“Last word. Amazing.” Robby said.
“A m a s i n g.” I spelled out the letters.
He shook his head, “Try again.”
I looked at the word in my mind again and I slapped myself on the forehead, saying, “It's another of those dumb s and z words. A m a z i n g.” spelling it out again.
“No, English doesn't always make sense, but then again does Egyptian?” Robby asked me and I shook my head, thinking of some words of my original language as he used a straw to scratch underneath the cast on his lower left arm.
I said with bewilderment, “I don't know why you can't get beyond the simplest things in physical Healing. From the Werewolf Historian in my original life who showed me Shamen and from what you've shown me, you're easily one of the strongest Shamen/Healers of all time and I've seen Healers fuse broken bones in a couple of hours. Aaron and I simply don't have the power yet and won't for two or three more years. But you have, it's almost as if there's some type of block in your mind.”
Robby considered my words, then said musingly, “Well let's take a look and see.” and he reached out for me and drew me into his mind. I loved to be able to go there, it was so serene and loving. I'd been in some powerful Elders' minds since I had come into this time and none could equal the wisdom and sheer compassion of Robby's.
Yet at the same time there was an underlying tinge of danger, ready to rise up in the defense of his people and that was a place you didn't want to go. It was off limits, because that was the ruthless part of his mind. there was no compassion there, no pity, just simply a single-minded determination to guard those who needed his protection.
Normally you were simply looking for specific memories and you concentrated on that and they were in a container so to speak, but now we were looking for something different. In effect we weren't looking inside the container, but at the outside. He said to me, *Well, I think we've found something.* and he focused on it and I agreed.
Robby observed, *An incipient Mage talent perhaps. So minor that it can't even be called a talent really. But it's enough to stop my Healing ability from working properly.* He prodded it lightly and there was a jolt. While not serious, it shook both of us a little.
Robby said, *Well that's my mind, now let's see if it's in your mind as well.* and for the first time I saw my own mind and I was somewhat startled. It was nowhere near as powerful as Robby's and I knew it never would be, but it was much more powerful than I expected. It was somewhat amusing. Here I was worrying about the power that Robby couldn't use and obviously I had the same type of blockage, because I was only using perhaps a quarter of the power that I actually had.
The area he focused on in my mind was similar to his and yet at the same time it was very different. It occupied much more of my mind than his and it was unlike anything I'd ever seen in a werewolf mind before and yet it seemed familiar.
I told him, *For some reason, it reminds me of Denger.*
Robby agreed, *From what I've seen of him in your mind, I agree.
He prodded it lightly, but the reaction was all out of proportion to the minor probe. Not dangerous but it almost threw me out of his mind. He said with curiosity, *Interesting reaction. Now, we have another Healer in the family. I wonder if he has either type of blockage. He's over at the Ross's swimming.*
Robby reached out for Aaron and I went along for the ride and suddenly we were in Aaron's mind. He found the right area easily this time and we examined it. I thought it was closer to what was in Robby's mind than in my mind and he agreed. *If it's a Mage talent, it looks like it's full blown in your mind and in ours it's atrophied over time. Perhaps it's a genetic trait, since all three of us have it. I'll have to examine other Healers before I'll know whether it's a family trait or one belonging to all Healers. That is if we ever find any.* he said wryly.
I was puzzled about one thing. I said, *He seems able to use just about the same amount of his talent as I can, yet the ability has only been active in his mind for a few months, while I've had three years training.*
Robby said with a grin, *You're forgetting Sandy.* and I realized sheepishly that I had. Robby continued, *Obviously I can't do anything about it on my own. I need experts in magical abilities.*
I said, puzzled, *There are no such experts on our world.* as we withdrew from Aaron's mind.
*No. Not on our world.* he replied, as he gently pushed my mind from his.
“The Elven World?” I burst out when our minds were separated.
Robby nodded, saying, “Yes, the Elven World.” and he put his hand on his bare knee drumming his fingers, thinking. The silence stretched out and I knew he wasn't just making the suspense unbearable, he was seeing if he could arrange things. Finally he smiled and winked and I felt my face break out into a grin. Robby said, “Jeannie can't make it, she's working on a big deal for Sam this weekend that has to be finalized and Len is lending his sympathy.”
He reached out and touched me on the nose and grinned again, telling me, “They're still newlyweds so they said they'd be glad to get rid of you for two or three days. Mom has agreed to go along to chaperon you and Aaron, though she's as excited as you are. But remember, this is a different world. It's not even your old Egyptian world. This is a world where magic is of paramount importance. I put shields on all of you earlier and I strengthened them last month when we went against the vampires. While I don't think there's anyone that can break through them, there are no guarantees. I want your promise of complete obedience and I'll want the same thing from Aaron.”
I held up my hand and said, “Scout's honor.” and I was a Cub Scout though a very new one. Trevor and Brent Davis were Cub Scouts and it had appealed to my sense of humor to be called a wolf cub, also it appealed to my need for regimentation to a certain extent. The Egyptian world was a very strict world. You had your class and it was almost impossible to leave it. After knowing the freedom of this world I wouldn't want to go back, but still at times I felt a little lost. Robby says when I start school in the fall my life will be much more regular and regimented and I’ll feel more comfortable.
Robby told me with a grin of sympathy on his face, “We're not going to the same place the boys went over the school holidays. Where we're going, Dewan, the weather is kept warm by magic and will be about the same as here. However the children, or at least most of them, wear clothing and as visitor's we'll be expected to wear formal garb. However, what I'm wearing right now is different enough on the Elven World that it can serve as formal wear. You'll need sandals and socks as well, since that's the most common footwear and a T shirt at the start but after we arrive we can go with bare feet and sandals and discard the T shirt.”
I was a little disappointed by that. I was like Barry, I didn't like clothes. I had never worn them in my world and I found even just shorts, which is all I wore most of the time, constraining. I understand a little better than Barry why you had to conform with the majority and I shrugged with acceptance, his sympathic grin widening.
Both Mom and Tal were carrying fighting staffs and the specially designed Bowie knives with composite blades that Paul and Tal had worn just before New Year. The blades are stronger than steel and hold an edge even better.
We were all wearing shorts and T shirts and Tal was carrying a carryall for things that he and Mom would need for the next two or three days. Uni had a backpack which had enough clothing for us three boys for three days. Aaron was holding Sandy in his arms and I had Blue in the crook of my arm.
I had been a little doubtful about taking Sandy since she was expecting, but she assured me that Transporting wouldn't hurt the unborn kitten. I had contacted the Elven Council earlier, through the Gate Keeper since the Council was busy and at my request, he had arranged with the Elven Council for Transport at eleven o’clock.
I felt the power begin to rise and they were here. I heard Morthren in my mind, *Greetings little Elder. I would invite you to stay in my home, but Merwin took your advice to observe some children. So far the result has been one young human child adopted and he is now concentrating on trying to get an Elven woman to accept his courtship. It is not the right time to distract him. However Mossen and his wife and children are here at the moment. Mossen is representing the Werewolf Council in several matters and has been here for about a month and will be here for two or three more months. He has gladly invited you to stay in their embassy here in the capital.*
As before, the Transportation felt like a gentle hand cradling us as the Council Transported us and then we were in a large room, with Mossen, Florin and their three children. I noted with amusement that the three boys were wearing shorts rather than loincloths and I wondered if I had started a new trend. They weren't wearing shirts however. I noticed that Tearn's aura showed that he was now able to change.
