199 Days Until Dread And the Uncertain End
Zeydar felt the strangest itch on the back of his spine. It was not a normal itch, as in one he could scratch. It was not a pain from pulling something in his wild escape, or the lightness of a bug crawling over his skin. It was the touch of magic, circling its way through his body ready to capture him in its grasps. The Superiors, he understood as he snapped off the magic before it could take hold and root itself in him. He was not broken from their connection, but severed from it in a way that only he had control, hopefully. They could not control him again and he knew he was safe from afar. He had no idea how it would work when he saw them again. Being free from them from the time being was the best he could ask for.
What fascinated him about being free now was that he thought about before. He thought of his wild thoughts from days before — although it felt like forever ago at this point and who was he to disagree? —and the fact that he had been able to take control over his body, mind, soul, and magic. Then he’d felt unified in a way that was painful, but liberating all at once. Everything had been far too overwhelming, compared to the detached dream that he lived in daily, however he had control again. If he told the others that he wished to break free of Sweet Dream completely, it would be far from a lie. He’d tasted sobriety in it’s painful vivacity and he wanted it. He wanted that power over his life, something he had long forgotten since the collapse of Arcadia that was not his fault.
Not his fault.
Who knew if the others had any idea what sort of revelation that was to him. It was as if a whole weight had lifted off his shoulders, or at least a lot of it. There was still the dread of not being able to save everyone in Valaria, nor being able to stop the collapse in Arcadia. He could still remember the pain, the screams, the horrors. He was still a bit to blame, but the general collapse was not his fault. He had activated it, but it had been planned far before. On that realization, all he had was righteous fury directed at the Superiors who had led him to believe it was his fault.
For far, far too long.
“Zeydar. You okay?” Kony asked him, snapping Zeydar from his thoughts and to focus on the fledgling mage before him. Kony was being trained haphazardly, through private study — which the boy was actually doing thoroughly — and Zeydar’s blundering teaching. They had to find Kony’s emphasis and element, or rather Kony had to understand it because Zeydar already knew. Kony was better at air offensive magic, they type that would come in handy for fighting, sometimes.
“I’m fine.” Zeydar stretched once more. They only had so much time each day to practice magic, for him to teach Kony. “Got distracted. Did you finish the exercises?”
“You realize that I can’t do all of them.” Kony stated without a hint of anger, frustration perhaps, but not anger.
“With enough control you’ll be able to do all of them.” Zeydar said the words but chastised himself, because he had to be a better teacher. Kony was relying on him.
Kony was an offensive mage. Zeydar had sent healing magic to everyone using Kony as a Staff, but Kony did not specialize in healing. He had hoped to, to be the support for their family, but he was not. It seemed as if his body knew what it wanted over the practicality that would come with being a healer. Air as an offensive suit was limiting, Zeydar had been taught. It was a defensive based magic, better at hiding, concealing, controlling, not attacking. Yet it was Kony’s speciality, and Zeydar wondered just how sharp wind could be.
“How long will control take?” Kony asked without a complaint. “Continuing the practices you gave me, I mean.”
“Read and practice, and it’ll come quickly, and once you can feel the magic then you can train it.” What Kony had was a slow start, but what it meant was that he was able to use magic immediately. Once his body knew the energy, it would not need to be protected as a child’s body was. He’d be able to start using real spells soon. “Read over all the spells.”
“And once I know my element specialty.” Once Kony knew, because Zeydar already did, but the kid had to find it himself.
“Then I’ll give you those book names.” Zeydar already had them all planned out. In part Zeydar wondered just what Kony would be able to do with Wind when it wasn’t as strong as it could be, and he thought and wondered and thought about himself.
Kony had full access to the books that Zeydar had stollen, not that Zeydar needed them. Zeydar had a feeling that getting to know his magic was going to be a lot more about trial and error than reading theory books that were not built for him. He heard the whisper of magic, felt the touch of it, breathed it, felt as if he could see it. Magic was his world and everything. How, he wondered, would he ever be able to find how to control that in a book.
He had to listen to his gut on this and trust himself.
He had to let go.
“Alright.” Uly walked up to them. He spoke directly to Zeydar. “I hid away your stash, and we are working off your strict regimen. You realize that it’s going to drain you?”
“I’ll have to keep up my strength and motivation to keep going. Don’t let me slack and I’ll be fine.” He had to be fine, because that freedom had been there. He had tasted it for the smallest of moments when the hurricane of senses had been at its peak. He had felt it and he wanted it.
Uly went on. “You’ll be training Kony and learning our—“
“I’ll be fine.” Zeydar had done it before on his own, with EverDanger and their facilities. Now on the run he could do it. He could get use to the low dosages again. Cut himself off, and get low, then get off. He could do it. He almost did it before, and now he would do it again. The magic, he needed it more than anything Sweet Dreams would give him. That clarity, that power, the eye of the storm had shown him and he was not turning back.
“Even with Arcadia.” Uly did not ask, it was an insistence of certainty.
They knew. They knew that he self medicated about the tragedy. They knew he was the cause, but Zeydar needed the freedom again. “No. But I’ll have to be.”
“Just don’t… Hold it in.” Uly’s voice dropped to one of care, telling Zeydar he had made perhaps one of the best decisions he could. Because these people did care. They wouldn’t be trying to save the world if they didn’t.
“I won’t.” Holding it in would help no one. None of them were professionals, no, but clinging to a method that was used to hurt him, to begin with, and caused that tragedy, was helping no one. If he wanted to make it up to those people and the world, he needed to save them along with Evester and Heia and EverDanger. Somehow Zeydar felt he was the only one who truly had the power to do that. “Now teach me how to kill Aralax.”