The Locksmith
The Mysterium Compact
Book 1: The Ghost of Winter's Past
The Locksmith


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"It's green today," and the words of that observation echo through the hall as if being repeated in whispered voices by a half dozen others. Far below vaulted stone ceilings painted with a mural of the night's sky, two robed men in the green and black attire of Akrabahadran stare upwards to the scintillating sphere of jade-colored light hovering there. "I've never seen that shade…" There's a sense of hushed marvel in Arnon's tone as he regards that hue. Around the sphere of light, two concentric rings; one of mithral and one of adamantine spin in opposite directions, each engraved with mathematical symbols and writing in an ancient language foreign to Arnon's eyes. Below the sphere, a towering statue of a robed man holds two hands aloft, outstretched to the sphere of light, as if carrying it aloft. On the breast of his robe, the sigil of an eye with three crowns above and wings spread out to the side is proudly displayed.

"The color bodes well for us," the other, much older man states to Arnon. He is taller, thinner and with grayer hair and more wrinkled flesh. "We should look upon this day as a fortunate one," the old man intones, turning to face Arnon. "The ever-vigilant eye of Aroden is upon us."

« Akrabahadran, the College of Shadows | Desnus 16th, 4655 »

"How are you adapting to your new role?" The old man folds his hands behind his back and begins walking again, his pace allow to allow Arnon to catch up. The young half-elf clears his throat and looks up to that pale green orb, then back down.

"It's— not as easy as I'd imagined, Exarch." Doubt hangs in Arnon's expression as his eyes avert to the floor, hands clasped in front of himself as he walks. "I feel more alone now than I ever did as an atelis. But, I suppose that's to be expected. It's just— " Arnon glances up at the old man, noticing that he has been observing him carefully the whole time, those steely gray eyes always assessing and evaluating. "I understand the sacrifice we make as dáskalos…"

"Good," the exarch cuts him off, one gray brow rising as if to challenge Arnon to continue. The half-elf decides best not to, offering a nod of agreement to his superior. "We have long endeavored at this academy to place the importance of sacrifice in a position of prominence. The atelis all learn that lesson, as must we as dáskalos in guiding them down their myriad paths. We begin, and end here, Arnon." Stopping his circuit of the room, the exarch raises his hand to motion towards the sphere. "You are a compassionate man, capable of great empathy and understanding. You will make a fine dáskalos, of this I was certain the day you first came within these walls."

Arnon managed a nervous smile at that, glancing to the statue before looking back to the exarch. "Perhaps one day even a fine exarch," was meant as a light-hearted jest, but the old man before Arnon finds no humor or camaraderie in those words. Instead, he narrows his eyes and downturns the corners of his mouth into a creased frown that accentuates the depth of wrinkles in his old face.

"Don't be absurd."

Previously The Twin
Continued In The Bear
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