The next morning, before they ate breakfast, Carthinal cleared his throat.“I did a lot of thinking last night after I went to bed. He swallowed and looked at his feet, then up at Mabryl. “I’ve decided that I would like to be adopted by you.”
Mabryl beamed. “It won’t be straightforward, I don’t suppose.” Mabryl took the plate of eggs and bacon Lillora had brought in from the kitchen. “You are not a minor in the eyes of the law. I’m not quite sure exactly what your legal position is. You aren’t an adult, though, no matter what the law states.”
Carthinal took a plate and put an egg and some bacon onto it. He passed it to Emmienne who had entered the room. When she took it, he helped himself and pulled a chair up to the table. He took a bite of the bacon and reached for some toast.
Mabryl began to butter his own toast and said, “Your age could be a problem. Developmentally you are only about fifteen, both physically and mentally, but in actual years, you are eighteen and an adult according to Grosmerian law. Elves attain their majority at twenty five, if I remember correctly. Humans at sixteen. As you have mixed parentage, I would guess that you would be the equivalent age at somewhere around twenty-one.”Mabryl looked into the distance. “Perhaps we could tell the lawyer you are only fourteen.”
Carthinal’s eyebrows shot up. “A-are you saying we should lie to the lawyer?”
Mabryl looked away for a second before replying. “It’s not really a lie. You are a half-elf and as a result have developed slower than a human child. In human terms, you are about fifteen. We’ll both need to go to the lawyer, so we can get all the details straight, including who your parents were.”
Carthinal drew his brows together. “Which lawyer will you go to?”
“I’ve always used Gromblo Grimnor. He has a big practice in Bluehaven. He does very well if his apparent money is anything to go by.”
Can I persuade him to use a different lawyer? Or maybe I can give a different name for my parents. But if Gromblo recognises me, I’m in a lot of shit. And he’ll expose Mabryl as a liar. He knows exactly how old I am.
“When will we go to see him?” Carthinal asked.
“I need to find out exactly what needs to be done first. I’ll need to go to see him and ask him about the procedures before you come, too.”
Carthinal nodded. He would have to think this one through. Gromblo would no doubt bring out the paper saying Carthinal was dead, and then what? Mabryl would not believe a reprobate young man against a well-known lawyer. Especially one who had papers to prove it. He would have to somehow make sure those papers disappeared. But what about his name? Carthinal wasn’t a common name in Grosmer, the country in which he lived. Much thought would be needed.
But not now.
They had all finished their breakfast and Mabryl wanted both his apprentices in his study. Today he was going to teach Carthinal a simple spell. Not a cantrip, but one that would take more energy to manipulate the mana than he had used up until now.
Putting all thoughts of Gromblo to one side, Carthinal almost ran into Mabryl’s study. This would be a momentous day. A real spell, not a little trick.
As he entered, Mabryl handed him a large book. It had a black cover with a red dragon engraved on the outside. The leather cover felt soft to his touch. Carthinal opened it and saw blank pages. He looked at Mabryl with raised eyebrows.
“It’s your spell-book. You will write your spells in here as you find them. I suggest you divide it up into sections. Each section for one level of difficulty, so you don’t get them mixed up, and you can easily find what you want.”
Carthinal grinned as he caressed the spine of the book. “Thank you, Mabryl. This is a wonderful present. I promise I’ll keep it tidy.”
Emmienne bounced over. “That’s so-o beautiful, Carthinal.”
“You’ll get one as soon as I think you’re able to perform a spell, not a cantrip. I just don’t know what to have on the front of a book for you, though. The dragon seemed right for Carthinal, somehow.” He turned to Carthinal, “You must write the spell into your book before you even think about casting it.”
Carthinal spent the next few hours painstakingly copying the magic words and the diagrams of the hand gestures needed to perform it.
Mabryl had given him the choice of spells to try. The young man had been thinking about the meeting with Gromblo and had decided on a course of action. He needed to decide on which spell to choose to facilitate his plan.
He looked at the easy spells in Mabryl’s spell book, chose one and began the laborious task of copying. Everything had to be exactly right or the spell would not work. It took the rest of the morning.
When he had finished copying, Lillora called them in for lunch so Carthinal could not try out the spell for a while. He sat at the table fidgeting, until Mabryl told him to stop. He forced himself not to bolt his food. Finishing before everyone would not make his spell attempt come more quickly.
I’m hoping that this story will soon be ready to send to my publisher. I’ve been working on it quite a bit, and I think I’ve made it better in places. Still a bit more work to do, though.
I am thinking of calling it The Making of a Mage, rather than Carthinal. What do you think?
I would love to hear what you think of this story. It’s part of a series of prequels to The Wolves of Vimar. Please let me know in the comments.