Journeyman: The Force of the Gods: Part I

Journeyman: The Force of the Gods: Part I by Mark Tuson Read Free Book Online

Book: Journeyman: The Force of the Gods: Part I by Mark Tuson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mark Tuson
a freezing weight in the pit of his stomach and a band around his throat.
    They marched all the way to the Steward’s office, the Steward himself walking quickly enough that Peter, who was well over half a foot shorter, wasn’t sure whether to walk as quickly as he could or simply jog. On arriving at the Steward’s office, they went in, the Steward closed the door and looked straight at Peter, who was catching his breath.
    Peter thought the Steward suddenly looked extremely intimidating: a man who must have been six feet five-or-six, barrel-chested, with a shaven head, stood all of eighteen inches away. He looked more like a tough-guy than a respectable magician.
    ‘Kindly explain yourself.’ Suddenly he seemed like both: he spoke with the strength of a tough-guy and the inexorable wisdom of a venerable mage. He sat down and placed his hands on his knees, waiting for Peter to speak.
    What was he going to say? He stood for several minutes, his mind completely blank as he tried ever-harder to think of the right thing.
    He knew his outburst had been inexcusable. He didn’t, however, know where exactly it had come from. He tried to explain.
    ‘I’ve been trying to find out about the rock at the bottom, under the Guild,’ Peter said eventually. ‘And I’ve been trying to find out about the name, Rechsdhoubnom. But there isn’t anything in any of the books in the library, and nobody will tell me. I’m sure some people know, but nobody will tell me and what’s more nobody will tell me why .’
    ‘Why?’ The Steward looked tentative and careful. ‘You’re asking questions, the answers for which you simply aren’t yet ready. You’re asking and seeking but you haven’t developed the strength in yourself to fully understand. So…’ he paused ‘… me explaining would be… well, it would be like trying to explain death to a baby.’
    Whoa, shit, Peter thought. That was patronizing.
    But, it turned out, the Steward was right about Peter not being ready to know. As he learned more, he grew more emotionally, learning not only magic but discipline. The Steward had gone on, that day, to say that, while magic is more about changing the truth of reality than manipulating it, certain truths were things with which to be exceedingly careful.
    Peter understood that, and it seemed to make it all the more profound to him. What truth could be so dangerous as to warrant being compared to explaining death to a baby? He tortured himself for several months, trying to work it out, but eventually gave it up as he accepted that he had more growing and maturing to do. Thus, he applied himself to his studies, relegating his personal reading of Guild history to an occasional hobby.
    Time moved by with both a lightning rapidity and a grinding slowness; each day was short and he barely noticed as they slipped by, and as each progressing month went from being in the future to being in the past, he began to realize just how much he was growing. Before long he could perform complex spells with as little thought as turning on an electrical appliance.

     

Three: Trial by Exile
    One morning, he was abruptly awoken by three loud knocks on the door. It sounded like wood on wood.
    He answered the door in his pyjamas. The Steward was standing in the corridor holding a long wand of dark wood. There were four other people with him as well, all dressed in what looked like brown, hoodless academic robes.
    ‘Peter Iain Rutherford,’ said the Steward in a clipped voice, ignoring the blatant tiredness being exuded by Peter, ‘you have been living within our protection for three years. It is time for you to face trial. Come with us now.’
    Peter turned back into his room and started to dress, but two of the men accompanying the Steward seized him under the arms and forcibly carried him out of the room. He protested and fought, but they were too strong for him.
    He was terrified; what the hell was happening? Had he done something? He attempted to cast

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