In Serein

1-8-2 The New Contract

I played with Sephael’s books for a long time.

I didn’t look at the later ones and stayed flicking in and out the earliest remembrances; I told myself that was so because I wanted to be able to understand where he had come from, why he was here, and that what he was learning about what he called the ancient magic would be more on a level where I might understand it.

In truth, I played with the glass books like that because I was simply too afraid to access the ones around the time when Lucian had arrived at the tower.

I was afraid for so many different reasons.

One of these was that I was afraid it would tell me nothing that could help me bring him back. That was the worst fear and it combined with my desire to learn more about Sephael’s magic first and kept me from opening the very last shape, a complex thing with many facets and lightly tinged in an ephemeral purple that always was the very first one that drew my eyes whenever I entered the room, and the very last thing my glance would linger on before I left it.

I didn’t sleep in that room anymore. I guess I was afraid of dreaming in the presence of the glass memories, pulsating, pushing, wanting to be heard with desperation, and of course, I had no idea at all how to re-establish the complex barrier that had kept them inside.

I was also petrified that Lucian’s memories which were ever simmering below the threshold of my awareness, just like that hint of silver that tells you dawn is on its way, would run totally out of control if I was to stand in what was the presence of the Sephael he had known so well.

The young boy and the striving magician were safer by far.

It was so easy and so seductive to play away the time.

I learned things and sometimes, I tried out some of them. One section that held my absolute fascination to the degree that I would sometimes even forget altogether why I was here and doing any of this in the first place, were those doorways like the one to the land of the horses.

They had been Sephael’s obsession too and he had begun to devise a way to search for them with more efficiency; these doorways were like sinks in the patterns and you wouldn’t even know they were there until you were right upon them.

It was intensely dangerous to physically use the doorways; the one to the horse plains was well known and even in Sephael’s days the only one that was ever used at all. The second one he discovered and stepped through dropped him straight in a place that was so hot it immediately burned up his skin, with fiery air that burned up his lungs and with his clothes on fire and his eyes shrivelled, he only just made it back to the safety of the tower in time.

At that time, Sephael was not very good at repairing patterns such as were needed in healing, and it took him ages to get over his physical injuries; that is where he acquired the scars he would wear from thereon in. The mental scars the incident caused and the fear of the doorways, he never got over until his dying day. And it was at the time I was living these sequences with him, that the burning desire to be able to respond to him, to talk to him and to interact with him was nearly driving me insane.

He was holding one piece of the puzzle, and many times I was holding the other, or at least had some insights that might have gotten us both a major breakthrough if we had worked on things together.

One day, it must have been late in the afternoon, I woke up to myself with the horrible realisation that I was already up to my neck in a relationship with Sephael himself.

Like Ty Sidra, he was becoming a reality to me, a real person, a real human being, one who had dreams, and fears, and weaknesses and most of all, a most amazing mind and with such passion for exploration and for knowledge, it sometimes took my breath away.

There was one more overriding passion and that would be the one that would cause him the greatest problems.

Sephael had an incredible hunger for power.

For him, all he did was to do with power. And his greatest frustration was the High Council.

At regular intervals, he would have to present himself to the High Council and report on his findings, show the new patterns he had discovered, explain about various ancient artifacts when he had discovered their uses. He resented this intensely, for working here all alone in the shieldings of the tower, he was cut off from the Serein collective and as time passed, became more and more involved in his own endeavours.

At first, he went along with the council’s orders to do this, or that, or break off a particular venue of enquiry to put his attention to something else, but as I played his books through time, it was becoming ever more apparent that he was becoming more and more frustrated with the control the council was imposing on him.

I remember the first time he decided to hold back on an important finding which related to the discovery of doorway place that frightened him more than any of the others he had ever cautiously explored, and yet that would also haunt and fascinate him for the rest of his life.

When he made his impression into the glass that day, there was a noticeable change in him. From that day on, he no longer worked for the council, but only for himself; all they got from him from there on was tidbits to keep them satisfied.

As I watched his entries, I began to suspect that he was fooling himself. I really had no idea if his High Council was anything like the assembly of Serein that had attempted to judge me and Lucian, but I had a strong feeling that it was not.  Even if it had been, Sephael was not as great a magician as he thought he was, power hungry and delighted as he was dancing amongst the various layers of knowing he was uncovering for himself. There were huge chunks missing in his understanding of how the pattern world actually worked, and an entire lack of understanding of the finer points of the Serein mesh and those patterns that lay beyond.

