A/N: WOOHOO! Sorcerer's Apprentice was so awesome. So much potential just brimming in the cauldron (see what I did there? Wizardry pun!), and so I'm going to take advantage of it and gonna write stuff! Yay FANFICTION!
Here's a one-shot, and if I'm right, it's the first SA one shot. And a silly one, too. The one my beta wrote, Phoenix Burn (go check it out NOW), would be the first SA multi-chap one! I'll come up with one soon, but here's a small romp in the fandom, first. :D
Thanks to LoremIpsum for beta-ing!
Disclaimer: The Mouse owns Sorcerer's Apprentice. I'm just playing in their circle. (see! Yet another wizardry pun!) And the whole idea of magic in here was derived and borrowed from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (if you liked SA, then you'll like this book series. TRUST ME.). I OWN NOTHING, except maybe Cadry, but man, even the idea of him I borrowed from Dresden Files! So, again, own nothing, sue me not.
The Incantus. A handy huge dusty old book that needs a new book-binding job, along with a little trimming. It isn't something that you would expect to find in the NYC library. The thick book covered a third of my desk, and it sat there along with a few pens, nuts, bolts, my physics book and a notepad, along with some other junk. Balthazar, my "master", as he wanted me to call him (I asked if I could just call him 'Sir', or 'Sensei' or something, but he refused. I try not to call him 'master' in public. It sends out wrong connotations. I already have a bad reputation as it is.), barely waved a finger, and the wind blew over the pages of the old tome, and settled somewhere in the middle.
I looked at the illustrations of a simple circle, with some sort of smudge in the middle. The text under it was written in runes at first, but with a simple wave of my hand and a simple effort of will, it translated itself into English.
Summoning, it started, and continued on into a long explanation of how to do it. I would have read on, but my brain stalled on the word "summoning" at first glance.
"Summoning?" I mouthed, and turned to Balthazar. "You want me to do a summoning?"
"Yes." Balthazar nodded, and gestured at the flaming circle before him. He stood from afar, with his hands clasped behind his back. "Summoning entities and the like from the Otherworld is very useful. I have acquired the services of some of them, asking for information and favors."
"So, what, I get to talk to my long dead grandmother or something?" I liked my grandmother. She used to give me cookies. Not that I plan to talk to her anytime soon – I was still a little skeptical about this. Summoning? Images of men in dark robes chanting away and dancing in time to a beat popped up in my mind, and I grimaced.
I hope it didn't involve anything like that.
And summoning sounded dangerous as heck. I flipped another page, and a picture of a dark figure rising from a flaming circle with a pentagram inside it emerged. I stepped back a little.
"It's plausible." Balthazar had started to pace, gesturing a little, waving a hand at the circle every now and again. "You could also summon creatures to help, or you could trade for information."
"What kind of creatures?"
The pages of the Incantus flipped again, and settled on a long listing of magical creatures. From brownies to vampires… is that Cthulhu in there? That's just weird.
"Faeries, demons and the like." Balthazar summarized, and the page actually lengthened, and like a long scroll unfolded itself, then rolled a few meters away from me. With all this power in the world, using a hundred percent of our brains, no one thought to actually just put it into a portable laptop database which you can access with one click. Like Wikipedia. Or Google.
"Can we do that?" The questions slipped out of my mouth before I could even think about it. It was a fair question – even if it had been months since I "saved the world from the forces of evil" (as Becky referred to it), it was still a little hard to swallow. All this power, all this information… it was still new to me.
I keep expecting to wake up some time, drooling on my chemistry text book, late for class, and back to reality without Becky, without Balthazar, without the Incantus, without magic... back to being an insignificant nobody whose plans after college are confined to three words, namely, 'get a job.'
Balthazar shook his head. "You know, kid, we've been at this for months now, and with every new thing I teach you keep asking me the same questions. You defeated a very powerful sorceress, Dave. You saved my life. You saved the world." A smile broke the corner of his lips. "You have got to believe in yourself. You have got to believe in all of this."
I just nodded, and shrugged. "Okay, how do I do it?"
"The Circle is a very important magical construct that channels our energies into one point. It can keep out energies and physical objects, but likewise, it can also keep them in, as I have taught you." I still remembered that. Trust me, when your master tells you not to try and force your way out of a three-layered magic circle, no matter how innocuous it may seem, follow him. It would save you from a lot of pain.
