Chapter 2: Arrival

A few moments later, Kason stumbled out of another identical looking black wooden door, his face pale and limbs trembling.

The journey through the wormhole had been anything but pleasant. It had been cold, so cold that it seeped into the flesh all the way down to the bones, and so dark that nothing could be seen at all. It didn’t help that along with the cold and blindness, came the horrible sensation of feeling nothing, of a numbness so complete that he couldn’t feel his own body.

After doing a bizarre kind of jig on the spot to drive away the lingering coldness in his limbs and straightening his grey tunic, Kason finally took time to drink in his surroundings. He was standing on a raised platform similar to the one on the other end of the wormhole, except this one was rather more packed with people. Although it was still evening here, there were lots of people bustling in all directions and their voices mingled together to form a discordant symphony that set Kason on edge. Being only twelve years of age and relatively short as well, Kason felt rather intimidated by the roiling crowd and the noisy atmosphere. People walked quickly by, while others flew overhead in contraptions similar to the cart he had been on earlier, all adding to the pandemonium. As he stood there, eyes slightly wet, a voice hailed him over the general hubbub of the crowd.

“Young man in front of the wormhole! You, holding the token, come over here!” The voice emanated from the throat of a young-looking man in black robes which an insignia on the left breast depicting a scarlet rose upon which sat the number four. He was pushing his way through the crowds towards Kason waving an identical token in his raised fist. Kason blinked back the tears that had been gathering in his eyes and hefted his bags onto his shoulder before making his way towards the approaching young man.

“You must be one of the new students.” The young man said in a deep voice, putting his hand on Kason’s shoulder and steering him towards a quieter section of the square next to an ornate fountain. It had four spouts, each carved in the shape of a different mystical beast, all of which Kason had no knowledge of. The sound of running water soothed Kason’s nerves and, feeling more at ease, he nodded.

“Excellent,” the young man said “My name’s Ashton, can you touch your token to mine quickly? It’s the way we verify that you’re actually a student.” Kason nodded again and brought the token in his hand to touch the one proffered by Ashton, as they touched, both began to shine with a weak green light.

“Excellent,” Ashton repeated, “keep the token for now, you’ll swap it for a college pendant when classes begin.” Ashton then sat leisurely on the edge of the fountain and looked back towards the wormhole, paying no more attention to Kason.

Kason was a bit perplexed but figured that Ashton was probably doing something important and so he just stood there looking around. With lack of anything else to do, he began examining Ashton; he had short, jet black hair and eyes, and a well-proportioned face, with a slight scowl that marred his otherwise handsome features. The flower insignia on his robe was ringed in gold and had the number three embroidered underneath it, Kason wondered if Ashton was a student and, if so, did the number refer to year? He didn’t want to disturb Ashton and so didn’t ask but after a couple of minutes standing, his legs began to complain and so, plucking up his courage, he called out to Ashton who was still gazing towards the wormhole.

“Umm… Will we be going to the college now or…” His voice trailed off as Ashton turned to look at him.

“I’ve got to wait and see if anyone else turns up, my shift ends in about ten minutes so we’ll be off at that time. Meanwhile, you can have a look around or wait here with me.” He looked back towards the wormhole.

Kason, who was starting to feel hungry, decided to wait with Ashton, not being willing to brave the crowds again. After a couple of minutes spent waiting, he saw a flash of light above the heads of the crowd which was beginning to thin slightly.

“That might be another one, I’m going to check, you stay here.” Ashton said standing up and beginning to make his way towards the wormhole entrance. “Oi, you in front of the wormhole…”

Kason sat down on the edge of the fountain’s basin and put his bags down by his feet, he listened to the sound of running water and stared blankly in the direction Ashton had disappeared in.

A minute or so later, Ashton returned with another boy in tow, he had long pale blond hair which fell down to his shoulders and sky blue eyes that seemed to shine out of his face. He was wearing a green top striped with bands of gold along with black trousers tucked into sturdy brown boots. He was taller than Kason and had a calm expression on his face, all of which gave him an air of maturity.

“Hi!” He said brightly to Kason when he saw him.

“Ah, hello.” Kason replied, a timid smile on his face.

“We’ll wait another couple of minutes, and if no-one else arrives, we’ll be off” Ashton announced before sitting down and casting his eyes back towards the door.

The boy who he had brought back, walked over and sat himself down next to Kason on the edge of the fountain.

“Well, I’m glad I arrived at the same time as someone else.” He said enthusiastically, “I would’ve hated it if I had to wander around by myself without anyone to talk to. My name’s Harper Garent.”

“I- I’m Kason Vale” Kason replied slightly nervously.

“This place is great!” Harper stated looking around, “I lived in quite a big city but this place is even bigger!” Harper carried on looking around and Kason, who didn’t really know what to say, stayed silent. “What year will you be entering?” Harper’s question caught Kason off guard, who had been thinking about when or where he might get something to eat.

“I’ll be in the first year of the junior division,” Harper carried on, evidently unwilling to wait for Kason to answer, “I’ve heard that it’s really difficult at first, students are only allowed to begin using magic after a year or so.”

“I’m in that year as well.” Kason said, a little irritated that he hadn’t been allowed to answer the question posed to him.

