225 Days Until the Examinations of The Uncertain End (part 1)
Zeydar spun his staff around having what he could only describe as fun. Out of all the practical tests, the full force final practical was the easiest. He had always known it would be the easiest, but this was downright comical. Or perhaps it was too easy from the way that the world moved in color before him, slightly different hues and distinct variations to the colors where magic was coming. He did not know what all of them meant, was not sure he wanted to, but it and the whisper against his skin told him what was coming, from where, and when. He defended, and destroyed targets with the specialty they had given him, a specialty that he was almost convinced to drop as he could do much more and show off far more, but did not.
The magic would not control him, no matter how much it wanted him to use it.
In his head he sang himself a birthday song. Thousands of eyes were watching the practice field as he moved upon it. His legs were weak and tired, his body sore and aching, but the magic balanced him, guided him, taught him how to move within it. And so his movements were fluid, connected, perfected. His skin crawled, his body was drenched in sweat, and he felt all too cold, his eyes were clouded. He felt shakes over come him and a desire to throw up, but then his body would stop sweating and would feel warmer, would stabilize and would begin its flip. He could see without needing to see, and he needed to. The magic was compensating for his lack of Dreams to control it, and everything was only getting that much worse. Soon the sweet balance would be lost and he’d be overwhelmed.
He needed to last until then.
Midday, he understood as the last target fell and he placed his staff to the ground. It lit up in the way only his staff did, in a way only his could. Black like oil, changing between blues, grey, purples, but also like a galaxy with greens and white flecks. Yellows, reds, oranges all sparking from within and illuminating outwards. Where Class 1s had iridescence like bubbles in the sky, colorless but a prism, he had the night sky a galaxy and array. Covered up by a lie that he was not yet a Superior and so his Staff was limited, no one would ask. It was a designation between Superiors and simple Class 1s, which if anyone did their research, they’d know to be a lie.
Maybe May brought cake. How he hoped. Some sugar would be a nice pick-me-up between this exam and the next one. He did not have many left, having forced the Superiors into give them to him one after another with only so much as a break as it was to walk between locations. This was far easier than waiting to hear when and where the next would be, in a fear that it could change at any moment. This? This was within his controls far more.
It also meant he finished faster. And if they weren’t going to give him tea then he needed to finish faster.
He had his final written, final verbal, and his Superior interview. Three left. He could get through three more… not that this one was over. He still had the second part of the final practical: an actual battle. Did he care much? Not particularly. It too would be easy.
Today was his birthday, making him the oldest Class 1 to attempt their Superior exams. To think he had gone from being the youngest to being the oldest, at twenty-five. If they had it their way, he’d never become a Superior.
They were not having it their way.
Zeydar turned to the entrance to the arena waiting for his opponent. Who ever it was, he’d be uncompromising. His magic turned around him with the opening of the doors, and a few Military Magicians walking out, all Class 2s. May was included.
“Surprise to see you here May.” Zeydar called to her trying to conceal his thinly veiled sarcasm in smiles. Of course they would pick May. They’d never send a Superior after him. Sending his best friend was all too easy. “First blood or yield?”
First blood they had on their side and advantage. First blood would also ensure that he was able not to hurt them more than necessary. However, Military Magicians were built to get back up no matter what. It would be a shame to yield. Tossing the thought in his mind, he knew the answer as they prepared. Once they all stood ready to fight Zeydar decided to speak again.
“First blood? Excellent. First blood.” Zeydar confirmed before they could answer. He knew it was supposed to be until yield, from the way they were prepared. It was designed to wear him down so he would be unable to complete the next three. Instead he’d have to destroy them quickly. In a way that didn’t cripple them, but made it so they were knocked out so the yield wouldn’t be questioned either. “Easy enough. I have to knock you all out and you have to get me. Seems fair.”
Zeydar steadied his breath and kept all wandering thoughts to the battle before him. He could not blink and lose focus. He could not focus on the caress of magic that was starting to feel like the scraping of knives. Although, when was the last time he had faced off on his own against many — no. Focus. He’d need to get May out first. She was not his antithesis — the person in the match purposely put in the battle to counter his magic, the fire mage — technically none of them were — he had no true specialty but the ones the Superiors forced upon him — but he had to keep to his specialty. The reason he chose May first was because she was his friend. Get out May, work from there.
