Tag Archives: Carthinal's Story

carthinal 13

The next morning, Mabryl announced he had an appointment with Gromblo and that Carthinal was to go with him this time, to sort out the details.

Carthinal shivered. Gromblo had seen him last night. Would he recognise him as the thief who had broken in? Would he recognise him as Carthinal, grandson of Kendo Borlin?

He considered feigning illness, but he would have to face this sometime. The worst that could happen was that Mabryl might refuse to teach him. He could always return to the Beasts. Perhaps he could steal a simple spellbook from Mabryl and learn on his own.

Carthinal took his time getting ready to leave.

“Come on, Carthinal. We’ll be late,” Mabryl called. “Gromblo hates people who are late. If we want a favourable outcome, we must be on time.”

Carthinal came down the stairs, dragging his feet.

Mabryl put his head on one side. “Are you having second thoughts? I don’t want to go through with this adoption unless you are completely in favour.”

“No, Mabryl. I’m sorry. Let’s go.”

The sooner we see Gromblo the better, then I’ll know what my future holds.

Calling to Lillora that they were about to leave, Mabryl opened the front door and the pair turned their feet toward the centre of the town.

Halfway there, Mabryl sniffed. “Smells like smoke. Someone must have been burning rubbish.”

When they arrived in the street where Gromblo had his office the source of the smell became clear. Gromblo’s office was a smouldering shell.

“Goodness. What’s happened here?” Mabryl exclaimed.

Men with buckets threw water onto the building and those next to it to prevent any sparks from setting light to the surrounding buildings. Fire was a very real danger in Bluehaven, and in most towns, as the buildings were constructed of wooden frames interspersed with brick. If the wood burned, then the brick structure would collapse. With buildings containing so much wood, it was easy for a spark to ignite adjacent buildings. A butcher’s shop, next to Gromblo’s office, had a few scorched places, but the bucket wielding men had managed to save it. Not so Gromblo’s office.

A heap of rubble lay where the building had once stood with little wisps of smoke still rising from some of the wood.

Carthinal paled. He had not intended this. It must have been the candle Gromblo was carrying. He had not thought about that when he put Gromblo to sleep. All he had thought about was escape and destroying the false death certificate. He looked around, his eyes casting this way and that to see if there was any chance anyone could have seen and recognised him last night. Gromblo would when he arrived. The young man slipped behind his mentor.

Mabryl spotted someone he knew and hailed the man. “What happened here? I had an appointment this morning with Gromblo.” He glanced around. “Where is he, anyway? He should be here. After all, his office has burned down.”

The other man shook his head. “ You must have only just arrived. They found Gromblo’s body in the building.”

Carthinal’s hand flew to his mouth. All he had wanted to do was to burn the false death certificate so Mabryl did not think he was an impostor. He had not intended to kill Gromblo.

Mabryl continued talking. “What was he doing there at that time of night?”

The other man shrugged. “Who knows? But I overheard someone saying his wife told the guard he had returned to find some papers he needed today. He wanted to look over them.”

Were they the papers referring to me? Had Mabryl told him my name and he wanted to check he had the death certificate? Why had he not told Mabryl of my death? Or was it something else entirely?

A small group gathered around Mabryl and his friend. Carthinal slipped back, trying not to be noticed.

“They think he lit a candle and fell asleep while reading,” a woman said.

“The guard found the remains of a candle near his body. There’s something funny about it though. He wasn’t sitting at his desk when they found him, so how did he fall asleep?”

Another woman said, “I always thought there was something shady about that man and never trusted him. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t someone who he’d cheated in some way, having his revenge.”

A tall man said, “He was a clever lawyer, though. He got my brother off a theft charge when it looked as if he would be found guilty.” He looked around the gathered group. “He was innocent, of course, but it was thanks to Gromblo he didn’t go to jail.”

A girl of around sixteen spoke up. “I walked past the back of here last night when it had gone dark. The office was still standing then.”

A guard heard this and came over. “Did you say you were here last night?”

“Only passing, sir.”

“Did you see anyone hanging around?”

A young man around the same age spoke up. “I did.”

Carthinal went cold at hearing this. Shivers ran up and down his spine. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

“Who was it? Would you recognise them again?” The guard turned his attention to the young man.

“He was about…” He looked around and his eyes fell on Carthinal. “About as tall as that chap there.”

“Anything else?”

“I thought it a bit odd—him hanging about in the shadows, but took no more notice. I was with my girl, see?”

“We went to the park,” the girl replied, “and didn’t see any more.”
There were sniggers from some of the crowd.

