Brian tossed and turned in his sleep the same dream had haunted him frequently since he defeated Mammon. He awoke with a jerk drowning in cold sweat. After catching his breath he crawled from his bed. He looked out the window and saw the sun rising just over the horizon.
He stood for a moment letting the sun and wind wash over him and scatter the last remnants of his nightmares. Brian had little time to be frightened by nightmares like a child but he couldn't help but wonder about them. The spirits at times moved in mysterious ways and perhaps these nightmares were meant to warn him.
He dressed silently deep in thought about what if anything his nightmares meant. Suddenly there was a knock at the wooden door. Snapping back to reality He threw his clock about his shoulders and seized his oak staff.
"Enter." He called.
The door swung open revealing his two apprentices. The two were brother and sister both dressed in loose robes similar to Brian's own and clutching simple wooden staffs. Under normal circumstances he wouldn't have more than one apprentice but since he was one of the last Spirit Tamers exceptions had to be made.
"Good morning Alex. Jessica." Brian said regarding the two in turn.
"Good morning Master Brian." The two apprentices replied together.
He hated being addressed as Master but he was in no mood to argue. He started towards them and they parted to allow him to pass and fell in behind him as he started down the corridor to an open field that they practiced on.
When they had reached the middle of the field Brian stopped and turned.
"Shall we begin?" He said turning his attention to Alex. "Alex. Let's start with you. Did you practice your fire spells like I told you?"
While Alex had shown a great deal of aptitude with earth spells he had never been able to manifest fire spells like any spirit tamer of his experience should.
"Yes, Master." Alex said a slight note of hesitation in his voice.
"Then show me."
Alex slowly gathered his focus and threw a small fireball from the end of his staff. Brian however easily countered with a wave of his own. He had improved but only slightly. He was still nowhere near where Brian thought he should be.
"That was good but you still need a lot of practice. Remember fire spirits can bolster your strength and let you keep fighting even if you magic power is gone."
"I know but...Never mind."
"Alex. If you want to talk we'll talk. You can talk to anyone here. We're your family."
The stone silence Brian received in return meant that Alex didn't want to pursue this matter further. So he turned his attention to Jessica.
"Now lets see how your doing Jessica."
Jessica was the beast of all the apprentices few though they were. They came from all walks of life. Some were the children of spirit tamers, some were simple farm folk looking for something more, and some were like Jessica and Alex who had no family.
Brian remembered it quite clearly. It had been a year after his return from recovering the Eletale Book. It was a particularly stormy night and they were no more than two years old. They and their mother seemed to simply appear on the monastery steps seeking sanctuary. The Grand Abbott naturally gave it to them.
Their mother was greatly injured and all who had the power to do so aided in the attempt to heal her wounds. Despite their efforts their mother was gone before sunrise. With no family that they knew of they were brought up in the monastery and when they were old enough they became apprentice spirit tamers. That was the way it had been since then.
The tree continued on for some time. The sun hung high in the sky before they had left to tend to their other duties.
It was just after sunset when Brian returned to his room. Where the Eletale Book sat just as he had left it that morning. He propped his staff against the wall and removed his cloak noting a small tear in it.
"Have to remember to patch that later." Brian muttered to himself.
He sat before the book and retrieved a small key that hung around his neck underneath his clothing. Something else that had been changed since it's theft along with entrusting it's care to someone still alive.
He opened the book and began to flip through its pages but he knew not to do so haphazardly for the glyphs and sigils found within the book could only be fully comprehended by the most advanced of spirit tamers and even then if they were misused they could cause more destruction than ten Days of Grief.
Several hours had passed before Brian closed the book and retired to his bed but elsewhere in the monastery there were those who had not sought the embrace of sleep.
With lights dim and voices hushed they spoke.
"Are you certain he's the one?" Said a growling voice.
"Yes. He possesses the book and defeated the demon Mammon but I don't understand why he's so important. Why can't we just kill him and take the book?"
"Fool!" The voice cried. "Such a thing would be noticed. We will deal with the tamer in time but first we must get him away from the protection of the monastery"
"And then we will destroy him and claim the power of all the spirits?"