake of knowing he could feel the magic on his skin.
He stopped talking about it. He started practicing on his own under their eyes, practicing how to miss, how to get his precision up and his accuracy up. He worked to become like the other Class 1s, to be what the Superiors wanted him to be. That meant no talking about how the magic tickled his body, and how he could feel how a spell was completed even with a misincantation. That meant keeping his eyes open even if the magic told him it would support him.
It meant bending to the Superiors.
Zeydar had learned that a long time ago. Now was no different. Even with his staff in hand, and his magic on his skin, coming down from a Sweet Dreams high, Zeydar knew not to stand out. Even if it meant missing on purpose.
“Good.” Marjorie called out to him letting him stop. “Your Superior exams have been decided.”
His next birthday was the day the exams began. They had to determine what tests to give him and now they had. Finally. Finally, after holding him back from being a Superior for years, he’d be able to graduate. All Class 1 Magicians were Superiors. It was their specific title when Class 2 and 3 were Magicians and Class 4 and 5 were technically not. Class 1s were Superiors. They were the teachers. They were the leaders of the Stars. Class 1s were the Superiors, and soon he’d be one. Added to their ranks of unknown numbers.
“Understood.” Zeydar placed his Staff to the ground. “I will prepare.”
“I suppose you shall.”
“Will I be warned on what the topics are?”
It was another way of saying that he would not. He would be kept in the dark in a way to make him fail and keep him from becoming a Superior yet again. Now that they couldn’t say he had trauma, or was too young, or in a new place, or because of the Catastrophe. Now they had no choice to test him. They needed him, but they wanted to control him.
“Thank you. Am I dismissed?”
With that Zeydar left the practice facility to walk by the other Stars on his way to his room and another round of Sweet Dreams. His skin was sweating and his mind begged for it. It was his escape from this hell.