“Well, that’s not much help. Could’ve been almost anyone. Anyway, the likelihood is that it was a tragic accident.”

Carthinal closed his eyes and sent up a quick prayer to Majora, the goddess of magic. If the authorities thought it was an accident, then he would not be suspected. But what had the woman said about Gromblo’s body not being at his desk? Would that make them think it wasn’t an accident?

Carthinal’s heart was beating so hard he thought it might jump out of his chest. He felt sick, and tears pricked at the back of his eyes.

Why did I think burning the document was a good idea? Oh, if only I could go back in time. I’d do things differently. I’d make sure the candle was out before I left. I would have had time.

He felt weak, and his legs could shook as he sidled up to Mabryl. “What happens now?”

Mabryl turned worried eyes to him. “This is a terrible tragedy, Carthinal. Gromblo was the best lawyer in Bluehaven. The poor man. I hope he didn’t suffer. Sometimes people die from the smoke, not from being burned. Let’s hope this was the case with Gromblo, and that he was dead before the flames reached him.”

Carthinal nodded. He could not find his voice to speak. He had killed a man. Not in a fair fight, but by carelessness and stupidity. What he had done in the gang fights didn’t count—it wasn’t the same. It was fight or be killed himself. Anyway, he couldn’t be sure he’d actually killed anyone then. This time was different. He was entirely culpable.

He heard a voice from the past in his head. A voice from a dream. When you meet problems, always think them through. Take your time, and don’t try to rush things. If you do that, things will usually turn out right in the end.

He had not done that. He had not thought things through, and it had resulted in disaster.

“Can we go home?” he said in a small voice.

Mabryl looked at his pale face. “This has shocked you more than I would have thought. Death is always sad, but this seems to have affected you badly.” He placed his hand on Carthinal’s arm. “It’s the thought of him dying in such horrible circumstances, I expect. Yes, we should go home. We need to find another lawyer, but sadly, none are as good as Gromblo.”

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If you want to find out more about Carthinal, and what he did later in his life, you can find out by reading The Wolf Pack, Book 1 of The Wolves of Vimar series. You can buy by clicking the name of the book, or the book in the sidebar.

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Carthinal 12

After everyone finished eating, Mabryl took Carthinal into the back garden where he had a special building for practising spells. One where it did not matter if the spells damaged something.

“I’m rather surprised you chose this spell. Still, let’s see how you get on with it.”

With the book on a table in front of him, Carthinal carefully enunciated the words and moved his hands in the way he had drawn. Nothing happened.

“It’s your pronunciation of ‘brillogin’,” Mabryl said. “You are putting the emphasis on the first syllable and it should be on the middle one. Try again.”

“Cambli suarim brillogin su.” As he said the words, Carthinal moved his fingers in a complex pattern.

This time, a fly that had been buzzing around the room, dropped to the table.

“Hey! I did it!”

Mabryl laughed. “Yes. You managed to put a small fly to sleep. But look at the mice in the cage. They’re still wide-awake. Try again.”

The fly was struggling to its feet as Carthinal chanted again. As it took off, it fell back onto the table, but this time, a spider dropped from the ceiling to join it.

Carthinal grinned. “Two this time.”

“One last try. This time try to get at least one of the mice to go to sleep.”

Carthinal tried again. This time one of the mice yawned and lay down as though exhausted, but stayed awake.

The young man pursed his lips. “He didn’t actually go to sleep.”

“No, but he became very tired. Well done. That’s good for a first attempt.”

Carthinal leaned on the table. “I feel as if I’ve cast the spell on myself.” He yawned.

“That’s what magic does. It takes some of your energy. You will feel less tired as you gain more experience. This is why novices have to learn to perform the cantrips first—to build up their energy levels. This, in turn, allows them to hold more of the mana.”

Carthinal kept on practising the spell. He managed to get one mouse to sleep, and all the flies and spiders in the practice room.

A few days later, Mabryl came into the study where Carthinal and Emmienne were working on the tasks he had set them. Carthinal was studying the moon phases—not an easy task with two moons orbiting the planet of Vimar at differing rates. Emmienne was reading a book about the History of Grosmer.

Mabryl removed his cloak and hung it on the pegs behind the door. “I’ve been to the lawyer, Carthinal. We can start the adoption procedure right away.”

Looking up, Carthinal put his book on the table. “What will it entail?”

“Not much. The lawyer will need to know your name and that of your parents. There should be some evidence they are deceased, though. Do you know if there are any papers anywhere?”

Carthinal rubbed his hand over the beard, which was trying to grow. “I suppose my grandfather would have had the papers, but how we can find them… ?” He shrugged.

