By Kathryn Ramage
On a day ninety-two years ago, a young man of cherubic appearance in somewhat odd and unfashionable clothes walked up to the gates of the Duke’s palace.
“May I have audience with Lord Dafythe, please?” he called up to the guards stationed on the wall above. “I’ve come such a very long way to see him.”
Ninety-two years later…
Andemyon Lightesblood spent weeks searching the extensive library at the University of Maryesfont’s College of Magic for books about wizards who had traveled through time. Everything he found, he read with voracious attention, then consulted his friend Mikha.
“Can such a thing actually be done?” Andemyon asked. “Is there a spell that can send a person into another time? I’ve read dozens of stories of spells used by wizards of old to view the past, and even enter it, but they might be no more than fairy-tales and not at all true.”
“Oh, they are true,” answered Mikha. “It has been done, but such spells require the talents of a most powerful magician.”
“Could you do it, Mikha?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never tried.”
Mikha was the most promising magician of his generation and, though very young, already showed some remarkable powers. He was a scholar of arcane spells, which was one of the reasons Andemyon sought his help. The other reason was that the two had been close friends since Andemyon had first come to the university three years ago. Maryesfont was primarily a place for the education of women, and male students on the campus were few. Both were also students of magic, and it was only natural that they should meet and befriend each other. While Mikha was preparing for his future profession, Andemyon’s interest in the subject was intellectual; he was the younger son of the Empire’s premiere wizard, Yryd Lightmaster, and the only member of the wizard’s family without a spark of magical aptitude. He had grown up amid magicians and their spell-craft, but he could never have asked his family for assistance with this problem!
Mikha, on the other hand, would understand why he wanted to do this. Andemyon was sure of that. His friend would listen to whatever he had to say and keep his secrets. Confiding in Mikha was like going to confession, without the penance that followed. Andemyon had come to think of the dark and solemn, abstemious young man as something like a priest–for, like a priest, Mikha was under strict vows of abstinence while he underwent the third purification phase of his mage’s training. For seven years, he must remain chaste, never touch a drop of wine nor taste blooded meats, and keep sleepless vigils on certain nights of the year. Unlike a priest, Mikha would be free of these vows once he was tested and confirmed a wizard.
“I’d need to find the right spell,” said Mikha. “The college’s library is very good, but you won’t find such spells here. The Sisters are rather censorious about magic they feel to be contrary to the work of God and Nature. But I wouldn’t be surprised if your father has books in his collection that the Sisters don’t. We can look when I go to him for my testing this summer. Where is it you want to go, Demy–or should I say when?”
“To Dafythe’s court, a century ago. I want to meet him as he was when he first became Duke of the Northlands, and enter his service just as I did when I was a boy.”
Mikha nodded and his mouth twisted in a small, tight smile. “I will try to perform this spell for you,” he agreed, “but I must say, I don’t like the idea of sending you back to the days when the old Duke was a youth so you can seduce him.”
Andemyon blushed. His friend understood his motives all too well, and the hint of criticism stung. “I won’t seduce him!” he protested. “I only want to know if he felt anything for me… if he could, under different circumstances.” He tried to explain. “He couldn’t, not as we are. Nearly a hundred years stand between us. I was only fourteen when I became his page, and seventeen when I was sent away to another part of the court, and then away from the palace entirely. I was a child even then–I didn’t understand why everyone whispered and laughed about the Duke’s affection for me. I didn’t know why there was such haste to get me away from him. Since I’ve grown to see what all the fuss was about, I’ve wondered what truth lay behind it. Did he feel more for me than an old man’s kindness? If we were to meet when he was near the same age I am now, I could find out. I won’t throw myself at him, Mikha, but I must know.”
His friend stared at him solemnly, and Andemyon was afraid Mikha would refuse to help. Perhaps he’d been foolish to expect otherwise. So serious a mage must disapprove the use of magic for something as frivolous as this. Magic was Mikha’s profession; he’d given himself to it, heart, body, and mind, so that there was room for nothing as personal as love. Andemyon had felt that before, close friends as they were. Mikha would draw away from him and retreat into a cool aloofness whenever he became too enthusiastic or affectionate. Mikha would refuse…Then Mikha said, “Very well, Demy. If we find the right spell, I will try it. For you.”
~~~~~~~end of excerpt~~~~~~~