As stated in my last story, Fantasy is more my go to than Sci-Fi! So, this work is a bit more defined, though definitely not completed. It’s from a longer short-story that I wrote some time back but never got around to completely finishing. Anyway, you tell me what you think about the story and stay tuned for the next post!
“I understand what you’re saying, young Richard, but I simply cannot continue to allow you to skip academic levels every time you ask me! It just isn’t fair to the other students, many of whom have studied here for far longer then you have.” The Grand Master rubbed his eyes from where he sat across from me, seated at his polished dark maple desk.
Gazing around the office, looking anywhere but the elderly man, I took in the sight of the many books and various items of interest. The walls were covered in hundreds of texts, half of which I have never read nor heard of, all lovingly cared for, yet obviously read. Items ranging from small, golden trinkets of unknown properties, to enchanted blades referenced in legend lined the walls and shelves. History is present all around me, evidence of the prestige of the university I attend.
Knowing I could wait no longer, I turned my attention to the aging man. I knew from the moment our eyes met that he could tell I was stalling.
The Grand Master of the university is a middle-aged man, approaching his fifty-fifth year, with graying hair and a neatly trimmed beard. A legendary figure in the history of magic and the world, it is humbling to be sitting in the same room as him, let alone speaking with him. I felt uncomfortable with bringing my issues before the man, as I didn’t feel that they were worthy of his time or effort, but time and time again I am told brought to his office.
It is comforting to know that I can defer to his wisdom on matters of import, but it is also frustrating when issues like my current one were brought before the man.
“I understand, Sir. I just feel that it is a waste of my talents to be studying subjects that I already feel I have a solid understanding of. I don’t believe my current professors have the ability to teach me any further.” I have to cringe inwardly at how arrogant I sound, but it is the truth. I am already far ahead of all of my courses, and many others that I am not formally studying.
The man trained his gray eyes on me, and rubbed his neatly bearded chin, scratching at the small patch of white hair located there. After a while he sighs and leaned back in his dark, red-leather chair and tapped his long, scarred fingers on the desk’s surface, “Richard, your ability to grasp magic is extraordinary. Beyond anything I have ever seen before in my decade of teaching. Truly it is a remarkable gift, and I am sorry you feel you are not being challenged in your courses.”
Sighing in relief, I lean forwards, “Thank you, Headmaster, I-“A raised hand stopped me from continuing.
“Allow me to finish, please.” Clearing his throat, the Grand Master gestures around him, “I, too, felt the same way you do when I was a young man. Not to the same degree, I wager, but similar enough. The complexity of the courses is not geared towards a mage of your gifts, and this shows in the fact that you have skipped forward no less than three years in your studies.”
The man pauses before gesturing to me, his lips taking a slight downwards tilt. “I cannot, however, continue to jump you ahead in years. Your knowledge and control may exceed the level of your current peers, but your impulsiveness and lack of social connection to your fellow students worries me. If I allow you to continue advancing forward at such speeds, it may end in disaster. I have seen many men and women fall apart after moving too far, too fast. I will not allow the same for you, Richard.”
I bit my lip initially as the Grand Master spoke, but as he neared the end of his explanation, I felt myself slump in acceptance of his words. I wonder if perhaps I have been going too fast, too soon. I just feel that I need to reach the end, no matter what that is, as soon as possible.
I mention this to the man, and there is a slight twitch in his lips, a smile, as he reaches across the table to pat my shoulder in understanding, “Yes, I had suspected as such. Richard, you feel like you must learn as much as possible, and so move from one subject to another to do so. This is not bad, in theory, but there is a problem with this style of learning.”
I lean in, “What is that, Sir? It’s not memory, I assure you. I can recall nearly all of what I’ve learned over the course of my studying here.”
Leaning back, and shaking his head, he gestures around him, “Look at the bindings of these books and tell me what you see.”
Frowning in confusion, I stand and move towards the shelves, doing as he asked, wondering the purpose of this task. It is by the eighth text that I notice what, perhaps, he is trying to tell me, “The majority of these, they’re all on the same subject, aren’t they? Elemental Magic, the theory and application.”
“Yes, Mr. Foxx. They are indeed. Do you understand what I am attempting to suggest to you, Richard?” Moving over to me, an object held loosely in one hand, he stands beside me.
“You wish for me to focus my studies, at least for now, on a single subject of interest?” I take an educated guess.
“In a matter of speaking, yes. I don’t mind if you study other topics on a whole, but many mages, myself included, chose to focus their attention in their later years on a single “Mastery” if you will. Studying other magics is useful, especially if you find a synergy for your Mastery, but mastering one branch of magic will always benefit you more than being a “jack-of-all-trades,” so to speak.” The Grand Master holds out his hand to me, and a simple iron book attached to a pin lay, softly, in his palm.
“Sir? Is this what I think it is?”
Taking my pale hand and placing the pin in it, the man nodded. “Yes. Unrestricted access to the library, and the tens of thousands of tomes that lie within it. Find something that interests you, Mr. Foxx. And do be careful, some things are beyond even your understanding. I trust my faith in you will not be misplaced?”
Pinning the iron book to the front of my gray robes, I shake my head, “No, Sir. I won’t abuse this gift you’ve given me.”
I tried my best to contain my excitement, though I have no doubt the other man saw right through me. His eyes sharpened, suddenly, and I felt myself stiffen in response, swallowing when he leaned in and held my gaze with his own. A long, agonizing moment passed as he searched me, burning passed my body and into my soul with his eyes. Finally, the moment ended and he leaned back, nodding to himself at whatever he’d found.
“Good. Off with you – the library won’t be open forever, and you don’t want to waste a moment.” He said, turning his attention back to his duties.
I couldn’t leave the room fast enough.
To be Continued…
Read More: Cody’s Sci-Fi Writing Attempts!
That’s all she wrote! A cat’s attempt at writing fantasy back in the day – I promise I’ve only improved! I’ll work on some new stuff, or post some of my latest writings, soon. Feel free to check out my other posts!