The Phoenix Ring(10)

By: Alexander Brockman

Everyone was staring at Aidan as Timothy pushed him out the door. They kept walking at a furious pace until they got into the boys' quarters, where Timothy opened the door to number thirty-seven and shoved Aidan inside.

"Stay here. Don't touch anything!"

He slammed the door, and Aidan was left alone.

Great, he thought, two hours and I already managed to break every rule in this stupid place.

He sat down on the bed he had woken on, and stared at the fire again, which was still blazing.

What am I doing here? I'm a farm bratt, maybe a Ranger, not a wizard! Where did I even get my magic from?

But he knew where he got his magic from. Not his mother, that was for sure. That left his father.

My father…

He had left a bag of fifty silver coins in the room where he had spent one night with Aidan's mother. She had used it to buy the farm where up to twenty boys could stay at once.

Aidan wondered what she was doing now. She probably thought her son had been accepted into the Ranger’s corps, and was learning to fight trolls in the Nefarious Lands. She would be so disappointed when he went back to the orphanage with the sign of a criminal burned onto his hand.

Aidan stared at the table that Malachi had created. It was made of fairly flimsy wood, and was highly flammable. Aidan still remembered the word that had made the fireplace light so quickly.

Why not, I'm already in as much trouble as I'm going to get in. He thought.

"Ingo!" he said.


Aidan stared at the table.

"Ingo! Ingo!" he yelled, getting more and more angry.

"By the dragon's breath, ingo!" he finally screamed, and jumped back as flames engulfed the table and chairs in a roaring inferno.

"Whoa, mate, what part of don’t touch anything do you not get?" Timothy was standing in the door with a leather bag slung over his shoulder.

"Ok, I never touched it, it just kind of…"

"Uh, yeah. Take this." Timothy said, handing him the leather bag.

The younger boy pulled a wand out of his belt and pointed it at the flame.

"Eslang!" he said, and the fire went out, leaving the room hot and smoky and the chair in ashes.

"Just for future reference, that means Be not. Incredibly useful spell. Now, I have some stuff that I should have explained to you before taking you to the mage training area. You'll have to sit down on the floor since someone had to burn the chair."

Aidan sat down on the stone floor, feeling more than a little stupid.

"My master believes in learning on the job, but that obviously is not going to work very well with you. He told you the story "How Magic Came To Sortiledge", which I personally think is a bunch of… well, let's just say I don't think it's true."

"Uh, your master," Aidan said "Is he, I don’t know…"

"Insane?" Timothy finished, looking up from the bag. "Yes, probably. Ok, so I have here a few objects that you are going to look at, if you can promise not to set anything on fire."

Aidan bit back another reply and nodded his head.

Timothy reached his hand into the bag and pulled out a large, strange silver ring. In the front of the ring, where a jewel would normally be held in place, was a type of glass bubble with a strange symbol on the front. Inside the bubble was a crystal, not unlike the one that the young girl had dropped.

"Go ahead, you can put it on, it won't kill you." Timothy said, looking at his fingernails.

Aidan slipped the ring on. There was a hole in the back, it was placed so that the crystal inside was always touching the wearer's skin.

"What is this?" Aidan asked.

"It's what we generally call a Soulrock. Well, that’s what the crystal's called. Do you remember, when you tried to use magic, how you had to get really emotional before it would work?"

Aidan nodded his head.

"Magic is like a living thing, you have to connect with it and make it understand you before you can use it. A Soulrock is a type of crystal that was grown in a special cave north of the Nefarious Lands. Through a Soulrock, magic can understand you."

"Why wouldn’t that girl let me touch hers?" Aidan asked.

"A Soulrock bonds with a person." Timothy answered “It becomes one with their Arror, an Elven word that roughly means 'life force.' If you take a Soulrock that is bonded to another person, then there will be a test of wills. If the owner of the crystal is stronger, then the intruder will die. If the intruder is stronger, then the owner and the crystal will become his slave. That crystal you are holding is dead, which is why you aren’t."

Also By Alexander Brockman

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