He relied far too much on the ancient technologies and artifacts, using them often recklessly and without due care and respect in his driven quest for autonomy. Even the near burning he received when trying to explore the doorways in the patterns seemed to have taught him very little, and he did not seem to notice that the pain this had caused him stopped him from exploring those doorways properly, even after he had learned how to open them and to project a part of himself that was not of the body into the spaces that lay beyond.

As I was immersing myself in his glass books, I began to learn many new thing, and indeed, there were far too many for me to do anything with. The mass of information, thoughts, propositions and Sephael’s wild ideas and ravings were too much; I could not organise these pieces of knowledge in a way that would make them useful to me.

After what must have been two tendays of doing nothing but listening to Sephael, eating and sleeping, I finally gave up and admitted to myself that I could not learn in this way. Either I would have to devote a considerable amount of time – years, probably, to actually studying each section of the glass entries in sequence and further, taking the time to try out for myself some of the work Sephael was attempting at the time, or I would have to stop and find the courage to link into the last of the glass shapes, the one with the purple hue, the one that actually dealt with the time frame during which Lucian had come to stay at the tower.

I stopped visiting the books then, for I simply didn’t know what to do.

Time was passing. Lucian was safe for now but I felt I was not. All alone with Sephael and the silence of the tower, I was beginning to suspect myself and my own mind and motives, or what was left of it.

To keep Lucian’s memories inside me from surfacing was becoming harder and taking more and more of my efforts with each day that went by where nothing was accomplished, nothing learned properly, and nothing concluded or completed.

I was diluting.

Yet I was petrified of the purple glass. I was petrified of it. I could barely look at it and even the thought of reaching towards it made my heart beat harder and my hands fill with clammy moisture. The truth was that we were both afraid, both of us who resided in my body and for once aligned with real intention to stop me from opening that book.

I thought that if I would just rest, take one of the other rooms and decorate it to my taste and in any other colour but Serein white and pink or Tower silver black, perhaps take a walk in the land of the horse people, lie and look at their alien stars or even talk with one or two of them, I would become stronger, more centred in myself, more ready to face what was proving to be an insurmountable challenge.

But I couldn’t leave the tower, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the purple book, and I could not stop being afraid either nor find the courage to even enter Sephael’s rooms now.

The silence of the tower was beginning to press on me like a weight that was growing each and every heartbeat. When I started to shout and sing to fill the silence, and when the sound of my own voice was an alien noise that frightened me more than the silence itself, I knew that something had to be done, and that it had to be done now, before both of us were insane.

So finally, one midday, I did the only thing I could think of doing.

I floated Lucian down into the dungeon level, placed his naked body on the torture table of black stone he always seemed to end up on whenever he had had the chance, fastened the thick metal bands around his wrists and neck, and around his ankles; tightened them up so that he was at full stretch and could never hope to break free nor hurt himself beyond chafing his skin in the silver blue tempered metal with the rounded edges, and then I woke him up.

His mind was a still black underground sea, flat and without a single ripple, where deep in the depth his consciousness lay sleeping. I had to go there and push him towards the surface for he had no volition and no desire to do this, and as I pushed him gently but forcefully towards awareness, his mind began to waken and move, and the higher and closer to awareness we came, the more torrential were the currents of memory, of uncontrollable feelings, of voices and of flashes of sights, a howling thunderstorm of madness, cresting higher and higher and becoming more unbearable and unbearable still. In desperation, I tried to link with him to still his mind but I was sucked into the demonic whirlpools and thrashing insanity and had to leave him and kick like crazy for the surface myself like a swimmer desperately kicks with his feet and windmills with their arms so they can take a breath and stay alive.

I reeled back into my own body and didn’t think I had for the demonic screaming had not stopped yet this was a real sound, it was Lucian, tied to the table with every muscle and sinew contracting against the metal bands and howling with sounds that you could not think a body would produce, his eyes wide open and entirely unseeing.

I threw fire at him, and ice, and all the sandstorms I could muster but I could not get through to him, could not get through the tempest that surrounded him in all ways; not even a tight focus of pure blue power like a sword could enter these contortions and remain unswept away.

I tried to reach him in the blue healing domain and he was nothing but a whirlpool himself, nothing beyond the physical detached remaining intact on which to build.

I tried to reach him through the Serein domains and from that viewpoint, his patterns were nothing less than a catastrophe imploding into itself infinitely.

Again, and once more, I was reduced to sitting back and watching him, with that awful, heartbreaking, stomach poisoning sense of failure and abject misery and helplessness I knew so well from before.

