Chapter 1 - The Girl with the Glass

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It began with a crash, both of lightening and tableware. Rain poured down from the heavens and Caine's tired mind couldn't focus quite well enough to land exactly where he should have leading him to appear a few feet too far forward on top of a decorative table. Luckily, the vase that generally adorned such things was absent.

"Sir? Are you alright?" A light voice asked from above him.

"I'll be fine," He managed as he pulled himself to his feet. His bags had saved him from a potentially hazardous landing on the worst of the wreckage. "Sorry I'm late," He brushed off his cloak, grabbed his bags, and stumbled off.

"If I may have a name I can direct you to the correct room," The woman pressed kindly.

"Caine. I should be in the Magician's Corridor," The weight of his bag was practically pulling him back down as it was, but he didn't have enough mental presence to attempt to levitate it. Jumping from location to location took almost all his stored power. A small tingle danced along his skin as the elf cast a spell to check his truthfulness.

"Your rooms are this way," The elf gave a small bow and led him down a hall away from the grand main entryway where he had attempted to land.

The corridor was one in typical elven style: tall ceilings with pale walls decorated with magnificent paintings and tapestries. He turned the corner and continued walking through the maze of halls; unlike when he had first visited these halls, he didn't have to wander helplessly. Years of visits had imprinted the blueprint of all the important rooms on his mind.

He had been invited many times since he had separated from his teacher. He was still surprised by the fact that he could be awed by the beautiful architecture no matter how many times he visited, but each layer of detail revealed another just as intricate beneath it.

The elf led him up the stairs to the Magician's Corridor and towards the far end where a window looked down at a small garden. A magician's room in the elven halls corresponded to his relative power, politically and magically. There were only thirteen rooms in the Corridor and all other magicians were spread throughout the palace and barracks as they would be travelling with the army. Generally, the thirteenth room was left empty and only twelve magicians formed the council that would advise and protect the king, though the candle light slipping through the door suggested otherwise. Caine had no idea why and he was so exhausted that he no longer cared.

The room he was to be staying in was reserved for the third most influential magician which surprised him as he had always stayed in the Goddess Suite on his previous visits. He didn't mention it to the maid who led him to his door before motioning for him to place his hand on it.

When he did, a small prick of magic shoved itself through his hand. He allowed the intrusion but quickly pulled away when it was gone.

High security was not wasted on the Corridor as it was known the magicians would add their own protection anyways. The door was the only thing to stop intruders; it would open only for someone imbued with Caine's magic which was as unique as a fingerprint.

"Who are the others I am to expect?" Caine asked as he pushed the door open.

"I am afraid I do not know; I am only assigned to the first three suites." Essentially order had little matter after the first twelve rooms.

He remembered that on his first trip he had been separated from his master and sent to the army barracks. His master hadn't wanted an apprentice to take up the space on his floor he might need for summoning.

The man hadn't been cruel. It had been an honor to be selected from his school to travel with a magician who ranked Master within his order. He was thinking of becoming a Master and taking an apprentice soon himself. When a magician got the urge to mentor, they went to a magicians' school, generally one in a capitol city, and were assigned an apprentice for the next journey they took.

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