I'd arranged to translate for everyone as Blue, Sandy and I had done over the holidays. As long as Mom stayed within my range she'd be able to talk to anyone and with the help of Blue that would be about six miles. While he couldn't read those who weren't were or had the ability to use mind-speech, he could use the magic of this world to boost my power. Unlike our world this wasn't their weekend.
The introductions were quickly over since this was not a formal greeting. I only established Uni's age which fixed his place in the small social structure of the five children, since they already knew Aaron. That put Uni second since he was a little older than Aaron and a little younger than Kendar.
I told them, “Uni is small, but he's only a little younger than Kendar, at nine and a half.” I grinned at Kendar who, like Uni, Aaron and the other boys, was anxious to get together and I imagined it would include a few wrestling matches.
I took the backpack that Uni was carrying and the two boys slipped off their T shirts and handed them to me and I put them into the backpack while they disappeared with the other boys. Since it was just before supper, they'd only have about half an hour to play, though we wouldn't be going to the Mage Academy until the morning.
The Mage Academy in Dewan isn't the only one on this world of course and quite often an apprenticeship system is used, but it was the most renowned academy. It had been established so that children and adults of all races would have a chance to work together. Normally the apprenticeship system paired those from the same race. Pairings such as an elf and a human or one of the merfolk and a selkie for instance were rare.
Here the teachers were from all races, there was even one giant though I didn't see him and the students were equally diverse. My interest was caught by one of the younger students, among a group sitting under a tree.
His aura showed he was a human Mage, not were. He was wearing spectacles which is what they were called on this world. A word that was borrowed from the English of our world, sometimes specs but never glasses. I had seen a few pairs on my way here, but normally Mages could use a spell to do the same thing. Even if they didn't have the ability to actually cast the spell, their magic would allow them to power it once it was in place.
Blue and Sandy went right up to him and introduced themselves, literally and the boy was somewhat surprised. He accepted it and he began to pet the familiars, taking the somewhat smaller Sandy onto his lap. I sat down opposite him and took Blue onto my lap. Aaron and Uni sat on either side of me, while Tal faded into the background, which he was so good at doing.
I told him, “Hello, little one, Blue and Sandy are choosy about who they make friends with, so you've got a good recommendation. My name is Robby Hansen.” His eyes went wide, evidently he recognized my name. “You're holding Aaron's familiar, Sandy and he's my brother.” Aaron nodded gravely. “The other redhead is Uni and he's a distant cousin and all three of you are probably about the same age.” Uni gave a half bow and the three boys looked at each other for a few seconds then all three of them grinned at the same time. Friendship established.
I said dryly, “I'm the ancient one of this group at thirteen and a half, however we're all werewolves and if you've read anything about us, you know about our extended prepubescent period, so that explains why I look about eleven.”
He admitted, “We've learned that much about werewolves. I'm Scalot Hesson. My father was at the Ceremony and he told us what you did. He's a Great Mage and a good friend of Morthren's. He said he was astonished at the power of your mind. He said that he talked to Morthren afterward, who said he didn't think there was any individual on this world, probably not even the Council collectively, who can equal your power.”
I observed, “Possibly true. However that doesn't mean I'm all powerful. One of the Immortals of my world decided to punish me and blocked my magic.” I grinned. “It backfired on him and ended up in humiliating him and other Immortals removed the block. I am curious, Scalot, why do you need spectacles?”
He grinned as well, saying, “I'm too sensitive for my own good. Father put the spell on me, but when I started here last fall, it was interfering with my magic, so he had to remove it until I've advanced far enough that I can block the effects of an external spell.”
It helped of course that Robby didn't know what the word shy meant, but I've never seen another person make friends as easily as Robby. He'd been here a few seconds and already made a friend. Aaron and Uni were tagging along. While physically they had no modesty it took them longer to get to know someone. Why, if they'd been on their own it would have taken them at least five or ten minutes to become Scalot's friend.
*Bully at fifteen yards and coming up to the plate.* Blue suddenly said sardonically and since Robby didn't start grinning, I knew he was only broadcasting to me.
“Well, look here, if it isn't the little freak with a few freak friends.” said the boy who was probably about fifteen.
*St ri ke one. He really missed that one, Dan.* and I couldn't help but grin.
Robby said, not even bothering to look at him, “Get lost, our group was having an enjoyable conversation until you came along.”
*St ri ke two. He's in trouble now Dan.* and I chuckled.
The dark-haired youth scowled and obviously he did something, because almost everybody stopped moving and turned their attention his way. *St ri ke three. He really made a major mistake there, Dan. He's arguing with the umpire and Robby just threw him out of the game.” and I laughed out loud, as Robby looked at him and the youth suddenly stopped moving and was in an unnatural stillness and his eyes went blank.
The little boy Robby had been talking to was giggling and so were Aaron and Uni. Blue looked at me and winked. Robby was looking at the older boy and was scowling in disapproval.
*Oh, oh, Dan, a second batter coming up to the plate and he looks madder than the first one.* Blue said.
A dark-haired man looking much like the boy, barked out, “What did you do to my son.”
*Str i ke one. That's another really bad error on the first pitch, Dan.” and I had to sit down.
“I told him to get lost and he didn't LISTEN to me.” said Robby.
*St ri ke two. The umpire's giving him a warning, Dan.* said Blue and I was aching with restrained laughter.
“Why you little bastard...” he said.
*Strike Three. And Robby's not waiting for an argument this time Dan, he's tossed him out of the game as well.* as the man obviously did the same thing that his son had done, because he too suddenly froze and his eyes went blank. I managed to muffle my howls of laughter somehow.
Youngsters began to gather around the pair of frozen figures and looking at Robby I could see he was blazing mad and I knew why. He hated stupidity when it came to magic and these two had made some really dumb errors.
Obviously the pair weren't much liked because the people, mostly boys and girls (what, did you believe all females on this world were witches?) were looking at the figures and they would close their eyes and then shake their heads. When they opened them they began animated conversations with their neighbors. They must have been trying to use a Mage sense of some kind and they weren't able to see the pair with it and they were amazed.
Robby called out, if you want to call raising your voice a little calling out, “Gather round.” and they did so obedient to the tone of command evident in his voice. “Sit.” and they all sat on the grass.
Robby nodded to the two figures, telling them, “They made a couple of stupid mistakes, anybody know what they were?” and his voice was low. Not knowing him, they probably didn't realize how angry he was, but I did and I knew that Aaron and Uni did as well.
The boy he had been talking to giggled again and said, “They underestimated you. They just assumed that you were a new student and they threw mind-blows at you. But what happened?” he said puzzled, “I felt them just disappear. We should have been able to feel them bounce.”
Robby said matter of factly, “I just absorbed them. If they were strong enough and I was strong enough, they might bounce. It's more likely that if they were that strong they would simply kill me. All right, that was their major mistakes aside from the fact that they're both bullies. What should they have done? Someone else this time, Scalot.” he told the boy reaching out and ruffling his hair and his voice was back to normal and he was in teaching mode.
Several hands went up and he pointed to one redheaded girl. He was so used to teaching redheads during the after school porch sessions, that he did it subconsciously. Robby looked down at Blue and he nodded his head. Blue probably had reminded him of that fact.
She said intently, “They should have used a light probe. It's sometimes called a greeting probe and most Mages will answer, but even those who won't will usually ignore it.”