“That’s great, do you reckon we’ll be in the same class? How many people do you think will be in our year? I’ve heard that there’re…” The deluge of sound continued to pour from Harper’s mouth and Kason realised that the boy who he’d thought was mature, was actually a chatterbox, and quite a persistent one at that. As he let the torrent of sound flow over him, he heard something that piqued his interest,

“You’ve got siblings in the college?” Kason asked.

“Yeah, my older brother entered six years ago, he’s in his second year in the senior division.”

This information seemed to arouse Ashton’s attention, “Is your brother Nixon Garent?” he asked in his deep voice, without looking over.

Harper gave a start, “Yeah!” He said surprised, “Do you know him?”

“I know him alright, I’m pretty sure anyone you ask in the senior division will have at least heard of Nixon Garent. He’s well known for liking the sound of his own voice, even more than you seem to.” Harper blushed slightly at his words.

Kason felt a little sorry for Harper, being the recipient of Ashton’s harsh words, “Has he told you much about the college?” He asked.

“Oh, yeah!” Harper said, becoming enthusiastic once again, “He’s told me loads, although that was two years ago when he came back to visit in the break between junior and senior division. He said that in the junior division, everyone’s the same age, you can only join when you’re twelve, but in the senior division, it’s totally different. ‘As long as you understand the basics, they’ll accept you there’ he said.”

“That’s true,” Ashton added, apparently still listening to their conversation, even though he was looking as intently as ever at the wormhole’s entrance. “I know guys who’re in their thirties who learn in the senior division.”

Harper nodded and looked proudly at Kason as if implying ‘I told you so’. “You spend four years in the junior division, he said,” Harper continued, “during the first year they don’t actually teach any spells, only theory and the way to prepare your body so that it’s ready for you to use it to cast magic. If you don’t prepare you can get all sorts of injuries, he said.” Harper shuddered, “My brother told me about some of them, apparently there’s one where you can cause your brain to become entirely crystallised!”

Kason, although feeling slightly incredulous, shuddered involuntarily at the thought. “D- Does it kill you if you do that?” Kason asked nervously, he didn’t feel like crystallising his brain.

“That’s the worst part!” Harper said, seeming to become more excited, “You don’t even die if it happens! You just stay frozen in the position that you were in when it happened. It works a bit like ice my brother said, it’ll go back to normal eventually but it can take years! It’s called something like Cranial Etherifi- Etherification?” Harper stuttered as he struggled to pronounce the word.

“Cranial Ethefication.” Ashton said looking around at them, seeing Kason’s nervous expression he added, “They’ll teach you all about how to avoid it and other, much more dangerous accidents when you begin college.” Kason shivered when he heard that the cranial ether-whatever-it-was, wasn’t even the most dangerous thing that could happen.

“It’s time that we get going.” Ashton said standing up, “My replacement hasn’t arrived but I don’t want to hang around any longer.” Harper and Kason both stood and picked up their bags when he said this and Ashton gestured for them to follow him.

They walked down one of the streets that led off from the square and saw moon crystal lanterns, floating in mid-air down the exact centre of the street each seeming to hold their own miniature moon, shining beams of silvery light down to illuminate the street below. They walked for a couple of minutes, Harper chattering away and exclaiming at things he saw until they came to the end of the street, where it opened up into a kind of circular plaza.

The plaza was totally empty and in the centre, a stone monument that rose into the air, slightly taller than the houses surrounding the plaza. Ashton walked up to the monument, which began to glow as he did, sending gentle waves of silver light rolling out into the semi-darkness. When Ashton arrived in front of the monument, he turned and called over the two boys who were still standing in the entrance to the plaza, staring at the monument.

“When I touch this monument, it’ll transport us through to a different plane of reality. That’s where the college is. Make sure you’re holding the tokens that you both have, that’s how the monument distinguishes who and who not to teleport.” Having said this he waited for Harper and Kason to bring out their tokens. When they had, he looked back at the monument and slowly reached out his hand to touch it.

A blinding flash of white light seemed to emanate from the monument, blinding Kason, but from the shadows he saw before he was completely blinded, he deduced that it had not actually emitted any light at all. The experience of being moved through to another plane of reality was totally different from travelling through the wormhole. It was rather strange, not unpleasant, but it made Kason feel as though his whole being was becoming slightly warped. It didn’t have the icy cold sensation that the wormhole journey had had, on the contrary, Kason felt like he was bathing in gentle sunlight.

The warped sensation soon disappeared, then the white light receded from his eyes and he saw that they were no longer in the plaza they had been in but a few moments before. The monument was still stood before them, wrapping them in the same silver light, but around them were trees of all different types. They surrounded the open area where they stood, with large gaps between their trunks through which could be seen still more trunks rising out of the earth, each of differently coloured wood. Some grew tall and thin while others grew squat but sprawling, sending branches out in every direction.

“Damn Botanists.” Kason thought he heard Ashton mutter quietly, his face becoming a scowl. He quickly returned to normal though and turned back from the monument to look at Kason and Harper. “Well here we are,” he said, sighing as if he were resigning himself to fate, “welcome to Constantine’s Fourth College for the Arcane Arts.”

…And this is the second chapter of The Time Mage! If you find any errors or have any suggestions or anything like that, feel free to comment and if you enjoyed, you can follow the site to keep up with when I update.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s