His screaming finally abated to breathless groans and whimpers, not because anything was better inside but simply because his vocal chords had given out again, and I finally pushed myself away from the wall and advanced on the table where he tried in vain to writhe against the silver blue steel.

I looked down into his raving eyes and he did not see me. I touched his hair and he did not feel me. I placed my hands on his shoulders and tried to unlock the rock hard knotted muscles contracting ever more tightly beneath the cold soft surface of his skin, and I placed my face against his cheek, rocking with his movements and I broke down and started to cry.

Words came from me and they were not my words by choice. I am unsure what language they are, for they are just sounds, but they channel my desperation, and my loneliness, and my fear into a singsong of syllables. I lay down on his chest and wrap myself around him best I can, and I cry like a baby and I cannot control myself anymore, the sadness and pain becoming an unstoppable flood wave, and I don’t even notice just when it is that his muscles soften beneath me, and his own crying ceased, and it is a long time before his hoarse whispers come to my awareness.

Lucian is speaking to me.

I can’t hear what he is saying, but he is speaking and he is not screaming anymore.

I lift my head up from his chest and look at him, my face awash and swollen and strands of my hair sticking to my cheeks and to my nose.

He is regarding me steadily with his beautiful pale eyes and there is even the ghost of a small smile around his lips.

I sniffle and hiccup and wipe the hair and the snot from my face with the back of my hand. I feel like a foolish child with no idea of what to say to him now that he is here, afraid of what to say, afraid of wasting what little time we may have this time and I can’t help it as the tears start to flow again.

Lucian whispers painfully, “You will drown us both,” and oh dear creator, just to hear his voice, to hear him say this thing, he is making a joke for me to stop me from crying. I can’t take it and I wrap myself around him again, my cheek against his, my arms about his head, holding him tight and wishing, praying, hoping that I am not imagining this and that he will stay with me, just a little while longer. He lies quietly, relaxed, and lets me do these things, and does not try to move his head away when I start kissing his cheek and stroking is hair.

The trembling and pain in the back of my legs finally comes through and alerts me to how long I must have been bending over him, crying all over him. I sniff and straighten out  painfully, reluctantly, and my hand remains lingering on his chest that is wet with my tears, rivulets dripping down onto the polished black table. Vaguely, I wonder if I would really have enough tears to drown us both, and I look at him and can’t think of what to say to him.

Our eyes lock and he draws me into a link, the warm embrace you have been aching for, for so many desperate sleepless nights.


My sadness? Why we are here?

Why you are here.

Because I love you. Because I need you.

For a moment, there is a silence and I wait for him to throw me out of the link like he has done so many times before but this time, he does not. He sighs deeply instead and waits.

I am afraid to think anything for fear that he will go back into his madness and leave me all alone again and can’t believe it when he sends gentling and re-assurance to me, sends me a sense of his calmness and containment that seems real enough for now and still, I am too afraid to think about …


It’s his books, I’ve been reading his books (flashes of the recordings, how they span all his years, the terrible fear of the purple glass)

Silence as Lucian considers what he has learned calmly and efficiently. At last, he asks, ? Me, tied to this table?

Now I am really afraid and again, he sends me calmness and centredness.

Don’t be so afraid. Just answer and tell me.

I open my eyes and look down on him. Out loud, I say, “Lucian, could you smile at me?”

He looks confused, raises his eyebrows but humours me and manages a wry little smile that seems to hurt the corners of his mouth.

I smile back at him and bend to him and kiss him lightly on the lips. I stroke the side of his face and lets me do it with a brief dropping of the eyelids, a minute gesture of submission.

“May I repair your voice?”

He is still confused but tries to nod automatically, finds he is restrained by the thick steel band that runs around his neck and fuses into the table, and so he whispers instead, “Yes, of course.”

I wish I could touch his throat but I cannot. I place a fingertip lightly against the steel necklace and gently reach into the patterns of his vocal chords, restring them like a fine and fragile instrument and soothe them.

“Try now,” I suggest, and he clears his throat and says clearly, “What am I doing here?”

His voice is powerful, resonant and I love to hear it like this. I sigh deeply and answer carefully, “You were hurting yourself.”

I can clearly see the far away look coming into his eyes as he goes inside to consider what I’ve said. I note that I am holding my breath for fear he will touch the whirlpool and be gone again from me.

Lucian re-focuses on me and says matter-of-factly, “I am going insane, Isca.”