Robby said with approval, “Good. First never, ever underestimate another person if you don't know him. It can get you killed. Second, use a greeting probe. As you say, even an enemy Mage will usually ignore one. But never assume that they will, always when using a probe of any type have your shields up. Always!” He said to the girl, “You are?”
“Delaan.” she said, blushing red with pleasure.
Robby told her, “Delaan, use a greeting probe. I assure you that I'm not an enemy Mage.” and he grinned.
I saw her concentrate for a moment and then her eyes widened. “It just disappeared.” she said with astonishment.
He nodded, saying, *Yes, but I felt it and if I had the opportunity, I would answer it.* He addressed everybody in mind-speech and I could see from the looks on most of the faces that they were astonished at how strong and clear it was. Robby contined out loud, “But remember this, just because another Mage doesn't answer doesn't mean he hasn't felt it. He may be the midst of something that he can't break off simply to give a greeting. Never use a second probe unless there's an important reason to get his attention. A second probe might be regarded as an attack even if it's as light as the first one.”
He looked around at the boys and girls and told them, “Again, someone else. Most probes will bounce and that gives you some impression of the person's power. Those directed against me will be absorbed and if you ever encounter an Elven Elder it will likely be absorbed as well. My two young relatives here have shields which I created for them. Those shields will also absorb a probe. What do you do in those circumstances?”
A little boy who couldn't have been more than a year older than Scalot, answered with a grin, “Be very, very careful.”
“Right answer.” Robby said, grinning as well. “Be very careful around us. You have no idea of our power. Unless you have a need which overrides the possibility of danger, the best thing to do is to leave us alone.”
He waved at the two stationary figures, saying, “They both underestimated me, they didn't bother to try a minor probe, they just flailed away at my mind. The boy isn't an adult, but the father is. Under your laws I could have killed him. Remember that. End of survival lesson.”
The boy who had provided the last answer, got out a piece of paper. He said, “I'm Farn, may I ask you a question?”
Robby said with a grin, “I don't mind. Whether I answer it or not depends on the question.”
Farn said seriously, “It's a quiz that one of our teachers gave us. We're allowed to ask questions. If it's an exam then we're in a classroom and a spell is used to prevent mind-speech.” He grinned, “I don't think it would stop yours.”
nodded, acknowledging that fact. Farn continued, “The question goes like this:
There is a troll guarding a bridge. What do you do? Take out your lance and attack or dismount and attack that way
I asked my father and he just said think about it. Everybody else has gotten the same type of answer from their parents.”
I was aware that someone had joined us. I looked at him and he looked at the two figures and grinned and then turned his attention back to Robby. He looked enough like the man and boy to be a relative and as we found out later, he was the man's brother.
Robby said seriously, “It's a question to make you think and that's why you got that advice from your parents. It has no relevance to the quiz as a whole.”
He directed a question, “Uni, you were born closer to the era when trolls existed on Earth. Do you know the answer?”
I saw concentration on Uni's small face and then he said, “I know part of the answer. I know trolls aren't creatures, they're magical creations, but I don't know why you wouldn't attack them.”
Robby ruffled his hair telling him, “I know you didn't have access to a Werewolf Historian that often. A boy of your age simply wouldn't be considered important enough. The answer for these children is, I'm a Mage. I wouldn't use either. I would use magic if I was forced to attack, if not I would find a warrior who would come and discipline the troll while I found another way around if possible. If not, I would wait until he dealt with the troll, though you could probably help. The only reason you would be forced to attack is if you had to get somewhere and couldn't delay to summon a warrior or to go around.”
Robby grinned when they got thoughtful looks on their faces telling them, “Just the first part of that is all the teacher wants at your ages. You're a Mage and would use magic. Right now you probably think trolls are evil beings that have to be killed. Well you would be wrong. Trolls protect bridges, that's their purpose and as Uni said they're creations, not beings. They are in fact part of the magic that is binding that particular bridge together. A bridge that is vitally important, perhaps because it's the only bridge for many miles or would be in a strategic position in wartime. I'm aware that you haven't had a real war since you arrived here, but the practice started on Earth where you came from originally and my assumption based on my knowledge from Earth, is that it continued here.”
Robby paused for a second before continuing, “A warrior in dealing with a troll who is guarding a bridge rather than protecting it, will discipline a troll by literally knocking him down to size. After half a dozen blows he would have knocked enough magic out of the troll that it would go back to simply protecting rather than trying to guard. Not for the inexperienced warrior I assure you.”
The man who had come up to our group said, “Very true. Trolls are beneficial and as Robby says they are creations not beings. In the beginning of our stay on this world such bridges were indeed placed in strategic positions for the possibility of war out of habit, now they are in vital positions where they may be the only bridge within many miles. They can't be killed by warriors only some of the magic knocked out of them, they can however be destroyed, by a powerful enough Mage. In that case it would destroy the bridge as well.”
Robby stood up and gave the slow formal werewolf bow and Aaron and Uni followed suit and the other children stood up out of respect. The man bowed back saying, “Our distinguished guest is Robby Hansen and despite the fact that he's a werewolf and not a Mage, the Council thinks he is the most powerful magic user on our two worlds. He destroyed Morain's shields with one blow, allowing the Council to kill her. Heed his advice well. It's good advice. My brother and nephew obviously didn't follow it. I don't know the other children. May I ask, Robby Hansen exactly what you did to them? I've tried all my Mage senses and I can see them only with my eyes.”
Robby had a serious look on his face, as he said, “Well right now they believe they're five hundred feet above the ground and falling. Your nephew knows he has his feet on the ground and he won't remember much, simply that he was punished for stupidity and using magic against someone he knew nothing about. However your brother doesn't. He actually thinks he's falling. I would think by the time the spell ends in two hours that he'll be terrified of heights for the rest of his life. I used their magic to cast the spell and then wove some of mine in with it so they couldn't be seen or tampered with.”
His voice went soft and cold, “The boy is young enough to learn, the man should have known better. I dislike irresponsible use of magic especially from those who should be old enough not to make that type of blunder.”
The man asked with a smile on his face, “And have you used a mind-probe to see how much power I have?”
Robby answered with a smile of his own, “Oh yes, Madon, indeed and I'm much impressed by your mind, but if I have your permission I think I would like to modify your shields somewhat, to make your mind a little more inaccessible.” and he was being completely serious, when I observed the man's face he realized it as well, but wasn't disturbed by it.
He said in a calm voice, “I think you would find my shields are pretty good for my world. They're not intended to stop minds like yours or the Council's. I am a teacher and sometimes my students need access to my mind and as long as it doesn't interfere, then go ahead.”
Robby smiled, saying, “I recently met a couple of telepaths on my world. For a people that use mind-speech all the time, their shields are atrocious. I provided shields for the two I mentioned and they can raise and lower them as they wish. Or in fact they can raise and lower parts of them, since they are bonded and they need full contact most of the time.”
Robby stooped down to pick up Blue and Aaron did the same with Sandy. He straightened, saying, “The only problem is that when I provide a shield, probes don't bounce, they're simply absorbed.”
I said dryly to Florin as we were walking along the main shopping area of Dewan. “I notice the pickpockets are carefully avoiding you.”
She laughed in her pleasant but very deep voice, “They know better than to tangle with us. Only giants are bigger and they're about nine or ten feet tall on average, so that makes me a dire werewolf. They know I could track them down if they stole anything from us. Those who don't want to stay in our community can easily get jobs in law-enforcement. You recognize the type?”
