22nd of Autumn’s End – 57 A.S.
Figorious the Blue strode in long steps around his Conjuration chamber. Around and around the circular room he paced, deep in thought and worry. This was his routine when he had a tough decision to make. In nearly a millennia of life he had never broken this habit… for he did not care to. The thick opaque crystal of the chamber floor was actually worn down, creating a small indent where his feet had shuffled countless times. After hundreds of years of difficult decisions, the chamber had become as useful to the Master wizard as a place of solitude and thought as it had for its true purpose. Large enough for him to spread the long legs of his nearly seven foot frame but small enough to keep him focused.
He rushed past another sconce on the wall of his chamber as it burned with the blue fire of a heatless flame. He knew what must be done, but he still had to decide yet how to do it. He had consulted with his good friend, and Master of Divination, Galibru. He had sought guidance on this matter, but had come up lacking any real answers… always a real possibility when it came to Divination. How was he to tell his favorite apprentice that he intended to send him away from his studies? And more importantly, how to do so without losing him as an asset to his people?
His second apprentice was only second in title and skill, but had been first in Figorious’ heart for decades. He knew that for this seeming rejection that the son he’d never had, and never will as a Master Wizard, would grow to hate him. Like most Elves, Figorious was not prone to bouts of sadness or melancholy. Elves knew to avoid these emotions, for they might consume an Elven life for years or even centuries at a time. He could not help, however, feeling a touch of shame. He had taken an interest in the human’s expedition since the day their King came to the Tribunal seeking the aid of the Elven people in their quest for a new home. He had taken too much interest in fact, and it had been noticed. He should have thought ahead, but had been blinded by what appeared to be his first truly interesting experiment in two decades. He was to be punished for encouraging the Humans, for reasons he did not yet understand.
He and Galibru had been summoned before the Tribunal, without the rest of the leadership from the School of the Arcane Arts, and were given a tasking. They were each to choose a highly capable ranked apprentice and an unranked apprentice to join the Human expedition as Science officers and Magical fellows. This was to be their official duty, what other duties they may have would come directly from the Tribunal; a truly terrifying prospect. He knew this was an opportunity for his Apprentices to win glory and standing, but also an opportunity to fall into disfavor for an eternity. He knew they were being placed into a dangerous position. They would likely be required to be deceitful, and yet still represent their entire race with honor and distinction. He knew only one man whom he trusted with such a responsibility. He did not want to do this, but to defy the Tribunal was to beg for a fate worse than death.
His strides increased in pace. As he hastened past each of the four sconces in his chamber the magical flames tore to one side from the rush of air his long blue robes created. He snatched up his quarterstaff as he passed it and instead of beginning another circuit around the well-worn path he started out the door. His mastery of conjuration was so powerful that he didn’t even notice himself create a spectral hand to manipulate the complex door of his chambers. With worry upon his face, he strode down to the spiral staircases of the Conjuration tower, down from the very top to the aviary situated on the central floor.
Once he arrived he quickly produced ink, quill and a piece of parchment, once again without even realizing he had conjured the items from nothingness; he was far too busy conjuring his courage. As he scribbled a note on the parchment he realized what he’d done and grabbed a piece of parchment from a nearby pile. After all, it would not do for the paper to vanish before reaching its recipient. He started over, and this time finished quite quickly. As he attached the note with a string to the foot of the Raven he had chosen to deliver his message, he took stock one last time.
He thought back to the day he had selected his favored apprentice. He knew then the boy he’d chosen, at the time a young lad of just 2 centuries, was special. He was powerful, ambitious and cold… all traits that would serve him well in the society that had developed within of the Crystal Spires of Dashahl. But it was his apprentice’s tenacity, creativity and patient planning that truly made him a suitable potential Master. It was these same traits that Figorious believed would serve him well in a strange land under strange and difficult orders. But what haunted him most, is that he did not expect his decision to be understood. He knew, in his heart of hearts, that without this expedition his second apprentice stood little chance of outshining the older and more practiced Taligar the First. Especially in time for the Master’s approaching retirement in just a few short decades. He knew this was his only chance to give his favored pupil a fighting chance at his position. He also knew his apprentice would not see it this way, his pride would prevent it. And he knew he may very well be shortening his own life with this decision. The ambition of a capable and angry apprentice could turn on him.
He decided that such worries were for another day. For today, he had the Tribunal to worry about. It did not prevent him from thinking a thought he never believed would cross his gifted mind as he released the Raven into the night.
“Forgive me, my son.”