I nodded, and prepared a circle with a piece of chalk. I could do the whole circle of fire thing, of course, or I could already use the circle permanently embedded in my lab, but Balthazar had been teaching me to be a little more mobile and to be not-so-obvious with my magic. A circle of green, glowing fire is unnatural. An innocent circle of chalk is something people can swallow.
"We're going to try and start with something small first. Maybe a brownie." With a stretch of my mentor's hand, the Incantus flew towards him in an arc, and landed neatly in his lap. The length of the scroll like page lengthened, and Balthazar traced the list with a finger. I resisted the urge to tap my foot a little. 'Patience.' My master had repeatedly told me. 'It's a virtue, and it keeps you from burning off your finger as you're doing some delicate fire spells.'
"Here's a Name." He spoke the word "Name" with an obvious capital N. My mentor gestured to me, then to the book, and I took a look. "He is a small faery, the size of the fairies on that movie with the flying boy – I keep forgetting what it's called."
"Peter Pan." I provided, and Balthazar nodded.
"I used to call on him and his friends to see if they could scout around for me to see if there was any trouble. Other than Horvath, there are also a bunch of other supernatural beings that would wreak havoc every now and again."
I took the heavy book from Balthazar's arms, and took a peek at the name. "Cadr-… Cadri-… Cadry-eni-…"
"Cadryeneiuth." Balthazar whispered with a weird, detached lilt.
"That's a mouthful." I said. I opened my mouth to try it out for myself, but my master stopped me with a hand on my arm.
"No, Dave. Unless you're ready to summon someone, do not say their Name lightly. There was a reason I spoke Cadry's Name like that earlier. Someone's Name, even yours and mine, are attached to individuals magically. Speak it in the right way, and you would risk yanking their chain into your circle immediately."
"It's what he went by whenever I called him." Balthazar stood up, and grabbed a donut from a carton, and a cup of coffee we picked up earlier. He placed it into the circle. "Some of them require a little bait, like Cadry. And it wouldn't hurt to make some friends in the Otherworld, either."
He stood in front of the chalk circle. "Let me show you how to do it first."
Balthazar whispered the Name once, and I felt a soft breeze blow against my face as he did, telling me that magic was being willed into the Name. There was a short, audible whistle, and Balthazar repeated the Name. "Cadryeneiuth." He repeated. Balthazar flicked off the lights all of the sudden, and we stood there, waiting in the almost pitch-black darkness.
"Ah, what are we –"
My eyes adjusted a little to the darkness, and I blinked at the sudden small, blue light that zipped passed me. I felt Balthazar will the circle close with a flicker of his thought. I felt the magic raise the hair on my arms as he did.
The lights suddenly turned on, and I watched a small humanoid buzz around angrily inside, pounding against the invisible walls of the circle. It was maybe five inches tall, with blue hair cut close to his pointy ears. He had a pair of dragonfly wings, although a little bigger and more ornate for it sparkled in the fluorescent light. He was something that you'd imagine you could only see in movies – heck, he looks even more surreal and enchanting than whatever special effects anyone can come up with.
"You know my circles are strong, Cadry." My mentor spoke, and gestured at the food. "Go on and eat. That's for you."
The humanoid figure stopped buzzing, and with a small zipping sound, he attacked the donut. I stared at him, and watched as he devoured the powdered sweetness quickly.
He suddenly stopped, and took one look at me, and frowned. "Hasn't anyone ever told you it's rude to stare?" His voice was high-pitched, bordering cartoon's exaggeration, but still within the voice range of a small child.
"Oh, sorry." I murmured, and watched with fascination as he finished the coffee next. I wondered where all the food fit, and blinked as he sat beside the plate, rubbing his stomach with a content expression.
"Is there anything you need from me, Balthazar?" Cadry said, his wings flapping a little.
Balthazar looked at me, and I shrugged. "Might as well." He said, and turned to Cadry. "I want to ask if there have been any supernatural disturbances around the city? I know you watch people, Cadry."
Cadry shrugged, and stood up. "Nothing but the usual, Mr. B." The little faery flew up, and knocked lightly on the circle. "The trolls are still terrorizing people in the subway at times, weird doors into OtherWorld open in Central Park sometimes, but that's pretty normal. Can I go now, Balthazar? Please?"
Balthazar nodded, and smudged the circle with a shoe. "You may go."
The little faery disappeared with a blur of light, and I blinked at the crumbs on the floor and empty cup of coffee. "That was… interesting." I murmured.
Balthazar nodded, and gestured at the circle to me. "Now you try it." He scanned the book again to look for another name, when something suddenly chimed. I looked around, unable to place the noise.