I nod and make sure I don’t start to cry again. “I know, Lucian. Tell me how I can help you. Please.”

He smiles wryly. “You don’t know then?”

Now I am confused. “No, I don’t know, what? What has happened?”

He is still smiling as he says, “It’s your memories. I can’t control them, cannot contain them, and they are killing me.”

I don’t know what to say and there is a long silence. Eventually, he continues, “And your emotions. Your emotions on my own memories. Do you know, do you know that I have a clear recollection of sleeping with my little brother, Sef, and holding him tight at night when he was trembling and crying? Do you know I remember loving him? Do you have any idea what that does to me, to even think like that for a single instance, and never mind a whole 14 years, a whole lifetime?”

There is a trembling within me and I cannot respond, cannot know what to say in return, and so Lucian continues to speak, faster and with more agitation creeping into his voice and his breathing, “That pond. That godforsaken pond. I go to sleep and I dream of throwing myself into that pond. And do you know what’s inside that pond? The rotting corpses of everyone I have ever killed, and all of those I’ve had killed, and those who my horses trampled underfoot, and those I nailed to trees and left to die, and those …”


I am trying to contain a rising sense of panic and of fear building deep within me.

“Stop Lucian. You mustn’t go there, not now, you must stay here with me, because I am going to go crazy if you leave me again, I swear I will.”

He strives for composure and succeeds.

“Well,” he says dryly. “I would think it is the right thing to keep me tied up safely.” He stops abruptly as a thought comes to him, “I have not hurt you?”

I shake my head. “Nothing that couldn’t be repaired easily. Don’t worry about me.”

He gives a small laugh and stretches in his bonds. “That, my dear,” he remarks dryly, “is about the only thing that is keeping me here at the moment.” When he notices my confused expression, he adds, “I was worried about you. You were crying.”

Oh but there were so many things, so many things crowding into my mind and my mouth all to say at once, to have answered, to have explained, to be reassured about. Oh dear creator, how I have missed you. How I have missed you.

He must have noticed the emotions from me and took on a painful expression.

“You will talk about love,” he said, with a slight undertone of admonishment.

“Do you doubt me?”

He tries to shake his head but the neck binding prevents that movement. With a grimace, he says instead, “I wish that I could. But I have seen me through your eyes, so I cannot doubt you. What I cannot do, is understand or accept.”

It was my turn to smile.

“What is done, is done.”

He smiled in return, then a shiver went through him.

Lying naked on a freezing slab of stone was not the best thing, and automatically I reached into the patterns of the table and vibrated the pattern slightly so it grew warm to the touch. It made him shiver more to start with, then he shifted what he could and said, “Thank you.”

Sincerely, I said, “I would do anything for you.”

He nearly shook his head but remembered and curtailed the movement.

“Would you go away then, and leave me be, and cure yourself of this affliction?”

I moved closer to him and looked deeply into his wonderful eyes. They were such an amazing colour, not green, not grey, not blue, but a jewel that the sun strikes from behind, giving it the depth of a clear rock pool.

“My love for you is the most precious thing I have. Without it, there would be nothing left.”

We fell into the link and neither of us resisted. I saw me looking down on him, looking so young from here, so breathtakingly unique that it made my heart hurt, the familiar scent of me in his nostrils and my brown eyes flecked with gold, dancing like autumn forests. With it went a pain that was so unbearable that we had to break back and regroup.

“Why does it hurt you so to love me?” I whispered, yet I knew that he did not know. I bend to him and kissed him again, softly and with my mouth half open, sensuously. “Can you stand the pain?” I asked of him.

Softly, he replied, “I can but try.”

I would never ask any more of you my lord, I thought and knew well that he heard me loud and clear. We kept a steady, silent link then for a time, neither of us pushing, neither pulling, just floating in each other’s presence, a state that went a long way to heal the bitter loneliness and hopelessness that had resided within me for so long, for longer than I could perhaps remember or even know.

Eventually, he cleared himself from the togetherness. Easily and out loud, he said, “Can you unfasten me now?”

A strangely unpleasant sensation flooded right through me in response and I realised that I did not trust him.

“I’m not sure if I can trust you. If you will try to hurt yourself again,” I said, weakly.

We made eye contact and then both of us knew why he wanted me to set him free.

“Let me die,” he said, urgently.

“I cannot.” I shook my head and fought the tears that were making my voice unsteady again.

“Kill me, Isca.” he said, sincerely and low, and when I just kept shaking my head and could not answer, “You said you would do anything for me. It’s the only thing I would ask of you. The only thing I would ask of you. Will you deny my one request?”

