Of Might And Magic

In a world where magic is being hunted to the point of extinction, the Paladins (mage hunters) take a step to far and disturb an ungodly power in thier quest to destroy all Magic users.

An unfortunate target of the paladins, Damien , is forced to seek refuge among others of his kind when secrecy and bribes could no longer keep him safe.

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3. The Fire at Hand

 

Damien flinched as he looked around.

Sat on the sill of a window ( that he distinctly remembered locking ) was a very large, Fat Cat. Its unblinking orange eyes were only half open. It gave him a rather disdainful look, as if he had been forced to come, and would rather be somewhere else. The Cat's fur was a unusual patchwork of black and grey, and made him look as though he had been put together from spare bits and pieces.

"well?" he said, shifting to hide the stone from sight.

The Cat cocked his head to one-side.

Damien and the Cat stared at each other for a good long moment. Then, deciding it would be difficult for a cat to convey his secret to a stranger, turned back to the fire place. He pulled the rune stone from under his shirt. At the sight of it, the intruder perked up.

The patch-work cat made his clumsy way down from the window sill, and trotted over to sit beside him. It stared at him intently with his large shining eyes. Taking the necklace in his palm, the stone glowed a deep blue as the ink once again writhed across its surface. 

"Watch this" he breathed, not taking his eyes of it.

And then, a fantastic warmth spread from his palm to the tips of his fingers.

And it ignited.

A tiny, golf-ball sized fire had emerged from the center of his palm were the stone sat. It now blazed white hot.

He smiled at it. He didn't know quite how he did it, and had often suspected it was the stone, and not him. To test this theory, he had left it in inconvenient places, like on Nathan's desk or in the bread bin.

Every time Nathan touched it, nothing special happened. In fact, now he thought about it, Nathan seemed to dislike it.He never held it for longer than he had to, as if it was something nasty.

With that, he tipped it onto the damp logs in the hearth.A roaring fire sprang up and Damien felt the warmth wash over him. He sighed happily.

Not only was he glad to have a fire going, but he had always enjoyed keeping it a secret. Nathan seemed to know everything about him. Except this. His little party trick had been terrifying as a child,seeing his hand smoke and smolder uncontrollably. When they weren't working, he would walk into the woods and try to repeat the phenomena. He would tell Nathan the burns on his hands were from the fireplace, and this excuse had served him well so far.   

He heard a door creak somewhere over-head, and , placing the necklace around his throat, straightened up. It still felt hot against his skin. The cat had now made itself comfortable on the table in the middle of the room, and was noisily helping it self to the salted fish. Nathan appeared from nowhere , at the foot of the stairs. He had a nasty habit of doing that. He looked a lot older than he had. His hair was starting to grey, and had frown lines across his wide brow.

"Mornin'" he said, in what he hoped sounded a normal voice, plonking himself down at the table.

Nathan quickly busied himself with the barrels under the stairs. He was obsessed with his work, even now, they were only briefly stopping on their way to the south coast. Nathan always said they were "providing goods and services to the foot-soldiers of the Empire", but Damien never took any notice of him. 

After a few nervous minutes of casting anxious glances at the unusually yellow fire, The Patch-work cat lifted his head out of the fish, and gave a very loud, very obvious yawn.

Damien flinched, this is it, he thought, my secret is forfeit.

But Nathan slowly pulled himself away from his work.

"I know, I know" he sighed, smiling into the fire.

Damien looked up.

"Sorry?" he asked innocently, as if he hadn't been watching Nathans every move. Was he talking to the Cat?

He Gave Damien a sad look, almost pitying. And laughed.

"You really think we wouldn't notice?" He asked. Damien felt a stab of anger.

"Notice what?" he challenged, a little to quickly.    

"And what do you mean "we"?." He turned to the Cat, who was watching them with great interest.

"Beat it , Tibbles" he snarled

The Cat smiled a very human smile.

"ooh, Touchy"

 

 

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