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Chapter 5

The mage crossed the room quickly in three great strides, demonstrating surprising agility for such an old man. He was not however quick enough to catch the unconscious youth as his head hit the floor. Demons damn him! What did he think he was doing? He repositioned the prone figure onto the pallet and covered him over with one the thick wool blankets that he had drawn from one of the crates nearby. He paused in his actions as a smile crept onto the face of the slumbering youth. As the smile planted itself firmly, Derrl's face took on a state of blissful joy. MY GOD! Can it be? Has he done what I think he has? If he has, then the demons had better look over their shoulders: there is a new power walking the continents now. He finished repositioning the sleeping body before he went over to the other side of the room the fetch a waterskin from a hook on the door by the wall. The hook had been put into the wall awkwardly, it was at an odd angle, and was such that you had to be careful how you placed things on it or they would fall off. The planks of the wall were the same rough cut as most of the wood around, with the inevitable splinter or two of wood sticking out to be plucked at by idle hands or to catch in unsuspecting flesh to cause discomfort and misery. He carried the waterskin over to the prone form on the pallet, pouring a few drops between the parted lips of the smile. He could tell that Derrl had neglected himself in his mental quest. Most likely, he had started the moment he had gotten up. He slipped some more much needed water into the mouth of the unconscious youth who instinctively swallowed. He could tell that there would be no lasting physical harm. He might be more tired than usual for the next few days, maybe a bit weak, but that would be the extent of it. The mental changes would have unforeseen results however. Damn, I should have warned him against trying to do that! Why didn't I realize that he would try that too? After all, I tried, when I was picked off the street by old Megensk. Or perhaps I should have coached him on the proper way to approach it. Damn it all, Demons damn it all to the pits! I was careless; I should have known. He continued to berate himself for his uselessness for most of the evening until he fell asleep in his chair in the corner. He did not have a bed for himself, because he almost never slept; it was one of the gifts that came soon after the discovery of the talent. Or perhaps it was a curse. Soon enough, though, Derrl would find that he had little use for the pallet. Or perhaps he would continue to use it while he rested his mind as some did. Both slept deeply until late in the morning of the following day.

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