I heard Balthazar speak behind me, and I turned to him quizzically. He was holding a piece of photograph in his hand, and started talking to it. I peeked over his shoulder, and saw Veronica chatting to him. A smile broke over his lips, and the man actually giggled.
And I thought I was in love.
I waited patiently for him to finish, practicing a bit with making things float, lighting candles, burning paper, playing with water, and the like. I had successfully misted up half of the room when my master looked up, and told me that he was going somewhere. There was still a ghost of a smile on his face.
Ah, Veronica. Of course. I let him do his stuff. They were apart for a thousand years, after all.
I sat for a while, waiting for him to come back. The lesson wasn't officially finished, at least, not until Balthazar actually says it is. The last time I left before he said so, I had to make the lab sparkly clean. Without magic. With a toothbrush. A thousand years to live, and that was the most creative punishment my master thought up for me.
Heh, it was better than the time I had to clean the steel eagle. You'd be surprised how many birds do nasty things to displays like that. Not to mention the eagle apparently hated to be scrubbed clean with water and soap.
Balthazar came back after a few minutes, and gestured at me to fix the circle, and that it was my turn to conjure someone up. He pointed at a word, and I frowned at him. "Are you kidding? Is that even possible to pronounce?"
"There's a reason I forced you to take those communication and diction courses." My mentor answered, and I sighed. Right.
"Does this little fairy want any bait, too?"
My mentor gestured to the donuts, and I picked a strawberry glazed one. I placed it in the middle of the circle on a small paper plate.
I inhaled deeply, and cleared my mind. I could feel the Name in my head, and I grasped it gingerly and delicately. Reaching out, I whispered the creature's Name.
There was a small whisper of air in my ear, and I could feel something being yanked, like the way it feels when I pull Tank along when he refuses to budge on the pavement.
When I said it the second time, though, something went wrong. I wasn't sure what it was – something yanked back with a huge pull, and my tongue slipped on a syllable.
Something else, something icy cold and burning hot, took a hold of me, and I jerked back.
"Close the circle Dave! Quick!"
I jumped in my place, and scrambled to lock the circle close. I felt the magic slowly inch its way along the circle of the chalk, and I gritted my teeth, and willed it to go faster.
Something that felt black and sludgy inched its way into the circle, and a small pinprick of light slammed into me. "He's coming he's coming run run!" The pinprick shrieked. It hid in my jacket.
The black sludge started to look like mist now, congealing to create some sort of wolf-like figure. I struggled, panicking to get the circle close.
From there everything seemed a little fuzzy. Balthazar pushed me to the floor, and went down himself. The black wolf flew over us. It had this slow motion effect, and I watched as it slammed into a post.
Balthazar pushed on me. "Run!"
He threw a plasma bolt, but the wolf evaded far too quickly. I threw a ball of fire next, and the monster snarled as I slapped it with the flame.
"Upstairs. Sunlight. Now!" Balthazar barked, and we scrambled up the stairs. I shot a plasma blot of my own towards the creature, and it growled at me, jumping up the stairs. "Don't stop. Run!" He pushed on me again, and sprayed the wolf with fire. I hauled the door open, and quickly slipped into the light. My master followed, and we sidestepped the black wolf who screeched in agony as the light hit him, melting him into a puddle of burning goo.
I sat on the ground, staring at the burning puddle. My breath came out in gasps. "Uh, is there any way we can skip summoning until I actually finish my diction courses?"
Balthazar nodded. "That would probably be for the best."
We headed down to the lab. I surveyed the damages. Some of my equipment had been knocked down, and papers were scattered everywhere. There were claw scratches on the stone, and a pile of trash was on fire. I quickly grabbed the fire extinguisher and sprayed the smoldering pile.
I turned, and stared in disbelief at the untouched strawberry glaze donut still sitting in the middle of the circle. That should be impossible.
"Hm?" Balthazar, who was busy picking up some things, turned to me with a questioning look on his face. I simply gestured at the donut, and Balthazar shrugged. "Magic," he simply said.
I shrugged. I picked up the donut gingerly, and placed it on my desk. It didn't seem like it would run and speak on its own any time soon, so I moved to put it into my mouth.
When I bit into it, I didn't expect to bite into air.
I frowned, and saw the donut float away from me, supported by a small light. I hear d a little squeal of laughter, and the donut vanished. "But… I wanted that." I mumbled, and sighed.
Balthazar placed a hand on my shoulder. "There are a lot of sacrifices we have to make as sorcerers, Dave."
Hurrah for my first SA ficcy! It's just a random bit of… randomness.