“Oh, yes.” I told her, “Many werewolves on our world tend to gravitate towards law-enforcement as well and I'm a sergeant in our town police force, not that it's very big. We only have twenty officers and we don't get a lot of serious crime. The more dangerous criminals have learned to stay away from my hometown for the most part.”
Florin asked with curiousity, “How many werewolves do you have in your hometown?”
I told her, “It's hard to give an exact figure but directly in and around Benson we make up about fifty percent of the population.”
She asked with fascination, “And you can keep that many werewolves a secret from humans?”
I shook my head, grinning, as I said, “Actually no. They've pretty well known from the beginning. We all pretend that it's a secret. But we've always had werewolf puppies returned to houses where everyone knew there weren't any dogs. Probably thousands of times in the last almost two centuries. They don't talk to strangers about it, in fact I don't even know if they talk to each other about it.”
“You must have fascinating relations with them.” Florin said dryly. “If it wasn't for my size I might like to visit someday. But women over seven feet tall aren't easy to hide. Getting to Uni, he interests me, he doesn't seem much like Aaron or the others, who visited us over your holidays. Why is that?” she asked.
I thought about it for a minute before answering, “Uni in a sense is over thirty-four hundred years old. He was born in Ancient Egypt. He has a foot in both worlds and he hasn't quite gotten both feet here yet. Robby rescued him and his brother from a little universe where time was stopped, a couple of months ago. A friend of theirs, a Mage, put them there to keep them safe from their father.”
I continued seriously, “Robby put memories into their minds that would get them ready for our time, but it's something that has to be gone through and absorbed before it becomes theirs permanently. Both Uni and his brother are being tutored going through those memories. Robby is doing it for Uni. His brother is twenty-two and a friend of Robby's is helping him. Once they've finished, Uni and his brother will be mainly in the present but until then, their memories still keep them partially in the past.”
Robby had his mind wide open for me. It was astonishingly complex, even more complex than when I had seen it at the Ceremony. It wasn't as complex as any of the present Council members nor any of the past ones that I had examined, but then he was only thirteen and a half years old. Council members were usually chosen towards the end of their first millennium or older.
This boy wouldn't live more than about a twentieth of their lifespan, but it would be interesting to see him when he was an old man. I'd bet on it being the most complex mind I would ever examine.
I grinned, “Okay you can shut your mind now. I'm usually telling students to shut their mouths.”
The way it closed was something fascinating to watch. It just seemed to disappear a little at a time and when he was finished, all I could see was a little bit of his surface mind.
Robby said thoughtfully, “Werewolf Elders can see a little more, Madon. It's what we call the public part of our mind and we never close it. Or at least if you're like me, you never hide it. Even when my mind is open my shields cover my mind, they simply become invisible, allowing others to see my thoughts. A mind probe would still just be absorbed, as it would normally.”
I nodded my understanding and told him, “The talent that you and Aaron have is very minor and as you say, it's an atrophied ability that Uni has in full measure and with him it isn't a minor talent. It's concentrated and is far more powerful than it looks. That's why when you gave it a minor probe it acted so violently. It's the ability to Transport and if you examine my mind you will see something quite similar though somewhat smaller. On our world he would be able to Transport himself or a thing which weighs from a few ounces to about six hundred pounds, from a few feet to about a hundred miles.”
I paused and grinned before continuing, “On your world he would have trouble using it at all, since external magic is not available, but if you can manage to get him power, I would say he could Transport about four hundred pounds fifteen to twenty-five miles. He cannot however Transport himself into a solid object. If there was something moveable it would be moved aside otherwise he simply wouldn't Transport. Not that it's impossible, but it takes an enormous amount of power to Transport yourself into a solid object and he'll never have that problem. Which is a good thing,” I said sardonically, “It's something that's guaranteed to be one hundred percent fatal.”
I gave a wave of my hand saying, “Uni'll have a lot of limitations especially since he's a werewolf and doesn't have the Mage senses, which would allow him to see at a distance. That means he can only Transport to somewhere he's been or can see through other minds, either in memory or what they are actually seeing. The Council is actually able to see into another world and at a distance, so that eliminates the danger for them that he could certainly run into, because he would always be doing it blind.”
Robby grinned, but then his face became more serious, as he said, “It is an ability. If Uni has it, he should be able to use it. It's like that question that Farn asked from the quiz. Only if he had that ability he'd simply Transport himself to the other side of the bridge, avoiding the troll. And I think I can arrange for power. You know about the project that the Council is involved in, draining the energy of the standing stones on my world and several others into your world.”
I nodded, saying, “They've been directing a great deal of it at what Morthren says you call the Sahara Desert. The same climatic changes that made it a desert on your world, have affected our world. One of the reasons on this world, is because a lot of the magic has leached away from that area and from other desert areas. Putting magic back allows us to use it to bring water into the area and encourage the growth of hardy grasses. Once they take hold we can introduce other type of vegetation. It will take time, but eventually our Sahara and the other deserts will be gone.”
Robby said seriously, “Some of the stone circles they can drain completely, but others have hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, which gives the stones energy, so it will be a never ending cycle. A little of that magic directed Uni's way on a continuing basis will allow him to use the ability to Transport. Perhaps it's an ability he'll never need, but if he's able to use it even once, then it will be worth the trouble of learning how to use it. Also I assume he would have to learn how to use it in some measure in order to learn how to suppress it at other times.”
I gave a nod as I said, “My ability is not as great as his, but it's possible to Transport other things as well as yourself and though I've never had to suppress it I think you're probably right. In order to do that, he'll have to learn how to use it. For you and Aaron while I can't do it for you I can show you how to put a block in your mind that will make the minor talent that you two have invisible and therefore no longer blocking your Healing ability. Possibly in the future you might be able to do something with it, even if it's something very minor.”
Which we spent the morning learning how to do it. Robby was, not surprisingly, the most exacting student I had ever taught. He wanted not only to have Uni able to use the ability, but also understand why something was done one way and not another. He already had an enormous knowledge of magic, which surprised me a little.
Robby explained, “You have to realize Madon, that as the most powerful mortal magic user on my world and as an Elder and defender of my people, I simply have no idea of who or what I might have to go up against. Our last opponent was a Master Vampire and their magic is incredibly different from any other type I've seen personally or through the memories of Healer/Shamen history that my granddad gave me. The more I know about magic, the better I can adapt to something that is strange to me.”
By the end of the morning Uni was Transporting from one end of the room to the other, taking Robby, Aaron and Tal Peters with him and if he could do that, he could use his full range. He had also learned how to suppress the ability when it wasn't being used, so Uni now also had full access to his Healing abilities.
I invited Robby and his three relatives and his friends to have lunch with the members of the teaching staff and he accepted. Even though the friends were familiars, it wouldn't be that unusual, because when witches needed information from us they brought their familiars as well.
I was a little disappointed that Airwhon, their giant teacher, wasn't there. Madon explained that giants by custom usually ate alone, or with close family and he preferred to eat in his quarters. We were eating in the second half of the lunch period, which lasted from eleven-thirty to one-thirty. Some teachers and students had the first part of the lunch period, others the second half.
We were coming out of the building ready to leave when Delaan came running up to us. She said in a worried voice, “Master Madon. Scalot hasn't come back from lunch, or at least I can't find him. I ran to his house and his mother said he had left for the Academy.”
I said sharply, “Show me where he would come back onto the Academy grounds!!” suddenly worried. One of my feelings.
