Prompt 086: Choices
"You know sometimes I am envious of you guys." Said Becky smiling, lifting her cup. "You go through life using magic, and knowing how to solve puzzles, working to fix the unnatural problems of the world. I wish I could do a bit of magic myself."
_ Excerpt from To Have and To Hold
"So all you need to remember is how to…" Balthazar was interrupted by a big hawk landing on one of his pointy shoes. Dave heard his master gone silent and turned to see the bird squeaking and then cleaning its wings. Balthazar was staring at it, either studying it or about to kill it, Dave couldn't figure out that stare in Balthazar's face yet. He figured it was kill it because Balthazar raised his hand, about to shot a plasma bolt when the bird opened its wings and shook.
"What do you want?" asked Balthazar, eyebrow arched. It moved down to Balthazar's knee and shook again, offering its cargo. It was holding a piece of parchment strapped to its back. Balthazar took it, offer it one of the peanuts Becky had dropped by and it took off. "I used to have a hawk it was two times bigger than that." Said Balthazar finally, nodding towards the general direction of the bird while opening the piece of parchment.
"Where did that thing come from?" Asked Dave while getting out of the circle and frowning. Balthazar was reading calmly, as the boy approached. "What does it say?"
"You are asking too many questions." Balthazar was frowning slightly before looking away and clearing this throat. "It's an invitation."
"Really? For what?"
"Apparently some clan leaders would like to meet you." Balthazar offered the letter to Dave, who frowned.
"Clan leaders?" Dave read the letter. "They want me to show them I am the Prime Merlinian?" He asked, not really understanding what they wanted from him.
"Yes, you know the magic without the ring and all that jazz."
"I don't know man. I don't like it."
"Me either. I have no need to show you off." Said Balthazar looking up at the ceiling. "I can show Veronica off, but not you."
"Har, har, Balthazar." Said Dave, dropping on the small chairs across from Balthazar's recliner, the master staring at him as if nothing were wrong. "I can't do this, Balthazar."
"Reason why you have to practice hasting spells, Dave…"
"I meant this trip Balthazar, I'm anxious enough as it is. Isn't the ring proof enough?"
"Then we don't do it. I'll send back word that we are not going. We are still practicing and that we enjoy our privacy."
"That'll be rude."
"When have I cared about been nice?" Dave nodded after giving the thought a moment to process. "I'll write the note right now. You get back in the circle and remember, slow over haste, acceleration over belated." Dave did as ordered, happy his master was not forcing him to attend the meeting, and gave the phrase some more considerations. He was having troubles casting haste, but slowing down items had been a piece of cake, Dave had seen Balthazar do it on Horvath before the train had interrupted their meeting, and was currently trying to work on a basic haste spell. It was a very Final Fantasy thing and for once he was expecting his MP to drop. When he'd shared the through with Balthazar the old sorcerer had asked what MP were. They had gotten in to a battle of wits over video games and real life sorcery that ended when Becky came into the lab to check on Dave after she'd missed him on the train.
Balthazar searched around the tall desk for pen and paper, while Dave tried again; the spell was easy to conjure up, but to keep working was the hard part. At least from Dave's point of view. Putting on his glasses, Balthazar started writing. Dave lifted his hand, as his master had demonstrated before, then threw the spell towards the rat trying to struggle out of the small cage.
Balthazar turned to see, that in fact, Dave had managed to make the crazy critter move ten times faster. "Excellent. Now remove the spell." And he continued writing.
Two hours later, as they drank some water and Dave had a quick snack, the hawk arrived again. This time it landed on Dave's shoulder, making the boy jump and then freeze upon realizing what it was. Balthazar stood, took the delivered message, and shooed it to rest somewhere else.
"So?" Asked Dave, finishing his toast curious about what the clan leaders had to say.
"They are not accepting a no for an answer." Balthazar sighed, and then turned to look at Dave. "They are actually dictating me what to do." Continued Balthazar with a scoff before crumpling the page and then throwing it to the nearest trash can, it landed swiftly within it.
"Nice shot, have you considered basketball?"
"I practiced it for a while, too easy for me." Dave frowned at his master, who was sitting on the tall desk again, pulling another piece of parchment and writing quickly. If he'd taken instructions to use bow and arrow then shooting marks should be easy for Balthazar Blake. "They want us to drop by before the end of October; apparently they have some sort of festivities they want you to attend. They are also conjuring up some laws from the Encantus to force me to take you."
"The Encantus has even more laws?" Balthazar turned to Dave.
"None are unknown to you; once in the circle no turning back, no shortcuts, better good, all those tidbits." He continued writing, as the door above opened and both Becky and Veronica were heard talking, making Dave look up.
"Its five thirty already?" He checked his watch and then stood. "Balthazar man I've got to go. Class."
