Interlude: Colm's Questions

Kaelyn explained all she had done and learned, quietly amused and pleased that he was as interested in the affairs around town as he was in her discoveries about Brant and Daisy. When she finished her telling Colm leaned back, pondering quietly, looking down at his hands folded across his stomach. Kaelyn watched him, trying to be patient and learn from the elder healer's wisdom, instead of being frustrated and impatient.

At length Colm spoke.

“Do you know how I first met Sonja?”

“Uh, no, I don't think you've ever told me.” Kaelyn said. This felt irrelevant. But maybe she was just being impatient.

“It's not relevant, not really. I just bring it up because you remind me a little of that young wizard who quietly revolutionized how this town saw magic. Simply by being good at what she does, and by doing it honestly and well, she made the arts respectable in Strand.

“But we are sadly talking about a much less reputable form of magic. Ellis was right, of course, this is demon magic, Diabolic magic. Fortune did at least give us a few days to discover his location. I wonder why he did that, by the by. I wonder what opportunity presented itself that forced him to act so early. But we can but be grateful for such blessings.”

“If you would like my thoughts on the book you discovered I should be happy to come to town and talk with Sonja for a while, drink some tea with her while you and her apprentice tell us about the demon book. But I don't think that book has much more to tell us, do you?”

“Well, it can't tell us where Brant his holding Daisy, or how she's faring, or...”

“It can't calm your fears, no. In fact, reading it more is more like to make them worse. But perhaps Sonja's apprentice can help you. You mentioned that the wizards had sensed a similar magic recently. Perhaps they can help you discover where it came from, which direction.”

“Oh, I...I had thought perhaps Brant had been practicing in his room?” Kaelyn said.

“Nothing is impossible, but it seems unlikely. Diabolic magic would make a lot of noise, I would think, and a lot of mess that would be hard to explain. Most likely Brant has a place outside of town where he feels safe and alone and unnoticed.”

“Of course, that does make more sense. He would have a place prepared to take his take Daisy.” Kaelyn said, and shuddered at the thought.

“I suggest you get some sleep tonight, Sojourner. Colm stood up, pulled a small tea bag out of a cabinet made of many small drawers, and turned toward Kaelyn, muttering the Incantation of Rest as he held the tea bag in his cupped hand. The Incantation finished he put it in Kaelyn's hand and said, with affectionate mock gravity,

“Now, young lady. Boil one cup of water, steep this three minutes, and add honey from a local hive for full potency. Then be in your bed no more than ten minutes later, unless you like sleeping on the stairs.”

Kaelyn laughed. “I know how to prepare Chamomile, Master.”

He patted her shoulder and smiled. “Of course you do. But you're young and anxious and an anxiously performed rest spell is a contradiction in terms. Let your old master give you this little gift tonight.”

“Of course. Thank you, Master Colm. Steep it three minutes, you said? I'll remember that.”

“And mind the honey. From a —”

”— Local hive” Kaelyn finished, perfectly matching his tone and inflection.


© 2020-2021 Nathanial Dickson. Written during #NaNoWriMo 2020 Contact me on Mastodon