173 The Fool“s Eyes*
The little charm that Olly clung to so tightly was the only thing that allowed him to influence the Mist. It was a powerful thing, the Mist. Powerful and mysterious. Even Olly, who had read and watched and listened to it all his life found its intricacies undecipherable most of the time. Still, as he'd learned over the years, being able to listen was gift enough. There were plenty of people who didn't. Plenty of people who let it pass them by. Even those who had the ability to influence the Mist rarely sat down to listen unless it was necessary, they barely even looked. Olly supposed that was the reason why these charms had been so astounding, and why even Magicians couldn't work out how to create them.
It was because they weren't listening.
Ever since Olly had seen the miraculous affects of the charm, and not just what the Mist had told him, Olly had drawn the circle within a circle many times. So many that he'd long ago lost count. The abandoned apartment he'd squatted in had been filled with the rune for protection. Over and over and over he'd drawn it, though he'd never been able to imbue it with the power that the charm had. He'd known there was something missing. But Olly wasn't drawing the rune so he could replicate the affects, even if given the right tools he could. He was drawing it because for the first time since he was born, he'd been able to give the Mist, that mysterious and all-encompassing substance, meaning.
To be able to communicate with it. To have it understand what he wanted so that he wasn't just listening and interpreting. It was a powerful thing. Olly had never felt so powerful despite only being able to communicate one thing.
Protection. Protection. Protection. Protection…
It was repeated over and over all around him. Not imbued with power like the charm, but understood all the same.
Protection. Protection. Protection. Protection…
The Mist, having known Olly and guided him for so long, had contemplated for a long time on how to reply. Olly was after all, not giving it a purpose. It was more like a request. At least, that was how the Mist interpreted the symbols that Olly drew. It saw a request, and having never had any request from him before, it had to search. It had to seek out what he was asking for and then give him a choice.
Now, finally, it was ready.
As Olly sketched out another protection rune, his eyes wide and excited like they had been for weeks, he suddenly paused, the Mist swirling around him, then showing him what he desired.
There were several images, all side by side. Choices, options. The Mist had never given him choices before, it simply advised him on a path and he followed.
Now, as he looked at the images before him, he realised that while he might not be able to influence the Mist directly, that didn't mean he couldn't do anything but listen. The runes. The runes had given him this opportunity.
Olly looked at the images before him. Watching them and the possibilities they presented. Eventually, he narrowed his choice down to four of them. The first was a woman, a woman that the wind listened to and followed joyously.
The second was also a woman, this one was pretty and petite, but her eyes held authority, and behind her was a mountain of evanine.
The third image was of a man decked in finery, an arrogant smile on his face and an ink-like shadow at his back.
The final image was of a boy shrouded in shadows, a boy who used light to carve a rune into a crystal.
As Olly looked at these four images, he realised that they weren't really four images at all. They were all a single image. A single image united by a moon in the top corner, a moon that was gradually shrouded in shadow.
Olly whispered the word, and the Mist seemed to react with its version of joy, it erased the other images, presenting those four together. Olly's eyes danced over the images, then they narrowed on the boy. He could draw the runes, imbue them. Olly's eyes widened as he reached out to touch the image. As he did, the images disappeared, and the Mist seemed to flow towards the window, out into the street.
Olly rushed out to follow it as it wondered and danced through the slums. The piece of paper with the incomplete protection rune clasped in one of his hands and a piece of charcoal in the other.
Anyone who had watched Olly over the past few weeks, let alone in the past few minutes, would have assumed like always that he was insane.
Olly was nothing but a fool in their eyes. Which of them would ever imagine that the Fool's eyes saw more than they ever would in their lifetime? That the Fool's eyes were more powerful than most Magicians. If any of them had bothered to look, they may have noticed that in his irises, swirling among the hazel, there were half-formed Life Lines. The Fool's ability, his eyes, what commotion would it bring if the world were to discover this? After all, an ability such as Olly's had not been seen since the time of Chaos. And all because his whore mother had been too exhausted and hungry to hold the babe as he cried, and had left him on some large rock as she went out to flag down a nearby ship.
Even if she'd checked the rock, and the markings that covered it, Olly doubted that she would have known what it was.
Olly followed the Mist through the slums, stopping just before a newly restored, white stone building that looked severely out of place among the other decrepit and abandoned buildings here. He took a step forward towards it, only to pause just before the door. The Mist gathered to the side of the building, and Olly followed it, walking around to the back of the building. There, through a small window, Olly peered inside, seeing the young boy carving the runes, Olly grinned, excited as he tried to get a better view.
His foot slipped, on the damp stone, and he fell to the ground unceremoniously. Olly groaned as he made an effort to sit up, rubbing his elbow as he hissed in pain. The shadows bent around him, the Mist responding to a call as it moved towards Olly.
"Who are you?" asked the boy as he leaned out a side door. The boy's eyes narrowed at the piece of paper in Olly's hand, the rune on it a source of recognition, "Spies aren't welcome here".
Olly held his hands up, "Wait!"
The boy lifted an eyebrow, "Why?"
Olly looked around at the Mist, then his fool's grin appeared on his face as he held out a hand, blackened by charcoal, "I'm Olly, the Mist brought me here".