I started to cry again and could not speak.

“I understand,” he said and hesitated briefly, “that it would be hard for you do it for me, and I should not have asked that of you. Just untie one hand, give me any blade and I beg of you not to heal me any more. I beg of you to stop healing me. I cannot take it any more. I cannot.”

I was crying hard now, not prettily like some great ladies do with silent gentle tears falling from their big eyes, but noisily, with sobbing sounds and my face crunching up and snot needing to be sniffed back, mouth open and shoulders hunched. I tried to touch him and could not; instead my hands made helpless gestures in midair and then I covered my eyes with them.  I reached out to him and sent him everything, all of it, my need and my desperation, my helplessness and my terror of a future without him, my dying when he sent me away, my half life spent in search of him, one way or another. I sent him Chay Catena and how every single time I looked at him I broke in crying that it was the wrong man I was looking at, I sent him moments when someone on the road, a soldier perhaps, stood in a certain way, or I saw the back of a head that reminded me of his; and how when there was no-one on the road, I would be searching nonetheless.

Then something gave and I could speak, rapidly and in between sobbing breaths, I pleaded with him in words and meanings that I did not know or recognise as my own.

“I am so sorry that it took me so long to find you. I am so sorry that I wasn’t there for you when you needed me. But I am here now, and we are together again at last, and we have this one chance to turn it all around, to make it right, the way it was supposed to be. Don’t think that I don’t know of your suffering, for I do; and not a man in ten times a hundred thousand could have done as you have done, or have been more courageous or stronger of mind, body and will. I beg of you to find it in you to stay for one last fight, one last battle, with me, against this madness that surrounds us both. I beg of you not to give in just this one more time, to give me the one chance. Please Lucian. I know I ask more of you than you have ever been asked to give, but in the name of all things holy, please.”

Lucian watched and listened with all his senses and I could feel the heat from his ever tearless eyes. No matter, I can cry enough for both of us, I thought and he heard me, closed his eyes and against himself and the severity of the moment gave a half laugh.

Into my mind, he said, You would call upon me in the name of all things holy? Sometimes I am not sure which one of us is the madder, by far.

I would not argue with him here, in this now, and re-set my question.

“Will you make one last effort, give me my chance?”

And this time, he sent me something of his own: the days after we had slain the Serein together, and my horror at what I had done, my disgust what he had made me become, my own horror and disgust at what he was and my resolution to never be anything like him; my own revulsion at loving one such as him, my fear of becoming more like him; all the judgements of him I made that day and how he could not stand to see these things he felt about himself, reflected back in my own eyes.

I struggled against the tide of his accusations of betrayal, of hypocrisy, of lies; I flailed as his doubts of my volition united briefly with my own, and then I sent him the moment when everything had changed for me, when I released my fear of his inherent evil and really knew and finally understood.

I hear my father’s voice, dark and overly loud, causing me to tremble. He is so big. He can do everything. He *is* everything. His words don’t make sense to me but I am just there, in his voice, insect small and hopelessly nothing beneath his acid eyes and towering shape.

“Weakness, weakness is the worst form of evil. Weakness of character, and yes, weakness of body too for that betrays the weakness and the flaws in a man’s character just as truly as their face betrays their feelings. Remember that, Lucian. You will one day rule this land, and you will have to be strong. And you will be strong, my son?”

Lucian reels out of the link with a hard gasp. He is shaking in body and in mind.

I step up closer and gently stroke his shoulder and strong arm.

“I am sorry, my love,” I tell him as I watch him struggle for composure, but he fails and into the room explode the words on all levels.

I am weak.

I am evil.

I am weak evil evil evil evil evil ...

"STOP! You are the strongest man I have ever known."

Weakweakweakweakweak …

"Lucian! And so you are weak! Live with it!

Evilevilevilevilevilevil …

"And so you are evil – LIVE WITH IT!"

But I have and I can no longer.

Live with it for me.

I am too weak. I cannot protect you. I cannot protect myself, I cannot protect anyone I love …

I don’t seek your protection, just your love and your will to love.

I have no will left. I am nothing. Nothingnothingnothingnothing ….

Can a nothing hurt like you do? Can a nothing suffer like this?

Nomorenomorenomorenomore ….