She obeyed instantly not even looking at Madon for confirmation. When we got to the place he usually entered, I reached into my subconscious while Tal explained what I was doing. “Full werewolves have a much better sense of smell in human form than humans or part werewolves. However as you might imagine,” he said with wry humor, “Smells which in were forms aren't too bad, aren't always pleasant to a human nose. Only a fraction of the scent goes into the conscious mind the majority of it goes directly into the subconscious. So he has a memory of what Scalot smells like from this morning, but it's faint and he's reaching into his memory for the boy's full scent.”
When I had it, I changed to wolf form and was quickly able to determine that Scalot had been by this way in the last couple of hours so he had come onto the grounds, about an hour ago. While both Aaron and Uni could have done the same thing, as an older and more mature werewolf with the extra ability that being an Elder gave me I could do it much more easily. I passed the scent on to Uni and he also changed into wolf form and he headed in one direction while I headed in the other to see if we could find a fresher scent. Uni was the one who found it.
Uni said urgently, *Robby, I've got a scent that's only about twenty minutes old!! Scalot's scent and that of a couple of men! It seems they exited here deliberately because there's a small copse of trees they could have used to hide their movement.*
Aaron and Tal had gone with Uni, while Madon and Delaan had come with me. I headed for Uni as fast as I could, the others trailing far behind. I joined Uni in the copse of trees and began to figure out the scent pattern. There had been more than two, I counted a total of six scents aside from Scalot's. They smelled of sweat and leather and metal and something else. There was also the indication of a cart. One of the hand carts that were used in most of Dewan to carry and deliver items.
By the time I had what I needed, the other two had caught up with us. Delaan was breathing easily, but Madon was somewhat out of breath. I said tensely, “I need a map of Dewan.” Madon nodded breathlessly and suddenly there was a folded map in his hands and I appreciated what the gift of Transportation might be able to do for Uni. He opened it and I asked, “Please orientate it for me and show me where we are, I can't read your language directly.”
Madon put it on the ground and pointed at a spot. I said speculatively, “Okay here's what happened, there were six men waiting here and two went further onto academy grounds and kidnapped Scalot. Since it was done so easily they must have been on the grounds before, planning this out. The two brought Scalot back here and loaded him on a handcart and the six of them headed south on that street.” and I pointed at one of the small streets, Madon said it was called Tempa Street. I continued, my speculation, “From the map I see that it crosses all of the main streets and deadends at the river, which I know is called the Sophree. That street takes them well away from the two closest bridges. If they'd taken one of the other streets it would have taken them south-east and right to a bridge, so they probably have a boat waiting.”
Madon asked, “What do you intend to do, do you want me to inform the Law Enforcers?”
I said sharply, “No, there's too much danger to Scalot and not enough time.!! These aren't your ordinary thugs, there's the stink of blood on them!! You can wash the blood off of a blade but not all of it and each time it's used there's more. These men have a lot of blood on their blades. They kill easily and with no remorse.” I pointed down at the map, saying, “My mother and Florin and the boys are here around,” and Madon supplied the name, “Evein Street, where they can intercept these men, assuming they're going directly to the river.”
I heard Robby calling and there was an edge to his mind-speech, indicating that there was trouble. *Mom, Florin there's a main street called Evein close to where you were planning to go this morning. How close is it?*
Florin answered, *We're about one hundred yards from it.*
Robby edgily explained, *We met a small boy at the Academy this morning. He's been kidnapped by six men. They seem to be going directly south on Tempa Street. It was about twenty-five minutes ago so they're probably almost at your location. I want you to intercept them. They'll have a handcart with them. Boys,* he said sharply and they all straightened. *I want you to change into pups and when my mother and your's faces them, I want you to start barking with everything you have. Do not get close, there's no need, you're simply a distraction and if you endanger yourself needlessly, you'll regret it!!* All three of them could feel that Robby meant it and they each gave a little, *Yes Robby.* to him.
He ordered, *Good! Now move! I don't want you to miss them and be careful! These are soldiers and they're probably good at what they do!*
We headed for the junction of Tempa and Evein Streets. After a month here, Florin knew this area of Dewan very well. It didn't take long. We had only been about three hundred yards away from it. The boys had changed into pups, Tearn who had just started changing in the last month, taking the longest. They followed after us as soon as they were all changed. I assume Kendar was directing them and they stopped about fifteen yards away from us, well away from the junction and any danger.
I took out Paul's Bowie knife and offered it to Florin and she took it and the way she held it, told me she knew how to use a knife. I said, “It's called a Bowie knife and this one has a thirteen inch blade. It was designed at a time when we still used swords, so the original had to be able to stand up to blows by a sword. The originals were made of steel, which we wouldn't bring to your world. This one is even stronger than steel and will easily stand up to a blow given by the swords of your world.”
I said in mind-speech, *Robby, we're in position.*
He answered me, satisfaction in his mind, *Good. I've learned that Uni's ability is not a minor one. It will allow him to Transport Tal and I to your location, that's why I want the distraction. That will give us a chance to get to you. Look a bit to the side and show me the area. We need to go somewhere that he can see and I'll put it into his mind.*
I turned my eyes and gave him a view of the street on the opposite side away from the pups.
I heard Hary ask, *What do you want Tal and us to do with them.*
Robby said, very coldly in mind-speech. *I only need one of them alive to find out why Scalot was kidnapped. Neither our world nor this one needs men like these.* I felt Hary's approval and I'm sure my mind radiated it as well.
Robby broke off contact and I saw his eyes go blank as he went into a trance. I saw Madon shake his head with disbelief that anyone could go into a trance that easily. I said to him, “Robby can go into a trance faster than anyone I've ever heard of. He can do it so easily that if he's thinking hard about something, he can even do it unintentionally. I have to watch him for just that type of thing, because he can even do it when he's moving and once he's in a trance nothing will bring him out of it until he comes out of it of his own volition.”
Robby's eyes suddenly showed that he was back and he said, “However I remember everything that happens around me when I'm in a trance, I just don't have any control of my body at that time.” He bent over and picked up Blue.
He asked, “Do you wish to come, Madon?”
Madon nodded, telling him, “Scalot is one of my students and not only that, he's the son of one of my friends.”
Delaan said eagerly, “May I come? Scalot's my friend.”
Robby looked at her and I could see him considering it. He told her with a warning in his voice, “It won't be pleasant, Delaan. My mother asked me what I wanted to do with Scalot's kidnappers and in effect I just told her and Tal to kill them if that's the type of blows that they have.”
She hesitated, confused, then said, “That's not usually the type of thing our parents would let us decide. Usually it would be an automatic no.”
Robby smiled, explaining, “I'm a werewolf, Delaan. We are predators and we have little remorse when we kill those we consider are better off dead. We don't spare our children in situations like this, Florin's three sons are there and when Uni Transports us,” he nodded at the two boys, “they and the other boys are your age and younger. If you feel you can deal with what will occur, it's your decision.”
Delaan looked even more confused and she had to think about it. Robby left her to decide and knowing him he contacted his mother and was watching with her. Delaan said finally, “Scalot's my friend and I want to be there for him.”
Robby said absently. “All right, I accept your decision. Uni take us all.” I felt Uni reach out and gather us all in, it was like when the Elven Council Transported us, you could actually feel him taking hold of you.
I could feel that Robby had returned. He didn't announce it, not wanting to distract me, but he let me know because you didn't feel him unless he wanted you to. Suddenly the men were in sight. They didn't want people to think they were together, which was foolish. There were four of them walking in front about twenty feet ahead of two others who were pulling a hand cart. It shouted out to observers they were a group, they were dressed alike and all of them carried swords and knives. That was somewhat unusual since I had only seen the occasional man wearing one.
