It’s that time again! This month I’m writing little snippets of back story for each of my villains. Today is a story from the childhood of the Arx in book two, Melder. I had a harder time writing this one, but it was interesting to finally sit down and explore the taking away of magic and powers, since that is what looms over Charlotte’s head throughout the books.
Next month I’m going to try to write a little bit about the goodies in my story, though I haven’t decided which ones or what to write about with them quite yet. I’m open to suggestions…
As always with these things, this is just a toss out, a first draft, a little taste.
Lennox collapsed into his chair. He dug his shaking fingers into the dents of the armrests and kicked off his shoes. The grandfather clock next to the door ticked away the time. He shoved his way out of the chair and paced the floor in his socks. He didn’t want to look around at the debris or pause to think, but his stomach churned and rumbled its reminder that he must eat. He must continue to live. He spied the two plates sitting next to the skillet, still full of this morning’s breakfast. He hadn’t gotten to everything. He threw his arm out and the plates shot up and exploded into tiny fragments when his magic hit them. He shoved his feet back into his shoes and stomped over to the skillet and threw it into the trash. He wanted everything gone.
Never again would he take an apprentice.
The first apprentice had been easy. Their days were full of laughter and lessons and growth. Rarely had he had to be the bad guy, and mostly that had been in the beginning. The second apprentice had been much of the same. There had been more times of scolding with that one, but the good had far outweighed the bad, and both of them still kept in close contact with him.
The third apprentice was different, but he couldn’t exactly explain why. There had been small things that had bothered him all along, but it had all snowballed on him quickly in the end and now he didn’t want to think.
The boy was smart. He barreled through his lessons, but was sloppy with them. He pushed Lennox hard each day with an unquenchable thirst to learn more. Over and over again Lennox would back the lessons up, and each time the boy would respond with frustration and anger. The frustration he understood. The anger bothered him.
“I’ve already done this!” The boy yelled at him this morning and shoved the table into the wall.
“Not well.” Lennox said as he always did, but this time he stood and pulled the boy out of the chair. “You must complete the lesson properly. Magic is serious business. You do not want to harm somebody because you are careless or your skills are weak.”
“You are the one who is weak.” The boy spat out.
Lennox had sent the boy to his room until he calmed down enough to handle him, but after pacing the living room he decided that perhaps the boy needed to see his anger instead of his usual calm manner. The bedroom was empty.
He followed the bond until he reached a cave in the woods. He halted and his breath escaped him in a noisy rush. Scattered neat the mouth of the cave were skeletons of animals, but there were not normal. Some he couldn’t identify. One was definitely a cat body with the head of a bird.
Lennox’s specialty was transfiguration. The boy had begged him over and over again to teach him, but he was far too undisciplined for such magic. Lennox’s heart raced. The screech of an animal echoed through the cave. The boy had been learning on his own against orders.
Lennox grabbed his wand and hurried inside. He covered his nose with his other hand as he took two sharp turns before running into a room lit with candles. The boy was kneeling on the dirt floor, a stolen wand in one hand and a bird under the other. Lennox reacted quickly. The boy was easy to subdue with a spell, but the animal was another matter. He scooped it up into his hands and rocked it. It was dying already, but that knowledge didn’t make it easier. The death was immediate and painless, but that didn’t wash away the fact that he had just taken a life.
Death surrounded him, and he couldn’t stop thinking of the pain that had occurred in this room under the hands of his own apprentice. He threw up in the corner of the cave near another skeleton. He threw up again as he left the cave with the boy in his arms.
He notified the Weaver Council immediately, and they fortunately all arrived within an hour. The hearing and the sentencing were swift. A couple of the council members cleaned up the cave. The others accompanied him home where they would carry out the sentence. The boy’s powers and memory would be stripped. The bond would be severed. Lennox would carry it out.
He woke the boy from the magical coma and explained what would happen.
“No!” The boy screamed. “You can’t do this! It’s a mistake!” He lunged at a council member, and the man fell to the ground with a scream. The boy had been learning forbidden magic.
Lennox subdued the boy immediately. He picked up the body’s limp body and placed him back on the bed.
“You may chose to do it while he’s in a coma.” One of the council members offered. “It may actually be the most humane way to deal with him. He will wake and not remember any of this.”
Lennox nodded and placed his hands on the boy’s head. Another council member held the ancient book in front of him so he could see and read the words. His good friend place a hand on his shoulder.
“You can do this. We have you.”
It was painful, the taking of magic. First he had pulled ever fiber of magic out of the boy and curled it into a ball that bounced gently above the body. The boy’s magic shook harder and fought him at the end, as if it understood what was about to happen. Somebody wiped his sweaty face and he began to recite the words, ancient and unfamiliar. His knees shook. Another hand settled on his back. The brown ball of magic imploded.
“Now his memory.” A female voice prompted.
The memories required a great deal of strength. He tugged at each section multiple times before they pulled away. When they lay in a translucent stack above the boy’s head, he recited the words of the next spell, and the memories vanished. Lennox stepped back and sucked in deep breaths of air.
“Only one more step.”
The bond had to be broken, and he had to do it in such a way that he could trap that last bit of magic before it went into the boy. He was successful and he was exhausted. His arms shook and his left eye twitched.
“We will take it from here.”
“Would you like to forget this all happened?”
He shook his head no. He was aware of the room emptying, the pats of his shoulders, the sympathetic tones of voices that said words he didn’t listen to. He noticed that time went by, but he wasn’t sure how long. Finally, he screamed. He launched his magic across the room, destroying everything that would remind him of the boy. At last he had collapsed into his chair.
Lennox blinked and lifted his eyes from the trash can. It was done. Why was he reliving the memory? He wanted to forget, but he wasn’t sure if that was what he needed. He told himself it was his fault, and that he deserved to remember. Then, at last, he put a spell on himself and fell into a deep sleep.