Chapter 8/1 – Lord Sephael Timore
It took me a whole day before, trembling, I finally forced myself to reach towards one of the glass shapes, a sharp triangular pyramid tinted in a very pale blue. When I say reach, what I mean is that I very cautiously edged in on its particular pulsating vibration from across the room, very, very cautiously for I was only too aware that I was doing something that was not intended to have been me doing it.
By now, and in spite of all I knew, I had a most healthy respect for Lord Sephael’s kind of magic and no longer deluded myself that I could cope with everything and anything, just because I made a low grade messenger Serein’s distortion waver for a moment or two without training in a moment of high emotional stress.
Alright, so if truth be known, I was afraid.
The green glass had a most peculiar texture and depth to it, and currents within it that radiated on many levels. I could neither judge nor ascertain what was going on with these currents and finally, allowed myself to align to them and move into one at random.
Instantly, the patterns exploded like wild starburst and were replaced with a vision, a dream but yet so real it made me catch my breath and wonder if I was awake or asleep or simply losing my mind.
I stand in this very room, with my back to the door, and in front of me Lord Sephael, much younger than I remember him yet recognisable, gaunt and dark and with fire in his black eyes. His hair is the black of raven wings and falls straight to his shoulders; he is wearing tight fitting black trousers and a black shirt of a most unusual cut, soft leather boots and a steel band across his throat. He waves a hand impatiently and red sparks flash from the ancient ruby on his left hand.
Then his voice reels me into all kinds of places for it is the first time I have ever heard it through my own ears as he begins to speak, intensely and agitated:
“Cerasan has lit the difference again. We can’t seem to stop him. I have this new trothway, and if that doesn’t access the minor mornings, we will have to recall the erasing the foe.”
I don’t understand what he is saying and just stand, fear struck and trembling, as Sephael paces like a caged beast and talks, waves and paints glowing symbols into the air with his fingertips, symbols that form maps of many colours and waver. Eventually, a whole section of the map collapses and he punches his fist into the air, scattering them all and winking them from existence. He flexes his fist to tightly stretched flat hand and back again. He turns to me and advances on me, closer and closer until I can feel the warmth from his body and the intensity of his volition shudder me through.
He says, “I will find the way.”
And the vision implodes and I am back on the bed in the here and now, shaking like a scared forest creature and on the verge of tears.
When I grow calm again, I try one of the other shapes, a one that is slightly imbued with a pale morning yellow and the same thing happens. In this vision, Sephael is younger still and he talks about a journey with the aid of the great singing stone, which he refers to as the Guardian. Much of what he says is still incomprehensible, but I have some notion this time of what he is trying to do, and I understand that I am watching somehow an imprint of his work in progress over time, like a diary in visions. This is just like a strange form of memory, branded into the magical glass shapes, and all of it is in the past, and none of it can hurt me as I stand and observe from that place by the side of the door.
I try a few more layers of the same stone to get a sense of congruency in the passage of remembered events. You can skip through these layers with ease once you know how they are put together, dip into one, then the other very quickly, scan for the main points and then move on. I go backwards and backwards in time and listen to Sephael, more rounded in shape and far more human looking, yet with the self same driven eyes, explain about his successes and failures and thoughts as to the whys and wherefores of his endeavours. I switch to another shape and another, until I find the very first memory ever laid down, the very first day that Sephael took up residence in this tower and moved into the room.
I am astonished. He is not much older than I am, a youth with pitch-black hair and not even a shadow of beard growth. He is well built and he is wearing a Serein robe, the deep blue I recognise so well. He is fairly jumping with his own power and importance, and the memory starts with his face close up to mine. His eyes are not black, they are brown and have a power I have seen in the mirrors when I combed my hair. His voice is young and much higher than any of me remember, and he says, “Today, I am the Lord Sephael of the North Mountain Tower. I am here to take charge of the ancient knowledges at the command of the High Council.” Then, a big smile spreads across his face and he claps his hands like a delighted child, my eyes drawn immediately to the ruby on his hand. “I’m going to learn the ancient magic and I will be the greatest magician that ever lived!” he shouts and punches the air with his fist.
The vision collapses and I disentangle myself from the glass shapes to get my bearings. Oh but how I wished I could talk this over with Lucian! He had no idea that Sephael was Serein, or at least had been, before he took up his post here as a young boy. If what I had seen here was correct, the whole story about how the Lords of Darkness trained their apprentices did no longer make sense. There was no way this young man I had observed clapping his hands in delight had been “trained” in the same way that Lucian had been trained by Sephael, and this young boy had never in all the moons and stars broken his own master's neck before arriving here at the tower.
The whole Lord of Darkness story was nothing more but a myth, and it had been created around Sephael or by him. Nothing made sense anymore, yet I knew that the answers lay in Sephael’s glass crystal shapes and were now accessible to me.
My stomach growls like a hungry beast and I take a deep breath and decide to take a rest, a swim and a meal before going back to Sephael’s library.
On my way to the room I used to take my food, I passed the door to Lucian’s room, and for the first time in a very, very long time, went inside.
He lay as before, white as a statue, motionless, breathless, lifeless and dreamless.
He looked beautiful and peaceful.
I sat down on his bed and gently stroked his cold, pale skin.
“My love,” I whispered, and still the sound was overly loud in the density of silence, “My love, I will find a way to bring you back to me. I pledge it to you. Soon, I will have what Sephael knows and I will find a way. I will find a way.”
I kissed his forehead and went to work.