Seeing Florin and I waiting for them, the four front ones slowed down to let the other two catch up. Even with Florin's size we didn't look all that threatening and I knew that's why Robby had picked us rather than informing the Law Enforcers. They were armed and they were soldiers and they definitely looked threatening and these men might have slit the boy's throat in that event.
The men came onto the street and the latter two let go of the handcart and they all drew their swords. In four thousand years they had developed a metal that were made up of a variety of metals and though it looked like bronze it wasn't and these metal swords were as good as any made of steel on our world.
Suddenly the werewolf pups began barking and it created a tremendous racket and it jerked all of the men's eyes to them. I saw out of the corner of my eye, Robby and Tal, the two younger boys and a man and a little girl I didn't know appear. I was a little relieved, with Robby here they wouldn't be able to hurt the child now, because he wouldn't let them near them near the boy.
I said to Florin, “Well it looks like the cavalry has arrived.” Of course I don't know what she heard instead of cavalry, probably simply 'help'. I continued, “Stay out of this, with those swords they still have the reach on you.” and she nodded.
I moved forward slowly and I saw Tal do the same. Obviously they sensed I was almost as dangerous as Tal since they split up evenly to face us, three to each. I held the staff above my head as if I didn't know what I was doing, holding a wooden weapon above my head. It suckered one of them and he grinned and rushed at me, bringing his sword down onto the staff. I grinned when he hit the staff with a jolt and looked dumbfounded.
“It's not made of wood, sorry.” I said sweetly, as I brought my foot up and kicked him in the groin. I pushed upward with the staff on his sword as he screamed and started to fold. That pushed his sword up and away from me and I moved a little to my right and brought the staff down on the back of his neck, hearing the crack as it broke and he went down permanently.
They had not stayed together as they should have and they were paying the price as the second rushed forward to catch me with the staff down. Bringing the staff up, I broke his right arm making him drop his sword, then moving my hands close to one end, I used a circular motion and broke his left leg. As he went down I kicked him in the chin, breaking his jaw and knocking him out.
I was somewhat disgusted with them, if they had stuck together they might have stood a chance, not that I was complaining. Still holding the staff by the end, I lunged forward and caught the last man in a 'I don't know what to do mode' and crushed his throat.
I looked over at Tal and saw two were down and the last had tried to move back, but he couldn't go far, since Robby wouldn't let him anywhere near the wagon.
I saw with my peripheral vision that the three facing Hary were down as well as two of the three facing me. I had left the last as the witness Robby wanted. I heard him from behind. “He's mine, Tal.” and his voice was as cold as the center of a glacier. Seeing that he had locked the man's muscles on him, I moved back and away to give him room and he moved forward to take my place.
Robby said icily, “I want to know who hired you and why?” The man just spat and sneered. Robby ignored it and suddenly he was in the man's mind and he found what he wanted and broadcast it to our group.
This world had no wars, but border skirmishes were frequent and as long as they remained small they were ignored by the Elven Council. These men were both part of the problem and part of the solution. The man was a former soldier, as were the others, they had been approached by one side in a dispute regarding some land. They had been paid to kidnap Scalot to put pressure on his father, who was the head of the World Court at present.
He thought it hilarious that the other side had come to him to do the same thing and that they didn't know the boy's father was a Great Mage. It chilled me when I saw that he had intended to slit the boy's throat and dump him into the river and it was something he was looking forward to.
When Robby had retrieved that information, he went back to the kidnapping. This man had grabbed the little boy as he had been going past and broken his arm, not because he needed to, but just because he enjoyed inflicting pain. They had used a Healer's potion to put him to sleep. They had carried him to the copse of trees, putting him on the handcart, then piling cloth on top of him, not caring if he suffocated.
Robby withdrew from the man's mind and I heard him say, “Uni, Aaron, check on Scalot.” Then he turned his attention back to the man, saying icily, “One of the others is still alive and aside from a couple of broken bones he's fine. From your mind I know that he knows as much as you do. That means we don't need you.”
Robby released him and then moved. For the first time after Robby had gathered his power in a trance, I saw him move, as he just seemed to drift forward. I knew what he was doing, he wanted the man to see him and for a fraction of a second know the helplessness that his many victims had known. The man had his sword back for a blow and desperately he started to bring it around, but it had only moved about a foot before Robby struck with a palm to the man's breastbone. We all heard the noise as it broke and pushed into his heart, rupturing it and killing him instantly. The man was thrown backward for almost ten yards before he went down, never to rise again.
I looked at the man I had killed with satisfaction. I didn't usually feel anger but this time I had. I started to turn away from him and I caught a glint with my peripheral vision. I said urgently, *Mom, Madon, Florin, make sure nobody touches any of the bodies before I finish with Scalot and Madon, don't use any magic to examine them or let anyone else do so.* and I went around to the back of the cart. Uni had uncovered Scalot and I was relieved when I saw that he was breathing easily.
Uni said, “I can smell the potion, though I don't know how long it will keep him unconscious.”
Robby said, “His mind seems strong, but I didn't want to take any chances.”
I told him intently, “The broken arm is in pretty bad shape. It's broken in at least two places. If he doesn't get proper treatment it could cause permanent disability.”
Robby called in mind-speech, *Blue, Tal I need your help.* and Blue was there in seconds quickly followed by Tal.
Robby picked up Blue, saying, “We've got to do something about his arm. Tal with my broken arm I don't have the strength and sensitivity to straighten it. You'll have to do that and then Uni and you can each hold one break while Uni and Aaron help me to repair them.”
Tal had set a fair number of broken bones in his Army days and very carefully he straightened the limb and joined the ends and I put my hands over one break to keep it straight while Tal put his hands over the other.
Robby's eyes went blank as he went into a trance and I shook my head. Healers were trained to go into a trance and I'd been doing it for three years, yet it took me over a minute of calm just to get into it. Robby did it instantly and he went far deeper than I had dreamed was possible when I was learning how.
He pulled Tal and I and Aaron into his mind and trance. He was giving Tal and I directions and we moved the arm a little bit this way and then that until he was completely satisfied. And then he released his power and I was startled because he wasn't using only his power, he was using some of mine and as I looked I realized that he was using some of Aaron's as well. I realized with satisfaction that he was taking the directions from my mind to do the Healing and the three of us were providing much more power than any Healer I had ever known.
I knew what he was seeing simply represented the boy's arm, but that was enough and in his mind I could actually see the breaks and I watched them fuse together and then bone grew around the breaks to provide the extra support that broken bones needed.
I watched Robby and Tal and the two younger boys preparing to Heal Scalot's arm, holding Delaan tightly though she didn't seem much affected at least at the moment, she would later. I asked the werewolf woman next to me. The one with the staff, not Florin who I already knew. “Do you know why he doesn't want anyone to touch the bodies, or to use magic?”
She shook her head, telling me, “No, but Robby always has a good reason. He detected something, but I don't know what.”
Fortunately when the Law Enforcers showed up, their chief was a man I knew and one who respected Mages. He arranged his six men around the bodies to keep the crowd from getting closer and then we waited. While we were waiting he questioned all of us who had been involved in the matter.
I knew Robby and the boys were using Healing magic and I looked to see if I could observe anything, but as I expected, I could see nothing, his shields covered the power that they were using. It must have been an enormous amount compared to an ordinary Healer since it only took about twenty minutes from the time they started until they were finished and I saw Robby come out of his trance.
