From the metal walkway on top of the old concrete giant the dusk was vast, and remote, and infinitely slow. The eastern horizon was black as night, and it stayed that way, until at last a person with straining wide-open eyes might call it faintly grey, like the darkest charcoal, which lightened over long slow minutes, and spread, side to side and wafer-thin, and upward, like tentative fingers on some outer layer of atmosphere, impossibly distant, the stratosphere perhaps, as if light traveled faster from there, or vanished sooner.
The edge of the world crept into view, at least to straining wide-open eyes, limned and outlined in grey on grey, infinitely subtle, hardly there at all, part imagination, and part hope. The pale gold fingers probed the grey eternal, moving, ethereal, as if deciding. And then spreading, extinguishing some thin and distant layers, one molecule at a time, one lumen, hushing it up slowly, turning it dark and opaque.
The minister sat in his office, tapping his fingers on the large wooden desk and thinking about what to write on the long golden parchment lying in front of him. His fingers, caressing his long and darkly ignited cloak. His thin and fragile finger kept smoothing the cloak for a long time. He was turning old now. Maybe his powers were betraying him. His age was anonymous, everyone's is, largely hidden behind the veil of physical appearance. Sometimes appearing, sometimes just losing its potential, still hidden behind the veil. His long body, slowing covering its way under the old and crumpled skin. His eyes, falling but still carrying the same strange layer of fear, which he used to carry when he was having black hair instead of grey.
He rolled the ring between his finger. His finger were still shaking. But he was used to it.
He glanced at his clock.
There is still time for it.
He heard faint footsteps outside his door and then a click-blick of old wooden door and the door opened. A man with heavily grown eyebrows came in. He was carrying a long parchment rolled up in his hand. His long overcoat hanging to his knees. His eyes carrying the extreme approval of disappointment but his body movements showed none. The minister took a glacne at his eyes and got to know the news, before hand.
'Don't tell about it, Lupus.' Said the Minister. Lupus, the man with heavily grown eyebrows, opened his mouth to speak but then shut it tightly. The Minister took a deep breath and glanced once again at the clock. He closed his eyes and chanted something. His breath shook as he exhaled it. He caressed his cloak one more time before handing it to Lupus.
'Keep it safe. Just bury it somewhere, Lupus, will you?' The Minister said calmly. 'Tell me what happened, now.'
Lupus carefully wrapped the cloak in a box and shut it tightly with a flick of his hand. He glanced at the clock.
'There was trouble. Like a pandemonium everywhere. We don't know what is happening. There are eruptions like the old tribe is gaining its strength again. Our soldiers on the south end are facing difficulty while performing their duties. People are dying. And there is this crazy symbol again. The south end is in danger. And I think the tribe has already messed up and made their way to conquer it. But still there are chances of our winning. Maybe. But still there is a maybe. Chances are there if taken proper steps.' Lupus said.
Nothing made any kind of sense to the Minister. He just sat there gazing at the long parchment lying before his desk. Still thinking about what to write. He gazed at the clock one more time.
'Do as you feel, Lupus. Just take care of that cloak.' The Minister said. Lupus shivered and then placed his hand gently on the box.
'I will.' said Lupus.
'Whatever you said made no sense to me. But still I know that you can handle it pretty well. Do as you please. Just take care of the empire. It means much more to me.' The minister said and chuckled painfully.
'May I ask you one more thing, Minister?'
'You don't have to ask for that now, Lupus. Go ahead.'
'Why does this cloak mean anything to you? It ain't got any powers or anything. It is just a simple piece of cloth, embroidered with golden threads. It's not even worth wearing.'
'Only time will tell. Just do as I told you to.' The Minister said and chuckled again. There was a long silence before Lupus realized his mistake.
'I'll take a leave, Minister.' Lupus said. Minister just stared as the wooden door closed again, giving him utter private space and a deadly silence as a present. He glanced at the clock once more and started writing on the parchment. His hands were not moving, but his lips quivered. There was a bright green lighting on the parchment which later turned to words. The brightness continued for a bit longer and then vanished. The parchment vanished within the air leaving the Minister alone with quivering lips. He got up and went to the another room.
