Circles Within Circles

By Of Quirky Excellence

Jowan wiped the tears from his face and swept his black hair back as he stood in awe at the base of the Tower at Lake Calenhad, home to the Circle of Magi. The boy had heard so much about the place from the armored men escorting him, whom he later learned were called Templars.

"Get that thing away from me, he's an abomination, a monster I tell you!" his mother had said just a few days before. "He set my hair on fire!"

The strange man in the armor sighed as he picked Jowan up, fearlessly ignoring the fact that the boy, known to possess fire spells, was very upset, and shushed him. Jowan's cries subsided a little bit but it didn't make a huge difference. "Calm down, miss. He's only a child. He does not yet know how to control his-"

"I don't care if this…this… thing can't control his Maker-knows-what! You will get him out of my sight! I never bore him, I say!"

The man looked apologetically at the child who now sat quietly in his arms. "Alright, miss. As you wish. Your husband will need to fill out some papers, and then-"

"No! Take that abomination out of my sight this instant! He's your problem now!" shouted his mother who was now hysterical. The Templar took a step back in defeat.

Jowan began to cry as the man carried him away. To this day, he has not seen his mother.

Once the gates opened they walked across a long bridge, and Jowan stayed close to the Templar who'd been the most civil to him, naturally. Once over the bridge the Templar opened a tall reinforced door and they entered a room with two more Templars at another door.

A robed man entered through the door. Jowan did not yet know it, but the closing of the large doors had sealed his fate. He was a Circle mage now. The robed man with a long, grey beard smiled and knelt to Jowan's level and now another Templar who stood taller and prouder than the others accompanied the robed man.

The robed man held out a hand and placed it on the frightened Jowan's shoulder. Jowan sulked back towards the door, but the Templars, in a dutiful manner, stood their ground and Jowan couldn't shake the robed man's grasp on his shoulder now.

"Hello, there, young fellow."said the robed man. He had a very raspy voice.

The child calmed down a bit when the man spoke. "Hullo." He murmured.

"You are six years old, I'd imagine?" asked the robed man.

"Five and a half, ser." Said the Templar who'd led Jowan in.

Jowan nodded.

"Ah. My name is Irving. I am the First Enchanter. What is your name, child?"

"Jowan." The boy said softly.

"Jowan." Irving repeated. "You will be living here now. You've no need to be afraid anymore."

"Unless, of course, you become an abomination." said the proud looking Templar next to Irving.

"Now, Knight Commander, is that any way to speak to a child?" Irving scolded.

"First Enchanter-"

"Greagoir, you needn't frighten the child. His journey has done that already, has it not?"

Jowan laughed nervously. "You're funny. Are you a mage too?"

Irving chuckled at the boy's sudden enthusiasm and the Knight Commander rolled his eyes with disapproval written all over his face. "I am indeed a mage, child. We will have another chance to talk later, I'm sure."

The robed man left the room after he said this, and the Knight Commander beckoned for Jowan to go with him. He followed the Knight Commander up several flights of stairs until they reached a hall. It wasn't long before signs of brilliant life enticed Jowan's mind as he glanced at some gossiping teenaged girls, who all stopped and respectfully bowed their heads as Greagoir walked by, and they all glared at Jowan as if he were a monster. He was quite accustomed to that by now.

When they got to another large door they stopped, and Greagoir opened it. In the room were several young boys. One, a lad around twelve, stood on the top of a bunk bed, one of many, and jumped down quickly just before Greagoir shot him a look. This boy was the first to come over to them.

"New scum, eh, Knight Commander?"

"Anders, why don't you show young Jowan around the dormitories? I have duties to attend to." Said the Knight Commander.

The boy, whose hair was blond and eyes the color of amber, nodded, and the Knight Commander continued. "And when you are through, you, Anders, shall report to the First Enchanter's office."

The other boy laughed mischievously and said, "What'd I do now?"

"I think you know full well what you have done, Anders. I do believe it will result in probation from borrowing books. They are highly flammable and very expensive, lad."

Jowan tugged on Anders' robe sleeve and asked, "What does flammable mean?" Anders responded with a flick of his hand, and fire began to tingle between his fingers. Then it was gone, but not before Greagoir saw it.

"Anders, what did I tell you about spell casting in the dormitory without permission from a Templar?"

"Sorry. " Anders shrugged in reply. "He asked me a question and I answered it."

Greagoir rolled his eyes and left the room.

"So these are the boys' quarters. During the day, we lads are able to visit the girls' quarters. Wanna take a peek?" Asked the older boy.

"I guess." Said Jowan.

So they took a short walk and soon enough came to another door down the corridor. A few girls around Anders' age giggled when they saw him and hurried away until only one remained. "Hello, Anders." Said the girl. She had blonde hair and it was up in a rather messy ponytail with a few strands hanging down.

"Helena!" Anders cooed as the girl looked down at Jowan. "This is Jowan. He's new."

"Well, good day!"said Helena. "I hear there's a new girl coming in about your age. The Templars went to get her in a village called Lothering, so she'll be here soon. I'm so excited. Did you know Anders has escaped before?"

"You talk too much." Jowan said. Helena laughed.

"You haven't been here long, have you? I know all that goes on around here. Trust me." She said.