He moved Scalot's arm and it was moving normally and I saw him nod with satisfaction. He set Blue on the ground and then ruffled the youngsters' hair and they grinned with satisfaction. Robby looked up and seeing me with Mora the chief Law Enforcer he came over.
He said to the man, “I'm sorry to stop you from doing your job, but when I looked at the man I killed, I saw a glint of magic with my peripheral vision. I know from talking to Scalot this morning that his father is a Great Mage, yet these men didn't seem to have any worries about kidnapping him. What if they can't be seen by magic?”
I stiffened and then looked at the body. I hadn't used any Mage senses, there had been no need. There shouldn't be any danger in just looking. Closing my eyes I reached out with my Mage senses and I couldn't see the one Robby had killed, though I could easily see the street. I looked for the other men and I couldn’t' see them either. I opened my eyes and stated, “I can't see them except with my eyes.”
Robby closed his eyes for a minute and then when he reopened them he said, “I was just looking for an ability that I have, that I've never needed. When I told the Council about the stone circles I showed them a scene of a Shaman viewing the brief awakening of a sleeping giant. It killed several hundred people. He only survived because he could see magic. I was just retrieving the ability from his mind. We'll look at these men with that ability. I will take you into my mind, if you don't object?”
I shook my head and suddenly I was looking through Robby's eyes and he looked at the man he had killed. On his chest was a small but intense blue fire. I stiffened as I saw how much energy the article of power radiated.
Robby asked, *How stable is it and how old do you think it might be?*
I told him, *It seems to be very stable. If there were any danger it would be pulsing. How old? Several hundred years I would say. Such articles of power have been banned for almost three hundred years. While a Mage can't see them in their present state, it's impossible to make them without using an enormous amount of power. So much power that it simply cannot be hidden.*
*Them?* Robby asked.
*Yes, them, they were made in multiples of six and since there are six men here and none of the amulets are throbbing, I would assume that they are all wearing amulets made at the same time, by the same Mage.* I told him with a great deal of worry.
*How dangerous are they?* Robby asked.
I told him fearfully, *Very dangerous. They continually gather magic over the years. Since you can see this one, if you were a Mage you could touch it with your magic. They were banned, not because they made people invisible to Mage senses, but because the occasional Mage was born with the talent to detect them and to touch them with their magic. When they did so that would cause the article to release its energy in an enormous explosion, killing anyone within thirty yards of it. That was when they were first made. With six of them and the energy they have gathered over the centuries, they could probably destroy a great deal of Dewan.* I swallowed hard thinking of the devastation they could bring.
*Can they be removed safely?* Robby asked, his large green eyes glinting with worry.
I nodded jerkily, saying, *Yes. As long as the owner is dead or unconscious and as long as none of those who remove it radiate any Mage powers. An ordinary person can't see the article of power either, but they can feel it. It might be almost impossible for a Mage to remove it. We simply don't normally need the control that would be required to keep all of our power within our skin rather than within our aura. There's no way of knowing if a Mage has the ability to detect it or if some of the Mage power that is leaking will make it explode.” My hands fluttered out of my control with concern.
*How do you store articles like these?* Robby asked me.
I considered thoughtfully, *Usually we use a type of magic that doesn't interact with other kinds of magic, but perhaps the other method would be safer, though neither method can stop all magic from leaking. Aside from magic, we use lead boxes. As I said, they don't stop all magic, but they stop about seventy-five percent, which will make them much safer to handle. Leaving about two yards distance between each box will cut down on the possible danger even more.*
I didn't like it one bit. I would need to use Mora's men. I asked one more question of Madon. *Can they be Transported safely?*
He considered it, worry lines creasing his face, as he said, *Probably. No, assuredly. We have accounts of those wearing these magical articles being Transported without any incident.*
*It'll have to be Mora or one of his men. Can you get some lead boxes to store them in?* I asked.
Madon told me, *Yes, there's a jeweler about a hundred yards from here. He makes some for the Academy.* He smiled briefly, *Not everything our students produce is completely safe, so we end up needing about a hundred a year. That allows us to store them, until we can dispose of them safely.* He called to his student, “Delaan, run to Santher the Jeweler and get half a dozen lead boxes. Tell him it's urgent and tell him to send us a bill as usual. And I mean run.” She took off and the crowd parted to let her through.
I looked at Mora who had been watching us with interest. Obviously he was accustomed to people using mind-speech around him. I said, “Sorry, to exclude you. My name is Robby Hansen and I'm a werewolf Healer and the more sensitive of us can actually see magic. The man I killed is wearing an article of magic and I asked Madon to check to see if he could see him and the others. He can't see them with his Mage senses, just with his eyes. That's why they were willing to kidnap and kill a Great Mage's son; because they would be invisible to those looking for them.”
Mora nodded, saying, “I've read about that particular article of power, since it pertains to my field, but the book I was reading said they've been illegal for almost three hundred years.”
I said grimly, “Just what Madon told me. He also told me they've been gathering magic since they were created, which must be longer than that. Therefore they're very dangerous. If the wrong type of magic touches them, they'll explode. There are six of them and Madon tells me they have enough energy to destroy most of Dewan. Somebody with absolutely no magic will have to collect them from the men. They can't be seen, but they can be felt.” Mora nodded his understanding again.
I told him, “Delaan has gone to get six lead boxes to put the amulets in. My ability to see magic is internal, but I don't want anyone with any magic, whether internal or external, to get anywhere near them again. So that leaves you or one of your men, because nine of us are full or part werewolves and Madon and Delaan are Mages.”
Mora said easily but not trying to hide his fear, “We have no more wish to die than anyone else, but that's what we get paid for. To risk our lives when it's necessary.”
I nodded, then I reached out and checked the man Mom had just knocked out. He was still unconscious but he showed signs of coming out of it. Entering the sleep center of his brain I made sure that he'd stay asleep for at least a couple more hours. Then I said in mind-speech, *Mom, you and Florin and the children move back into the crowd. Tal, you do the same with Scalot and Uni and Aaron.*
As they began to move backward I said to Mora, “I'm going to contact the Elven Council and see if they can put a ward around those who have the amulets. If something sets them off they may be able to limit the damage.”
I reached out with my mind, *MORTHREN, I NEED YOU AND THE COUNCIL!!!!* I shouted.
I got my answer immediately, as the Chief Councilor asked, *Yes, what is it, Robby?!!*
I gave him a quick recap, asking, *Can you put a ward around them while they are collected?*
He asked, *Can we see them through your eyes, little Elder?* I moved to where I could see all of the men and let them see the magic. One of them was lying facedown, but they could see the others and that would show them the magnitude. I felt the buzz in my mind that told me the Council members were talking to each other.
They turned their attention back to me, telling me, *We will need your aid, little one. We simply can't contain that much energy alone. If it does explode it will undoubtedly kill all four of us, but together we should be able to protect Dewan.*
I asked, anxiously, *Can we make it opaque from the outside. I would think the light from that much energy could cause flash blindness if it explodes, unless we contain the light as well?*
The Chief Councilor said, *Yes, Robby. That is possible, though in fact what we will be creating is actually an inverted ward. Normally wards are created to keep magical things out, but about ten percent of the time we want to keep magic in.*
I looked at Mora. I told him, “We will be establishing a ward and you'll be able to see it because it will be dark from the outside. The amulets will be around the neck, on a short chain, under their shirts. Once Delaan gets back you can start. Put the boxes about two yards away from each other.”