It doesn’t stop though, does it, Lucian. It just keeps going on and on …

Sunsets and sunrises …

One after the other …

One after the other …

Sunsets and sunrises …


Sunsets and sunrises …

Together, we watched suns set and rise, orange gold, pale winter yellow, purple and pink, streaked with black, with silver, over oceans, over deserts, over mountain tops and city spires, gentle sloping forest hills and reflecting in still lakes and rivers, so majestic, so beautiful, always so beautiful that it could make you cry if only you could cry, and so you must not look at them, not take their learnings into your soul, you must turn your smarting eyes towards the shadows where cool safety resides, where everyone is made from a thin veneer of brittle wood, painted gaudily and easily pushed over and laid to rest.

Together, we stand in the stone circle and watch the sun rise, him wrapped in a red and gold tapestry and looking like an emperor surveying his troops, and me in jade with my hair cut short, looking unbearably young and unrecognisable to me now, looking at him with a child’s admiration and not a little fear.

Together, we stand in the stone circle and watch the sun rise, Lucian wearing his usual black and me a grown woman now in purple. I must have grown because my cheek is on a level with his shoulder when I lay it there. He  automatically puts an arm about my waist. He draws me closer into his warmth, delightful against the fresh early morning breeze and together, we stand in the stone circle and we watch the sun rise.

You had all winter to kill yourself if that was what you really wanted.

I was waiting.

Waiting for me?

Who would come looking for me?


Why do you want me to kill you?

You own me.


I wish you to live.

I obey.

That is not enough.

I can’t say any other.

I wish you to wish to live.

I don’t know how. I am weary of life.


Lucian, you have not lived yet.

Pictures, sounds, tastes, smells. Laughing and teasing with Chay, watching the children making fire creatures in the dark trees, connecting with Marani and telling her what she meant to us, placing a starfield around a child’s head. Burying Ty Sidra with honour and amongst friends. Dareon’s wide grey eyes, thoughtful and sincere, and back, lying in a tree, my arms and legs securely wrapped amongst the branches and feeling the powerful flow of life through the rusty bark, above, small pale green leaves filter the yellow sun and make my bare arms look spotty. The taste of goldenfruit and the excitement of finding the first really, really ripe one, precariously perched on an old rickety ladder whilst Sef dances below, mad with excitement and frustration because he is too small to be allowed to climb with me ...

Stop, please.

Sephael lied to you.


He lied to you because he showed you only half of what there is. There is more than just pain and destruction. There is life. There is wonderment. There is love.


He lied to you, Lucian. I don’t know why and I don’t know what for, but he lied to you and made you believe in a world that is forever in the shadows.

It is my destiny.

No Lucian, it is not. There is no such thing as destiny.

I was born to be the Lord Of Darkness.

There was no such thing before you became it.


There is no long line of Lords of Darkness, no ancestry stretching to the dawn of time. It is all a lie. You are the only one.

No. No. I don’t believe you.


He is not much older than I am, a youth with pitch-black hair and not even a shadow of  hair 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.

(Utter confusion, disbelief, this is a trick, no, it can’t be, that – boy – that Serein boy - cannot be ….)

It is Sephael, making his first entry in his book of shadows, Lucian.


Lucian, let me help complete your education. When it is complete, you are free to choose what fate you will, and I will not stand in your way.

(A tiny edge of hope, a childlike wanting to trust my word, a familiarity amongst the confusion) Complete my education?

Sephael never showed you the ancient knowledges nor did he ever train you in the ways of the pattern world. There are the Serein layers too, and other things beyond that I don’t yet understand but I know are there.

I have no talent for this work. I cannot learn it.

Another lie, Lucian. Remember how you helped me heal my head? It is easy. You can learn this, I know you can.

(Doubt yet remembrance of the incident. Another small flicker of hope, then a dark wall descending) I might learn about patterns, but I could never learn about love.

(Exasperation) So you will continue to make decisions based on only half the information? Based on a house of lies? In the name of the creator, Lucian will you trust me just half as much as you took Sephael’s word for everything, and what was his love for you?

(Pain, intense pain, sorrow)

I am sorry, my love. Will you trust me? Will you at least find the courage to complete your learnings with me so that you might be whole?

(Reflexive negation) I don’t deserve to be whole.

Can you be a one to judge such a thing and trust or even know the judgement would be just?

(Full negation, resignation, surrender). I will trust you.

(Relief, enormous relief) I will promise you in return that once we are complete, you will be free to choose whatever you will choose. Upon my word of honour and all creation, I swear that I will then accept your final decision.

Even if it should be death by your own hand?

Even if it should be death by my own hand.


What do I need to do? What would you have me think/be/do?

We were in agreement, and at last, we could begin.