I suspect Gromblo will have them. They would have been in my grandfather’s house when he stole it from me. No chance of getting them now.

Carthinal pondered. A tricky situation. Since Gromblo had falsified his death certificate, he would not likely admit to him being the grandson of Kendo Borlin. He would bring out the death certificate and ‘prove’ Carthinal was dead. What would Mabryl do then? Would he throw him out and refuse to teach him any more?

As he probed himself, he realised he wanted to learn magic more than anything else. He enjoyed the feeling it gave him. Oh, yes, there was the power, but also a physical sensation. He wanted that again and again.

The next day he had decided what to do. The lessons dragged and when Mabryl dismissed his apprentices, Carthinal made his way out to the spell room.

He sat on a stool and did deep breathing exercises to prepare and drew as much of the mana as he could into himself. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on the sleep spell he planned to use.

He had caught a stray cat the previous day and put it in a cage. The cat was not pleased and clawed at the bars, trying to get out.

Carthinal opened his eyes and stared at the animal, then he began to chant. The mana built up inside him as he drew it in. He felt the mounting pressure demanding release, but he drew more. He now held more of the mana than he had ever done before. He held it as long as he could, then released it towards the cat.

The animal yawned and laid its head on the cage floor as it fell sound asleep. Simultaneously, all the spiders, flies and also a small sparrow fell from the rafters. When he looked in the cages, all the creatures Mabryl kept for the magical training of his pupils had fallen asleep.

He plopped onto the stool, panting. He had put everything to sleep. And he had held more mana than ever before. He put his head onto his arms, exhausted.

He decided to execute his plan that evening, after they had eaten, hoping he had managed to recover sufficiently. That should give him enough time. With any luck, he would not need any magic.

In the evenings, Mabryl allowed his apprentices time to themselves. Carthinal stood and thanked Lillora for an excellent meal then left the room. His stomach churned at the thought of what he planned to do. He had done worse with the gang, though. Why was he so anxious this time? There was no danger.

He set off toward the city centre to where Gromblo had his office. The streets did not have the bustle of people that milled around during the day. Most folk were now eating, or had just finished and were settling down to an evening at home.

Approaching the office, he was shocked to see the flickering of a light in the window. He had to get into that office to destroy the false document, so he crept up to the window and peered in. Sure enough, there was Gromblo sitting at his desk, rustling papers in front of him.

As Carthinal watched, the man rose and went to a cabinet where he fumbled around before putting the papers inside. His heart was beating so hard he thought Gromblo would surely hear it. Indeed, the man did look toward the window before leaving the office.

Hearing the outer door of the building close, Carthinal stood and tried the window. Locked! He took a thin piece of metal from his pocket and pushed it up between the frame. It was a sash window, and he hoped to get the piece of metal to push the catch open. He would then be able to lift the bottom pane and gain access.

Tongue protruding, the young man wiggled the metal from side to side until it reached the latch.

Again, more wiggling, pushing and pulling, until he heard laughter and footsteps coming toward him. Pulling the metal from the window, Carthinal slipped back into the shadows. He watched as a young couple strolled up the street.

They paused opposite where Carthinal stood holding his breath, and kissed. He watched as the young man’s hand strayed to the girl’s breast. Surely they weren’t going to make love here? That would mess his plans up good and proper.

The girl giggled. “Not here, someone might come. Let’s go to the park.”
Carthinal let out his breath as they hurried away, anxious for their lovemaking. He crossed to the window once again.

This time the metal made contact with the latch. He pushed it to one side, which proved to be more difficult than he had anticipated. Then he felt movement.

Replacing the metal in his pocket, he lifted the window and slipped in to find the false document.

Standing in the centre of the room, Carthinal turned around. How could he locate this one document? Gromblo must have a system for filing. Was it alphabetical, or some other system known only to Gromblo and his secretary? He would only find out by looking.

He opened a drawer stuffed full of papers. The first one he took out belonged to someone called Holind Morrin. He looked farther into the files. Here was one belonging to Brinswopple Ordin.

He shuffled the papers and sure enough, there were names beginning with N between the two he had already found.

He does have them in alphabetical order. And by surname. Now I just have to find B.

He searched the various cupboards. It did not take him long to find the name, Borlin. He riggled through the file and found his death certificate. As he pulled the false document from the drawer, he heard the unlocking of a door.

He frowned and slipped behind one of the cupboards, document in hand.
The door opened and Gromblo walked in, muttering to himself. “Stupid me to leave things behind. How could I forget?”