I asked this boy who had such an air of command about him, “Why do you assume that it will be me?” with curiosity.
He grinned and the lights danced in his large green eyes, as he said, “You're not foolhardy. If you have to, you'll risk your men but you're not the type to lead from the rear or to let your men do something dangerous, if you can possibly do it.”
I must admit he read my character perfectly. Suddenly his green eyes went blank and I looked at him with concern. “Don't worry, he's just gone into a trance to join with the Council.” Madon assured me. “The way he can go into a trance is somewhat astonishing. I've never seen it's like before in close to a hundred years of being a Mage.”
Robby swayed a little and Madon put his hand on him to steady the boy and in front of us a black hemisphere appeared. Madon said with a grin, “Well it's safer for us now and you don't have to worry. If the amulets blow up we don't have to cremate you, just hold a funeral service.”
I said mock sourly, “Thanks, just what I need when I'm going on a dangerous mission.”
Madon said more soberly, “I don't think it'll be all that dangerous. Robby just doesn't want to take any chances.”
I nodded in agreement with that type of philosophy. The little girl was on her way back and I head her yell, “Out of the way!!” and the crowd parted to let her through and coming to a stop before Madon she handed him a bag.
“Thank you, Delaan. Move back into the crowd like the others. I'll stay here with Robby.” Wordlessly he handed me the bag and I looked inside and counted six boxes. Better to be safe than in a million pieces. Putting the thought aside, I walked through the ward, hoping they'd got it right and I'd be able to see inside. I was relieved that I couldn't even tell that there was a ward in existence.
I went to the first of the men, the one lying on his face and turned him over. He was the one who expected to cut through the women's staff thinking she'd been careless in putting a wooden pole above her head. I thought with amusement that it was no wonder that he had such a surprised look on his face. Pulling his shirt open I couldn't see anything, but feeling carefully I felt a necklace. Moving it in my hands until I felt a catch, I undid it and taking out one of the lead boxes, I opened it and I put the amulet into it. It was disconcerting, because I couldn't see it and I had to feel the bottom of the box to make sure it was really there. I shook my head and closed the lid of the box and heard it catch and tried it to make sure it had really done so.
I put it down on the street. I felt a little more confidence and the other five went quickly, but it was with relief that I was able to leave the ward, with six lead boxes on the street spaced well apart. I nodded at Madon.
I saw him close his eyes, which the boy Robby hadn't had to do and as I turned around the ward disappeared and so did boxes and the boy opened his eyes. “Well they've been sent where nobody will be able to use them again.” he said with satisfaction. He pointed upward, “We sent them to the moon. The Elven Council couldn't have done it without my power added, so it's unlikely there's anyone else on this world who can get them back.”
We spent the next hour going through what had happened in more detail and I was impressed by the way he had handled the whole thing from beginning to end.
I was representing the third party in this suit, though we were in fact not recognized by the World Court and I didn't expect to ever say a word in this matter.
We entered the courtroom and there were more people than had ever been there. Our problem hadn't captured much attention. But I was astonished when I saw the Judges of the World Court in the audience, also the Elven Council, a couple of dire werewolves and six children.
The Bailiff held up his mace and announced. “The World Court is now in session. The present World Court judges have disqualified themselves from this case and the Elven Council has asked a werewolf Elder to Judge this case. All stand.” and we did so.
A young boy entered the Court from the Judges quarters and he was wearing a red judicial robe. He went behind the desk and sat in the central chair. I thought with amusement that they must have had to put a couple of cushions on it. He began to look around the courtroom at those directly concerned, his eyes lingering on each of the two delegations representing the two sides and then his eyes came to rest on me. I drew in my breath. His green eyes were cold and his personality almost tangible.
My amusement was gone. A child he might be, but he had as much right to sit behind that desk as any Judge I had ever seen. He began to speak and his voice was very soft and people must have had to strain to hear it. “My name is Robby Hansen. The Elven Council has asked me to decide this case. By their actions the delegates of both sides have destroyed their credibility and their case. We have a prisoner who admits being hired by the chief delegate on each side to kidnap Scalot Hesson to put pressure on his father, Charmal Hesson, the Chief Justice of the World Court.”
I wish I could have been watching the delegations from the front but still I saw their bodies stiffen. Robby Hansen continued, “Perhaps they might not have done so if they had known that Charmal Hesson is a Great Mage. The man that they both went to, planned to slit Scalot's throat and dump him into the Sophree River. Fortunately my family and I, plus Florin and her sons and Madon, managed to intercept them before they got to the river and their boat. We killed five of them but the sixth, after his jaw was Healed, talked and told us everything.”
He stated firmly, “My judgement, which will be enforced by the Elven Council, is as follows. Both Rayn and Verset forfeit all rights to the land in question and an area of land one hundred miles wide, fifty miles from each country and running the length of the present border shall become a country called Talrea, after the city at the mouth of the river on the coast.” I was filled with joy. Somehow the people I had represented, had come out the winners.
He continued looking at the two delegations and said, “If either of you wish to dispute my judgement do so now.” I held my breath wondering if they would. After about a couple of minutes he smiled coldly and said, “Since there is no objection the court is dismissed.” and he stood up and walked out of the room. I gave a sigh of relief. Obviously the two delegations didn't want this to end up in a criminal court. While the child hadn't died, objections could have had major consequences. They could have resulted in a criminal case and punishments that could have included years in prison.
I said to the Council. “Well I satisfied one person in the courtroom today. I could feel his joy as I announced my judgement.” I turned my attention to Scalot and his father, “I hope you're not too unhappy Charmal, they deserved much worse.”
He said slowly, “In a way you hurt them far more than imprisoning them would have done. They each lost fifty miles of land on what had been their border and they'll probably never hold another public office as long as they live. Political power is what those type of people live for and they'll never have it again.” He grinned, “Also now that they know I'm a Great Mage they'll always wonder if I intend to come after them for harming my son. This will be much harder on them.”
I nodded and looked at Scalot who had been looking up at his father. “Do you agree, Scalot?” I asked.
Scalot said frankly, “My father doesn't whip me very often, but when he does he makes me wait a day and the anticipation is worse than the beating itself and I know what they'll worry about is far worse. I'm satisfied.”
I looked at Delaan, who had a redness around her eyes that showed that she had been crying. I said soothingly, “You're human and unlike werewolves, you feel sorrow when you see someone die, even when you know that they deserve it. Keep that for the rest of your life. It is a trait that serves humans well.” She nodded and her eyes were older than they had been yesterday morning.
Turning my attention to Mossen and Florin and their children. I told them, “Leave takings are hard when you've been through danger together, but I wish to tell you Florin and your sons that I'm proud of all of you. We took lives, but in the process we saved a life which is much more important and that is what you should remember for the rest of your lives.”
I held out my now cast-less left arm, which we had Healed and my right and Blue jumped into them. I said, “We also learned much from Madon. Tell him goodbye for me and I'm sorry he doesn't like to say good-byes in person.” I'd also gotten a little magic from the stone circles, directed Uni's way by the Elven Council.
Uni, Aaron holding Sandy, Tal and my Mom gathered around me and we felt the giant hand grasping us and Transporting us to our world. I heard the Council say, *Surely, one of these times you can come to our world without getting into trouble, little Elder.*
I laughed at that absurd thought and said, *I highly doubt it.*