69 The Father“s Pain*
*The Eldovian Era 1708*
Arita Jekani was frustrated. She'd spent her whole career as a Magician trying to validate the use of Light Magicians in combat, and today, in front of everyone at the Guild and for the umpteenth time, she was dismissed. The Guild Meetings only happened once a month, the Guild Presentations once every six months. For the first time in six years she'd had a breakthrough in how to convince the Guild of her ideas. But it has seemed that as soon as she stood up to the platform, every single one of her colleagues had turned away, dismissing her as if she was some pretender.
Slumping down into a chair in the centre of her laboratory, she leaned her head back and sighed. What was it the Guild Master had said to her?
"Soon, Arita. One day soon they'll have no choice but to acknowledge you".
"Well soon is never soon enough," Arita grumbled. To be honest, Arita wasn't even sure where she'd gone wrong. Was it because they were all traditionalists that her ideas were dismissed so readily? Arita didn't think so, they were all gifted Magicians trying to forge their own frontiers as well. Only when it came to Light Magicians, it was as if they all stepped back and shook their heads in disapproval. They're only good for praying and shining a light in the darkness. Arita thought she'd proved them wrong when she'd managed to coalesce beams of light into a solid object, the project that had made her a Grandmaster. Sure, there'd been a few that were shocked, especially considering her age at the time, a mere 23, but now, over a decade later, and Arita hadn't really moved forward.
Arita's gaze went to the empty corner of her laboratory where a certain pale boy had once held residence for a brief period. She'd thought that he could be the answer. But she'd let her guard down.
Her lab may have been on the outskirts of the city, but as a Magician with little positive reputation, many kept a wide berth, or simply didn't even acknowledge her presence there. She preferred in that way, as it allowed her to undergo projects that were riskier than what she was technically qualified for. As a result of her neglect in security, someone had stolen her chance. Had drugged her wine when she wasn't looking and disappeared into the night with a child in chains. Arita wasn't exactly sure how they'd done it, but considering the lack of witnesses, she assumed that they had to be Magicians of some kind. Most likely of the Dark variety. Their Shadow travel ability was the envy of many. They'd been trying to alter it to become a form of mass transportation of years without much luck. She could only hope that the child had put up a fight. She certainly didn't want to think of what fate had come of him. She'd been the only one apart from his immediate family and his friend Jane to treat him as an individual instead of an animal. And still she'd kept him chained.
That was probably what she regretted the most from her short interaction with him. Chaining him. Surely she would have discovered far more had she let him roam free. He certainly had had no intent of going on another killing spree. Especially when food was so readily available to him.
But there was no changing the past. Wherever he'd ended up, she hoped he was treated better, however unlikely that wish was.
Turning back to her messy lab desks, Arita sighed. It was time to start over. That was all she could do in this situation. Start again in the promise of doing better next time.
Arits placed her hands on the arms of her chair and went to haul herself up, only to feel the cool kiss of a blade at her neck. Arita froze instantly.
"Where is my son?" asked a deep and angry voice.
Arita frowned, "Who?"
She was hastily turned around to face a man with dirty golden hair and blue eyes, he was older, in his late thirties at least, and wrapped in a dark brown travelling cloak suited more for a peasant than someone who wielded such an elaborately designed sword, "My son, where is he?"
Arita's eyes narrowed, even with the blade at her throat, and recognition slowly washed over her at the face she was seeing. she'd never spoken to him directly, but she'd seen him on more than one occasion during her trip to Cordon nearly three years before.
The man urged her to continue.
Arita didn't know what to say. How to tell a father that she'd lost his only child due to her negligence? That seemed cruel. Yet there was no other way to say it, so she decided to just get it over with. If worse came to worse, she could fight him off...she hoped.
"He was taken barely a fortnight after we arrived, I don't know where and I haven't seen him since," Arita admitted.
There was a beat of silence, then the man gave a deep growl of rage as he lifted his sword to slice down at her. Arita reacted in an instant, pulling the light particles around her into the form of a shield to block the sword. The sword reverberated off of it, and Arita kicked her chair away as she stood, backing away.
"There is no call for that!"
"I trusted you with his safety!" Phillip shouted back. He moved quickly. It seemed that knowing his opponent could fight back had given him the will to use the skills he'd long left behind, Arita could do little but dodge and block when she could. There was one point where she felt a cut to her leg, not deep enough to do extreme damage, but it still hurt. She shouted out her pain, then followed it with a desperate explanation. She wasn't a fighter. She'd never been trained. Too reliant on her magic she'd never faced an opponent as apt as Phillip was.
"I swear I didn't intend for it to happen!"
Phillip paused, and Arita took the chance immediately to keep talking.
"Everything was fine, he was eating well and being cooperative, but one morning I woke up after being drugged the night before and he was just gone. There was no trace of him ever being here!" Arita pleaded, "We couldn't use resources to search for him as it would alert the wider community to our knowledge of him. Knowledge that we knew shouldn't be widespread. He was just a boy after all, no threat to us".
Phillip clenched his hand that was holding the sword then shouted angrily, pulling his arm back and throwing the sword across the room for it to embed in the wall with a distinct thunk. It wobbled shortly before everything in the room stilled. Arita cautiously looked up at Phillip, silent as he breathed heavily in an attempt to calm his anger.
"Tell me everything that happened," Phillip replied.
"We suspected they were dark attribute Magicians, though there were no witnesses to affirm. It was like they were ghosts," Arita said.
Phillip closed his eyes in frustration, then walked over to the wall and pulled his sword out before sheathing it. He went to exit and Arita frowned.
"You don't want to know more?" asked Arita.
Phillip paused and turned to face her, pulling his hood back up again, "That was enough, I know who took him, now I just have to figure out where".
The door to her laboratory slammed shut, and Arita was left in silence.
Perhaps the anger that had fuelled Rassa's killing spree in Cordon was not entirely instinct.