He stopped in his tracks as a draught from the window struck him.
“I didn’t leave that open! I looked before I left. Someone must have been in here.” He strode to the window and closed it.

Carthinal watched as the lawyer opened drawer after drawer, checking its contents. When he came to the one containing Holind Morrin, he paused and looked around the room, frowning. He began to put the papers back in order, muttering.

He pulled some out, looked at them and walked to the window. Once nearer the light, he held the papers towards it. Then sighing in irritation, he returned to his desk.

Lifting a candle, he took out a flint, struck a spark and lit it. He read the paper in the light from the candle and nodded. Still holding the candle and the paper, Gromblo approached the cupboard behind which Carthinal crouched.

Carthinal muttered the words of magic. This was why he had learned the spell and practised it so hard—in case he were disturbed in his venture. Would he be able to put a grown man to sleep, though? He would only use it as a last resort.

As he walked toward the cupboard, Gromblo tripped and grabbed its edge for balance. This made it move enough for him to see Carthinal’s foot. He lunged as Carthinal released his spell. Almost immediately, the lawyer yawned and sank to the floor in a deep sleep, dropping the papers he held.

Carthinal knew his spell would not last long. Being a novice at casting spells, he was lucky to have managed to get Gromblo to sleep at all. Now he must hurry and destroy the false document he had found.

Tired though he felt after casting the spell, Carthinal ran to the window, paper in hand. He leapt through and closed it behind him. Once outside he muttered the words for the spell to give a small flame and set fire to the false death certificate. It burned to ash and the blackened bits of paper blew away in the wind.

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Carthinal's Story 10

Carthinal came out of the study in Mabryl’s house. He heard voices coming from the living room.

“I think you’re mad, Mabryl. He’s a wild kid from the streets.”

“He’s learning, Danu. He’s stayed in at night for the last two months.”

Carthinal realised that Mabryl was talking to Duke Danu, the ruler of the Duchy of Bluehaven. The duke had once been learning to be a mage, but his elder brother net with a fatal accident. This meant Danu had to leave his studies as he was now the heir to the dukedom.

He met Mabryl when they were both apprentices, and kept an interest in magic. The two men were close friends.

“I thought it was a madcap idea when you took him on as an apprentice, but to consider adopting him…”

Carthinal knew he should not be listening to a private conversation, but he could not resist. It concerned him. And what was Mabryl saying about adopting him? Carthinal crept quietly to the door in order to hear more.

“—potential. I felt it when I saw him teach himself to do a simple cantrip. He could be a great mage one day.”

“Maybe, but do you have to adopt him? He could get you into a lot of trouble.”

“Danu, I have no wife, no children. What’s going to happen to this when I leave this world?” He swept his hand around the room. “I don’t want just anyone coming in and going through my magic stuff. It could be dangerous.”

Carthinal crept away to his room. He needed to think. Do I want to be adopted? I’ve lived quite well up to now on my own.

After he heard Danu leave, Mabryl called up the stairs. “Carthinal, come down here, please. Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble—for once.”

Carthinal entered the living room and Mabryl told him to sit down.
“I’ve been talking to Duke Danu. I put an idea I had in front of him. I don’t think he thought it a good one, but I still do, in spite of his arguments against it.”

Carthinal shifted in his seat and kept his eyes downcast.

Mabryl told Carthinal about his plans to adopt him. “If I die without an heir, then all my things will revert to the Crown.” He ran his hands through his hair. “You are a orphan, Carthinal. You have no one and nothing, so I thought of adopting you. This would be a help to us both. What do you think?”

Carthinal looked up. “Please may I think about this? It’s a big step.” His thoughts were in turmoil. What exactly would his adoption entail?

Mabryl nodded. “Of course. I wouldn’t expect you to decide right away, but you do need to be fully in agreement. Now, you can go and think. I need to see some people who want their boy to become my apprentice, and I need to see what kind of potential he has.”

Carthinal returned to his room. Mabryl’s words span in his head.
He wants to adopt me. That means he’ll be my father. Do I want to replace my real father? But then he’s been dead for years. I can only just remember him. And what about the gang? If I become his son, then I can hardly go around with a criminal gang, can I.

Then he remembered other words Mabryl had said.
Mabryl said I’d inherit everything he has. This house and all that’s in it. That’s worth a lot. Could we move the gang’s HQ to here? No, that’d be no good. Can’t have the Beasts in this district.

Mabryl told Duke Danu I have great potential. He said I could be a great mage. Did he mean that?

These thoughts, and many others went round and round in his head until he thought he would go mad. It was a big decision. He dropped off to sleep to dream of an important quest where he used his magic to fend off many dangers.