Zeydra turned his eyes up to the hooded Superiors who looked upon them.
“Begin.” Majorie spoke and Zeydar moved first. Shields up, magic spinning, he aimed for May making it clear she was his target. First May, next the healer, then his “antithesis” and lastly the remains. Strategy would have been different in the case of a yielding battle, aiming for the healer first, but in first blood that did not matter. In first blood, who ever bled first was out. That meant he had to take them all down, as he would in yield anyway. Typically first blood was not used in team matches because the team would be counted as one. Zeydar knew this. He also knew it didn’t matter. The Superiors wouldn’t call it. So Zeydar fought.
The Military Mages had number advantage on him, but he had magic’s touch.
Words were strung together, spells were cast, and the world guided him. Dodging attacks, Zeydar weaved his own creating an atmosphere of oppression within his mind as he felt the world ache. Words were too long. Words were too tedious. Let lose, his mind told him. His magic ached to be free by his thoughts, not by his carefully dictated study. Yet he reminded himself: magic needed words. Magic needed a staff. He was not going to be an aberration.
May was out, Staff shattered and cheek bleeding, followed shortly after by the healer who he knocked out cold, leaving Zeydar to focus on those who circled him, trying to get his Staff from his hands. Easiest way to injure a Class 1 was to get their Staff out of their hand. But he didn’t need it. Dropping his main visible staff, Zeydar contorted the magic to follow a different path. There was no rule against two Staffs. Most were supposed to always have two on them, and they knew that. Everyone knew that, even if they didn’t know how many Zeydar had. However, reminding them of this fact pushed them back so that he could grab his main Staff again and continue the assault.
One by one his opponents fell, not from dangerous injuries but from first blood of simple injuries or being knocked out cold. Zeydar made it clear that he had been in control of the battle, from start to finish. He had knocked out the major dangers and tried to make it clear he could have done it to all of them.
Breathing in, the world fed his lungs and his head pounded. Too much magic all too quickly filled him and it scratched at him from inside, in need of a release. Focusing on one thing for enough time to keep the world from spinning Zeydar stood victor. His body felt hot, but was shivering all at the same time. Breathing was painful despite how easy it was. It was as if he had been deprived of the air all his life and he couldn’t get enough of it, it hurt so much. His skin felt as if it were bleeding from pressure inside of him and from the scrapes of magic outside of his body. He needed Sweet Dreams.
“Alright.” Zeydar turned to the Superiors. Nothing could be wrong, and so he showed no fear. He showed no pain. He showed no weakness. “Final verbal? I will meet you there.” Zeydar then turned to May, walking to her and offering her a hand. “Did you bring a cake?”
She took his hand and stood up. Wiping his hand over her cheek he healed her. “Is that all you can think about? Cake isn’t healthy for you to eat on this tirade.”
“Cake has sugar. It’s perfectly fine. Plus it’s my birthday.” He kissed her cheek. A healer came to the field to heal those he hand knocked out. “You are supposed to spoil me.”
“I can not believe you Zeydar. This is reckless.”
No, reckless was entrusting his future to these people and letting them have their way. This? This was him defending himself and proving them wrong. “I suppose so. Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get cake. How about this. I buy you a new Staff and you get me cake?”
“I can get you cake. No need for the Staff, this was my Military one. I can get another easily.” May sighed as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
“Three tests left.” He cheered as they left the field, trying to keep his persona up.
“Two and your final graduation interview.” May disagreed, running her hands along his clothes feeling the stains of sweat and disgrace. She said nothing. Luckily he could shower and change after his battle before the next test. It would be expected.
“That’s what I said.” Zeydar dropped his arm from her and looked to the men’s showers.
“How long will it take you?” She asked him as he started off.
“Not too long. Go ahead and get the cake!” Shower first, maybe cake, then tests, and then Sweet Dreams and sleep. How wonderful sleep sounded, but not yet. Still he had three tests more. As if the interview was not a test.
Sorry in the lateness of this. I only realized after I started posting for December 1st that I had forgotten to give you this. lol here you go.