The room was brightly lit. There was a pleasant fragrance of incense sticks and rose petals. The lamps were passing the light slowly and infinitesimly to the corner of the room. There was silence again. The room was concealed from the outer world. It was the private space for the Minister.
He closed his eyes and began chanting again. Nothing happened for a long time. Then dark flames emerged from each corner of the room and started gathering in front of the Minister. A man emerged from the shadows. As if a thin air is taking shape with great accuracy. There were fumes. Dark ropes appeared and then a hooded figure came into view. He was floating in air. There were flames emerging from his body. The hood was black and metallic but lit looked as if hung in a stick with no body. His ropes were made up of nothing. Literally nothing. The voice hissed and the man with the bony hand appeared completely.
'How come you remembered me, Phoneus.' The voice hissed.
'I think the time has come.' The Minister said.
'Indeed. Don't you think you took a bit longer than hoped for, Phoneus.' The voice hissed again.
'I wanted that time. Needed. Badly.' The Minister said.
'Well. You want to say something at last.' The voice hissed. The minister brought his hand up and showed him the ring. The man with the bony hand appeared pleased. His eyes, hungrily gazed at the ring. He furthered his hand and took the ring from him.
'Where did you get it, Phoneus?' The voice hissed. The minister said nothing. He just stared at the lamp and the burning incense. The man with the bony hand looked up. A tear fell down his cheek. His eyes blazing with expression which cannot be named.
'It's the time.' The minister said.
'Precisely.' The voice hissed.
'There is one thing I want you to do for me.' The minister said. 'Go and hide somewhere deep in a cave. Don't ever come back. It's your fate. You may choose what I say. But keep my word. It's too dangerous.'
'Not for me, Phenous.' The voice hissed. Phenous, the Minister, closed his eyes. The man with the bony hand raised his hand and blue flames erupted from it. The Minister's body began to shrink. His ropes fell away exposing his naked body which began to crumble to dust. The minister was still silent. Fumes emerged and disappeared on his naked self. And finally there lay nothing but a dusty heap which once used to be a man.
The voice hissed again and the man with the bony hand vanished into thin air.
Dicio brushed his blonde hair and packed his bag ready to leave. Another boring talk and shitty lesson, He thought. He snapped his fingers and his wand emerged from his closet. He packed it carefully in a small cloth. Ready to go.
Solan watched the icy winter carefully. The ice was surrounding his house as the levels kept on increasing. Chills were felt to the core. The house lay in an abandoned area, much far from the village itself. But Solan had chosen it as his best spot. Dicio had practiced here and lived his most important years in this place. It looked like a small dot which is anonymously placed inside a circle of vast radius and complete emptiness. But that was to be done. At least Solan thought that.
It had been years since he started training Dicio. Ten years maybe. But still Solan felt as if there was nothing for Dicio to learn. Every time he was perfect. In every aspect. Whether it was climbing the unearthed mountains or surviving in the dark woods. Every thing was perfect because Dicio was doing it. Everything.
The chilly winter slowly started revealing itself as flakes descended from the clouds to kiss the cold earth. Solan still sat, gazing at the flakes and smoothing his grey beard.
'I am done.' He heard Dicio say from behind. He turned and found the most handsome boy staring at him. His bag packed and a small cloth clutched tightly in his right hand. His blonde hair falling over his eyes as he shook them aside with a jerk of his head. His eyes carrying a lazy note but his body still ready for the upcoming.
'Why can't you let me have a break, father? I was supposed to enjoy the day. Not do the flame thing over and over. I can do it. You made me do it thousands of time and I have shown you my skills but still you don't agree with me. please can't we do it later on?' Dicio said shrugging his shoulders and giving Solan a dried look.
'Time is slipping, Dicio. Much faster than I have ever thought it to be. And we should not delay. Today is the most important lesson of your life. Come with me.' Solan said and signaled for Dicio to follow him to the nearby room.
'We are not practicing outside?' Dicio asked.
'No. We are not practicing at all.'
'We need to talk.'
'Come with me.' Solan said and signaled to him again. Dicio placed his bag down and accompanied his father to the room.
A tear fell down Solan's cheek but he brushed it before Dicio could see.