The winter sun shone down on Emily’s golden hair as she looked across the river. A light breeze created tiny ripples on the slow moving water, distorting the reflections of trees and buildings on the other side. A single duck sat in the water, paddling lazily against the current. While sunny, the waterfront was approaching freezing. The residents of the city were out in force, well bundled in coats and scarves.
“Hey friend,” Violet’s voice rang clearly from behind Emily prompting a smile to form on her face.
“What a day, huh?” Emily asked as she watched a team of dragon boaters paddle up the river back to their berth.
Violet’s arms wrapped around Emily, and Violet placed a small kiss on the top of her head. “Not unlike the day I met you if I recall.”
Emily turned around to match her black haired partner’s gaze. “At least I’m not worried about killing you with newfound power now. Well, I guess we should make our way to the Council, no rest for the weary.”
After the sudden removal of Jiro six months ago, the council of mages had gone through a vigourous questioning process of everyone involved. Emily and Violet were not spared the brunt of this work and they had been on a form of probation during that time. They still had training sessions with Ged, but were forbidden to practice magic outside of the council halls, an enforcer was tasked with keeping an eye on each of them.
Rumor was today marked the end of the investigation and the two ladies were hopeful that they could be re-introduced to the society as agents. They wanted to help people. They both recognized now the power they could wield and through discussion, and comic book references, knew that they needed to use their power to help the world. Neither really knew what that would look like, but it was important to them that they could try.
The full council of thirteen was seated in the chamber when they arrived. They sat in a semi-circle, with aides and scribes sitting behind them. In front was a collection of seating, mostly full of various area mages. In the front row, two seats were left open, specifically for Violet and Emily, next to the enforcer that was present that night and three other agents that had been involved in the Jiro case.
As the two women sat down, Ged stood up, “We now bring this meeting of the Council of Mages into session. Today we are here to conclude our business regarding the Jiro incident. All parties are now present.” Ged continued on recounting the events as it was determined by the investigation.
Events started well before Emily was a mage with a Paradox spirit being brought into the world by some gross magic, only to infest a mage. A member of the audience asked if the council had any leads on who had acted to produce such a spirit and Ged paused. The councillor to Ged’s left replied after a second that there was too much interference from outside sources for them to determine the source.
The meeting continued for a little over an hour and a half. There were questions from many parties and statements from everyone involved. In the end the council decided to treat it as a natural disaster and removed any claims against people for practicing gross magic in public.
Tragedy had been diverted and the mage population was content. As people left, they talked in hushed tones theorizing who could have caused the tragedy in the way that a general populous discusses a war long after the soldiers had given their lives.
Ged however motioned to Violet and Emily And walked back to his private chambers. As they arrived he closed the door and motioned to some chairs.
“None of this would have been possible without you two. In that light we are making you two partners. You’ll be a new team in the area. I’ll try to avoid giving you two any more force of nature level missions this time, but you two are the most promising mages in the region. We need your help with all sorts of things.”
The two looked at each other briefly before Violet replied, “Of course, we are here to help with anything we can. But Master, something seems to be troubling you with all of this.”
Ged stood back up and sighed, “You are the Zenith of Mind Violet, I should know I can’t hide from you.” He turned and looked straight at Violet. “I was the one that led to Jiro’s manifestation. I brought it into the world, and couldn’t do anything to help.”
“Does anyone else know?” Emily asked quietly.
“No. Well, I’m sure some councilors suspect. And that strange man that night knew something, I don’t know how he could. I’m considering stepping down as a councilor. I hardly feel fit after what I put you through.” Ged turned and looked out his window as the evening light shining on the Portland skyline.
Emily and Violet stood up in unison and walked to Ged’s sides. Violet put her hand on Ged’s shoulder and stated plainly, “You’re fine. Maybe at some point you should tell the council. But a wise man once told me that we are shaped by our past, but defined by our present. You are a leader, so lead us.”
Ged sighed again and a tear nearly formed in his eye. “Thank you. I’ll do what I can.”