"Yes, I know. I'll see you tomorrow then." Said Balthazar, as the girls reached the end of the stairs and Veronica kissed Becky goodbye. "Remember today's lesson, tomorrow we'll work on the opposites again."
"Fine." He gathered his backpack and then hurried to Becky, kissed her hello and they left. Veronica watched them go, waving, and when the door closed she turned to Balthazar. "Beloved."
"What are you up to, Balthazar?"
"I am writing a letter." That made Veronica frown, she'd been back for little over a year and she'd never seen Balthazar shared correspondence with anyone. Not even nearby Merlinians, the only calls and messages he answered were either administration of the Arcana Cabana or Dave's. Curiosity killed the proverbial cat and Veronica wrapped around her husband's shoulders, wishing to take a peek at the address of the correspondent. Balthazar just received the kiss, and continued writing.
"Clans." He uttered, a little annoyed, his hand moving faster, then stopping turning the page and then continuing. With the page turned Veronica had no time to look at the address and she sighed, pulled away from Balthazar and dropped on the recliner.
"It is such joy to be able to talk to another woman, that girl sure knows a lot about clothing, the city, and the food." Said Veronica happily, trying to get his attention, probably if she asked nicely he would tell exactly who in the clans. "I've learned a lot since she started walking with me around the city. I now know where Fifth Avenue is."
"Good, love, good."
"She also took me to Central Park."
"And we also sold ourselves to overseas smugglers for a very hefty price."
"You are not listening."
"Yes I am."
"Balthazar, trust me, you are not listening." Veronica stood and walked around Balthazar, placing her hands over his shoulders to peek at the paper he was writing. "Who are you writing to?" She asked curiously, aware that his horrible scribbles from a thousand years ago had changed and become the most elegant calligraphy she'd seen in a while, in surprise she leaned further, pressing close to her husband's back.
"Do you think that because of who we are we should take orders from the new clans?" Veronica stared at him, frowning.
"Why would you ask me something like that?"
"I've got these letters from the new council," He waved his hands and showed her the pages he'd been receiving all day long, Veronica picked them up and started to read them one by one as he continued reading the newest page. "The clan leaders are ordering me to take Dave to their next gathering so the boy can prove himself."
"Why would they want Dave to prove himself? Why not trust in your word?" She asked softy, as Balthazar sighed.
"The new clans are so different to the ones you are used to, beloved. They are full of technology, they rarely use the Encantus and… The reason I stepped out of the main stream was because… Well; they don't accept me as the Prime Merlinian's Keeper."
"What?" Asked Veronica, frowning, Balthazar took off his glasses and caressed the nose of his bridge. "That is just insulting! You are under oath to keep your word to Merlin."
"Right. That and the fact that Dave told me he wasn't feeling comfortable with the very idea of dropping by. I won't force him."
"Of course not."
"I won't force you to go to Idaho either."
"Of course I wo… Idaho? The same Idaho from the potato commercial?"
Veronica turned away, frowning slightly. "I wouldn't mind visiting Idaho." She murmured to herself looking away. Balthazar gave her an annoyed look. He scribbled some more and finally wrapped the two page long letter and send it away with the large hawk. "But if Dave and you won't visit I won't complain."
"I hope for Dave's sake we don't have to visit. Just think on the stress it'll induce on his poor little brain." He watched the hawk fly away and then turned to Veronica. "The worse part was that they are trying to force to take Dave by Encantus' law. Can you believe that? The laws master and we created!"
"Sounds like trying to cheat a monkey off its banana."
Balthazar frowned at Veronica; it was the weirdest example of comparison.
She must look ridiculous.
There were over thirty hospitals in the area, maybe even over sixty, but she had a map with all the locations and she would go hospital by hospital asking for him if she had to.
Eriam had already visited seventeen institutions and none had seen the man she claimed to be her father. He was old enough so why not say he was? Anyway she was having lunch, a cheeseburger and soda she was able to get after pulling a crying stun and making nurses pity her, and looking at her map; in the area was St. Vincent's hospital, but the thing had closed down and she wasn't sure she should visit it. Bypassing the hospital she used a marker to cross it out and scratched her head. The day was growing chilly and she needed a place to rest. She had to use all her money to get air fare and was currently broke; probably she could get some money at one of those part time jobs… Then it hit her; that old lab the Merlinian was using as training ground was still under construction; maybe if she slid in no one would notice her, but she would have to set her alarm to go off before the constructions worker got there.
Not having magic sucks big time.
Author's Ramblings: Wow, I've been away for so long it feels weir to post this! As I read this chapter I realized something: It is so sad when you suddenly have to quote yourself to continue the storyline or to have you guys remember what I wrote in order to continue… I know I am not making myself clear yet, but you'll see… Read and Review and eat lots of cookies and tea… They are at the Review button below. Happy reading/writing!